Flash Fiction Challenge: Shape of an Ape

Photo by K.S. Brooks

Shape-shifting can be a tricky business. It doesn’t always go as quickly or as smoothly as I’d like.

It’s a tremendous help that humans share about 95 % of our DNA with other animals. That gives the elixir a jump start.

Whatever it is you change into though, it is very important to remember you have to get back to the lab to take the antidote, or you get stuck in your new form.

It’s also important not to get captured by zookeepers. I seem to be in a spot of trouble…

In 250 words or less, tell us a story incorporating the elements in the picture. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time.

On Wednesday afternoon, we will open voting to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry accompanying the photo. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.

On Friday afternoon, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature. Then, at year end, the winners will be featured in an anthology like this one. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted. See HERE for additional information and terms.

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7 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: Shape of an Ape”

  1. You see I like giving the rich tourist at the zoo a bit of a thrill. Today I decided to be one of the greatest apes, a Silver back gorrilla. I went into the bathroom to make the change. As I was changing someone decided to use the facilities. So I jumped inside a stall. However I made a miscalculation. You see the girth of a silver back and those tiny stalls aren’t a good combination. I found myself stuck tighter than…….well tighter than a silver back in a tiny stall. I wasn’t sure what to do. So I called out for help but silly me when I am in a shape of an animal the language is of that animal. So when I called for help the person in the bathroom heard gorrilla talk. The woman let out the highest pitch scream I have ever heard. I tried to tell her it isn’t what she thinks. Which only made her scream more and ran from the bathroom. Soon there was a crowd. How embarrassing, how could I get back to the lab before the change is permanent. I hung my head in shame as the people gawked at me….

  2. I’d intended to take the silverback gorilla elixir, but instead I found myself turned into an orangutan. Well, no matter, I thought; I was scheduled to study orangutans next month anyway. No sense wasting a perfectly good research day. So off I swung to the zoo’s ape exhibit.

    I would prefer to travel to Borneo, you understand. But our departmental travel budget suffered severely in the last round of cutbacks.

    In any case, there I was amongst the orangutans, when a female in estrus came up behind me and got a good sniff of my nether regions. Transformed humans smell human, of course. She raised a ruckus, and pretty soon, I was being battered by a half dozen orangutans. I screeched as I climbed as high as I could manage on the enclosure’s rock wall.

    Then the trouble really started. The zookeeper came around, did a head count, and shouted for his assistant to bring the net, that one of those university thugs had gotten into the orangutan exhibit. He actually said “thug”! I’ve never been so insulted!

    I could see the overhanging branch I’d used to get into the exhibit, but six angry orangutans were between me and it. I had to tightrope-walk along the top of the rock wall, and perform a death-defying leap to the branch in question, to gain my freedom.

    The worst part? I dropped my notes in my escape. I’ll have to go back next month, after all. And now they’re on to me.

  3. The worst part is getting the attention of the visitors. I may have my mind but this body is incapable of forming words. The vocal chords haven’t developed enough to allow it.

    I have been trying for three days now to get someone’s attention. If I could get a cell phone I could send a text to my assistant.

    So far the best I have gotten is some freak tried to feed me pieces of paper. Read the sign people, don’t feed the monkeys…

    Ah, there my lovely, lean over just a bit further. If I act nonchalant, I can grab her phone while she’s distracted. I got this. I have style and grace. I am orange.

    That did it. The phone is mine! Now if only she would shut up a minute I could make the call. The screaming hurts my ears.

    Have you ever tried to work the keypad on a cell phone with monkey fingers. Of course you haven’t. It isn’t an easy task let me tell you. I hope the text went through.

    I can’t believe the woman is still screaming. I threw the phone back at her. Is it my fault that she can’t catch. If she caught it it wouldn’t have gone into the lion’s den.

    Any minute now my assistant should be here to get me out. What’s with the Dominoes delivery guy? Wait, I couldn’t have. Oh for crying out loud…

  4. You see, I have lost my keys to the lab and am in need of some assistance. I know you are just the night janitor, but if you would be so kind as to let me into the lab, I would be most grateful. You do understand what I am asking, don’t you?

    It was apparent he did not comprehend my primitive vocalizations. He only understood that I was in his territory and may be a threat. I had to think of something fast, lest I be left to live out my days in this furry body.

    Spying the keys hanging from his belt loop, I immediately lurched forward to grasp what must certainly include a master key to my lab. Down the corridor, I ran towards the science department. The janitor, being too overweight to catch me, gave up the chase a few hundred yards from my lab entrance.

    According to my calculations, I had less than five minutes to find the key that fits the lock. Since none were labeled, this might be cutting it close. With just a minute to spare, the last key on the ring turned the lock and I was in the lab.

    But, someone had already taken the last dose of the antidote. My college-aged lab assistant was sitting in my chair with the empty bottle in his hand. I really should have fired him a long time ago. Now, I think I will just kill him.

  5. “Please, believe me,” I sign.

    Kate looks skeptical. Can’t say I blame her. Who expects an orangutan to claim to be your human boyfriend? If I don’t get that antidote soon, I’ll be stuck as an orange haired ape for the rest of my life. I don’t want Kate to be my zoo keeper. Besides, I have to stop Jimmy.

    DNA experimentation is always a risk, but Jimmy and I came up with a safe shape-shifting elixir. He just wanted to test it one last time. Boy was I a fool. Never even saw the tranquilizer gun. Next thing I knew, there was Jimmy, walking across the Whitehouse lawn toward the president. Jimmy hates this administration. I had to warn him. Maybe I did go a little ‘ape’ when I climbed onto the lawn and jumped the guards, but I had no choice. Now I’m the one stuck in this zoo prison. Jimmy was still out there.

    “Please,” I sign again. “Just get the vial of antidote I hid outside the park gate and you’ll see. The president’s life is in danger.”

    I pace the enclosure, waiting for her return. My heart pounds. I only have a few minutes before I’m stuck as an ape. Finally, Kate walks in, a small vial in her hand.

    “This what you’re looking for Paul?” her blue eyes match the liquid in the vial. “Thanks for telling me the hiding place. Jimmy and I would never have found it without your help.”

  6. “Your mission, should you choose to accept it…”

    That had been my mistake, accepting the mission in the first place. But when was the last time you heard of the Impossible Missions Force declining to do anything?

    Disguises have come a long way in recent years. Nowadays, we actually become someone else…or in my case, something else. And why exactly did I choose to take the form of a female orangutan? Because the job required not only intelligence and dexterity, but also stealth — which isn’t exactly the strong suit of other great apes.

    With my knowledge of electronics and the strength of an orangutan, breaking into the control center and reconfiguring the alarm system had been a breeze. To escape, I needed only to get to the canopy of the trees, where I could move quickly, quietly and unseen.

    With just minutes to spare, I settled into my seat at the lab and surveyed the sleeping creatures strapped in around me: an otter, a raccoon and a capuchin monkey. Wait, someone was missing! Despite my rising panic, the technicians calmly went about hooking me up to the modified dialysis machine, along with intravenous sedation.

    Drifting into unconsciousness, I felt a hand grasp mine, and turned my head to look into the eyes of a male orangutan, who nodded slightly. Hours later, we awoke as humans, our fingers still entwined.

    “Glad you made it back in time,” I said sleepily.

    “Me too,” he replied, giving my hand another squeeze.

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