Flash Fiction Challenge: The Donkey Curse

wild donkeys custer state park 101408
Wild donkeys
Photo by K.S. Brooks

I awoke to find myself sitting in a strange car, surrounded by donkeys.

Nothing was familiar. I struggled to remember the night before. My mind flooded with nonsensical unrelated images: a bronze medallion, a dark alley, and an old Gypsy woman jabbing a bony finger at me and uttering something…

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.

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10 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: The Donkey Curse”

  1. I awoke to find myself sitting in a strange car, surrounded by donkeys.
    Nothing was familiar. I struggled to remember the night before. My mind flooded with nonsensical unrelated images: a bronze medallion, a dark alley, and an old Gypsy woman jabbing a bony finger at me and uttering something…Her words meant nothing to me, but then they weren’t really words.
    Slowly as my eyes focused better, I saw the little bottle lying on the dashboard. Recognition that it had contained the drug crept dimly into my awareness, and I understood that the donkeys were only hallucinations.
    Something soft was snuffling at my ear. One of the donkeys, I guessed. It wasn’t unpleasant and I didn’t mind. They seemed to be humming to me and their sound was comforting. I could hear their gentle breath, in and out, its passage ruffling my hair. Then something wet wrapped itself round my ear and my skin recoiled.
    I turned my head in alarm and found a narrow furry muzzle topped by two huge nostrils and a long blue tongue sticking out from the lips.
    Bloody hell! That’s not a donkey, it’s a blooming giraffe! I could see the spindly legs beside the car reaching up above the roof line, and the long chequered neck curving down with a huge horned head and that blue tongue reaching out to me in greeting.
    The hallucinations are weirder this time. Perhaps I won’t take that stuff again.
    But maybe I will.

  2. I’m pretty sure what she said was a synonym for “donkey”. With some other unprintable words attached.

    I was wearing the medallion. It looked kind of cool. Kind of cheap, though, as the chain was turning black and my skin was turning green.

    The car door opened and a donkey got in and sat next to me. I hear the back doors open and felt the vehicle shake a bit before they slammed shut. Sure enough, two more donkeys in the back seat. One was sipping from a bottle of Cristal. The other had some sort of powder residue on his snout, and he was sniffling in an agitated manner.

    I looked at the donkey next to me, who casually slid on a pair of Ray-bans, looked forward and brayed, “Punch it!”

    After about a half-hour, the donkey nudged me and used his long head to indicate a sign that read “Mustang Ranch Next Right”. I left some rubber making the turn. It was an actual ranch. With corrals full of horses, mules and donkeys, all sporting various kinds of equine lingerie, be it silken or leather. I skidded to a halt in front of filly sporting a black bustier and hoopskirt. The donkeys piled out of the car anxiously. The one raised his hoof and said “High five!” Unfortunately, he got me in the forehead and things went dark.

    I have no idea how I’ll explain this to the judge. Especially the dress. And the cocaine. And the donkey.

  3. I awoke to find myself sitting in a strange car, surrounded by donkeys.
    Nothing was familiar. I struggled to remember the night before. My mind flooded with nonsensical unrelated images: a bronze medallion, a dark alley, and an old Gypsy woman jabbing a bony finger at me and uttering something…

    And then I awoke.

    Strange. It was all so strange. And quite implausible. Maybe if I closed my eyes and opened them again, everything would change. I’d be back in my room, lying on my bed, hung over after a night on the town and nothing would have happened. At least nothing that involved donkeys.

    I closed my eyes. But the sounds continued. The snorting and fidgeting of equine legs. The kicking and pacing of hooves. And the occasional braying whinny. So when I opened my eyes again, I knew.

    Cursing under my breath, I made a decision. I would drive away from them. Find a town. Find my way home again and put all this behind me.

    I’d only made it twenty yards before I had to stop. Whoever it was who’d done this would no doubt be having a great laugh at my expense, leaving me here alone in a car in the middle of nowhere. With a flat tyre. And with no tools. And with an audience of four male donkeys, all standing around me looking intrigued. Who’d have thought it – stranded with a flat and four jacks and I still couldn’t change the wheel.

  4. They stared at me. The blazing sun burned my eyes and I closed them in painful confusion.

    The donkey licked my cheek, and oddly, I did not recoil from the wet embrace. I smelled the stale alcohol on his breath. He spoke, the hint of a Brooklyn accent in his low voice.

    “Look into my eyes, Mollie. Concentrate. Slow your breathing and remember. We need you.”

    I did as I was told. Images flashed before my eyes, black and white celluloid frames morphing into living color video—the gypsy witch, a steaming potion, a promise, and exquisite agony. I remembered.

    I looked down at human legs, naked, as was the rest of my body. The witch had held up her part of the bargain. The passenger seat held a heap of clothes I would need to wear.

    My friends waited for me to dress. Tommy, my brother, spoke again.

    “We will take you to him, Mollie. Finish him.” I got on his back.

    The trip was short, and I marveled at the sights and sounds around me. The smell of freshly baked bread made my mouth water. We arrived at the resort and I thanked my furry transportation. A quick change into a waitress’s uniform and I was ready for my mission.

    He was asleep under a private cabana by the pool. I worked fast, shearing the mane that gave him his power. My task complete, Justin Bieber lay bald as a newborn babe.

    Don’t ever insult an American donkey.

  5. I looked at the inquisitive faces of five donkeys, noses pressed against the window. Memory returned …the Gypsy woman, gesticulating, screaming. “You call my son an ass. I’ll show you an ass …”

    I shook my head to clear it. My nose hit the mirror. How …? The shock made me jump so I banged my head on the roof of the car. This couldn’t be. I reached for the bottle of water in the console. Maybe that would clear my head. When I failed to grab it I see a … hoof!? Panic seized me and I … brayed? Hee haw. Five sad brays answered mine.

    What’s that tantalizing scent? Grass?

    Bile rose in my throat. Impossible. A flash of metal drew my eye. A medallion, somehow familiar, swayed from the mirror, its reflections mocking me.

    One donkey took the door handle between its teeth and pulled it open.

    I almost tumbled out but a sudden thought made me resist. What had the hag said?

    “…wear around neck … seven full moons.”

    The mirror broke off when I tried to get the medallion with my teeth. Thankfully it stayed on my nose. A good shake brought it over my ears.

    The grass was good … I think.

    I woke on the ground, ran hands through my hair. Hands? Hands! Must have been a dream. But, is that snow? Why is the mirror broken? Where did I this medallion come from? Five donkeys? Five rusting cars? Five medallions on mirrors?

  6. The worst moment came with my morning cough. Spend some years as a smoker and you can develop quite the hack when you wake up in the morning. But the cough right, it wasn’t really a cough this time. Shocked me so much I fell over.

    Imagine my surprise when I tried to stand up, four legs. I counted them again, still four. What the hell did that Gypsy woman say to me?

    It was a joke, right, a damn joke. Donny put me up to it. He said the medallion wasn’t worth much to begin with, she wouldn’t be mad after we gave it back.

    I remember it now, he stood behind her when she pointed her finger at me. Had a rope ready to go and around my neck in no time. But that can’t be right, how drunk were we last night?

    What I needed was a plan. Break out of the car and get back to Donny. I don’t know how but I am sure there is a way to get out of this fix. When the car stops and the open the doors, that’s when I’ll make my move.

    Wait, what’s this? The truck is pulling into some factory lot. Of all the places to go why would we end up here?

    My chance, they are opening the gate now. A dark tunnel slippery with slime but I can break free at the end I’m sure of it. What’s that coppery smell? And the screams…

  7. TimurPatooTee the evil mage was exiled to Prison Planet Three: Donkey Island. Carefully orchestrated rumors of a curse discouraged anyone from going near the Donkey… until. Until a corporate exploration ship made orbit. Mishaps aboard the ship and planetary deaths became shocking.

    I was summoned. I carry a star.

    Throwing a leg across Time-Bender’s neck, I hunkered down in the shallow between his two great wings. An hour later Time-Bender landed in hanger bay ten. I gave him his usual greens, fruits and nuts mix along with a special blend of pixie dust and moonbeams. I left him with an attendant the Captain assured me had experience with winged horses.

    Captain Mallard showed me to my cabin, saying she would meet me for dinner when I was ready. I watched her walk away. She was right easy on the eye.

    WHACK! The ruler slammed down on my desk.

    “Mr. Benjamin! You WILL pay attention in my class or else.” Sister Mary Lion said.

    “No disrespect, Sister, but I was paying attention,” I responded meekly.

    “Well, since you were paying SUCH close attention, maybe you’ll teach the class.”

    “Yes ma’am,” I said standing. “Donkey Island is a prison planet …” I began.

    WHACK! “Get your nose in that corner,” the Sister screamed, pointing.

    Smiling knowingly I complied.

    “Captain, when you made orbit…” I lost myself in her dark eyes. Mentally slapping my libido reminding it, I wasn’t here to seduce. There was a curse to dismantle, the Curse of Donkey Island.

  8. Incessant braying roused me from slumber. Hot smelly breath wafted over my face. Waving at the offending odor earned another head splitting shriek. I pried open my eyes and stared at a pair of mournful brown globes. Nonsensical images flashed through my mind as my head smacked the roof of the pickup. Another plaintive bray sent goose bumps up my spine…a very naked spine. Memories of last night escaped me.

    An old gypsy shoved the donkey away and scowled at me, her bony fingers clenched tight. A bronze medallion swayed across her chest. Silver bangles hung from both arms.

    “You soulless wretch. You’ll pay for what you did.”

    “I didn’t do anything.” At least that’s what I tried to say. The words came out garbled.

    The crone laughed and stepped back. I jumped from the car and ran. Within three steps I tripped over my own legs…all four of them. Head spinning, I lay on the sandy ground. I was a donkey, a god damn donkey.

    “You treated my granddaughter poorly last night. I gave you a body to fit your actions. You’ll need to earn your way back to human form.”

    A coarse rope pulled me to my feet and down the road to a raven haired woman. Bruises modeled one side of her face and nail gouges marred both arms. Memories returned. I did that. I backed away and prayed for escape, for another glass of whiskey. All I found was the crack of a whip.

  9. “Bill! What the hell is wrong with you?! Drive!”

    I slammed the accelerator down.

    The two donkeys in the back were laughing hysterically. “Did you see the look on her face? What a constipated old prune!”

    “Who?” I asked, watching the carnival lights disappear in the rearview mirror.

    “The old Gypsy fortune teller,” John squeezed out in between laughs.

    Dave wheezed. “Holy cow, her frikkin finger was so gnarly, I didn’t know who she was pointing at!”

    “I don’t understand – you guys robbed the main ticket counter – not the Gypsy…right?” I was starting to sweat. The finger and the Gypsy were just like my dream. It was a dream, wasn’t it?

    To my right, Bob leafed through the cash. “Yeah,” he mumbled, “she cursed us and said something about it being her livelihood.”

    A lump formed in my throat. “Cursed us? Or cursed at us?”

    “Who knows? Her accent was Turdislovachian or something. Who could understand that?”

    “Guys, we need to go give the money back.”

    “Don’t be a big sissy,” Bob said. “There’s a grand a piece here. Not a bad take.”

    I didn’t want the money now. I’d just assumed it went to some corporate headquarters, not to the people who actually worked the carnival.

    When we got to the site to dump the stolen car, I pulled off my donkey mask. Finally, I could breathe again. The guys tried to pull theirs off, but couldn’t.

    “What the?!” Bob started, then brayed.

    “Still want that money?”

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