Flash Fiction Challenge: Out of Sync

Alton Bay Bonfire
Alton Bay Bonfire
Photo by K.S. Brooks

Everything in this reality has a harmonic signature: a frequency of vibration that makes it discernible and “real” to everything else with the same vibratory resonance.

The blurry people behind the two standing nearest to the fire are not from this reality. In fact, the man and woman were oblivious to these visitors.

I could sense them and took the picture with my trans-harmonic camera.

Yeah, I’m not from this reality either. The problem is that these new trans-reality travelers are not from here and not from my reality. I have to find out why they are here. That’s my job.

In 250 words or less, write a story incorporating the elements in the picture and/or the written prompt above. Do not include the prompt in your entry. 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. No political or religious entries, please.

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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13 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: Out of Sync”

  1. Chip and Dale appeared out of the blue, unforeseen by Trucker and Abigail, for they were host ghost solvers who travel the universe in search of humans who are about to destroy their lives with silly mistakes. Trucker discovered Abigail was the culprit in the disappearance of his beloved smores, a snack he just could not do without. Contemplating on a way to get back at Abigail, Trucker decided to lure Abigail out for one last bonfire party, where the two of them usually gathered as the loving couple with no secrets. Only now, that trust had been broken and Trucker was no longer accepting Abigail’s lies and he was going to skewer her like a giant marshmallow. This news traveled through the galaxy on the mind thought control station, alerting Chip and Dale to the rescue. They would implement a series of thoughts into Trucker and Abigail’s brainwave patterns, and convince Abigail to confess and Trucker to forgive. This was what Chip and Dale died for in the beginning of time, and now it is what they live for.

  2. “Lets go for a drive,” the husband says.
    “I thought the transplanetary drive was on the fritz?”
    “Aw, it’ll hold together.”
    “Harumph,” I say.
    “Pack a lunch. It’ll be good to get out of the asteroids.”
    “Your idea; you pack lunch. I’ll find the maps.”
    “Don’t need no maps. Know this solar system like the back of my tentacles.”
    “Harumph,” I say.
    There we are, on the Transgalactic Expressway, and we see the Earth sign. He swerves to take the exit.
    “Been a long time since we’ve visited Earth.”
    “I didn’t bring the Earth map. You said Venus.”
    “Let’s be spontaneous! We’ll go to that forest where I proposed to you.”
    “Harumph,” I say.
    Three yarons later, and I’ve seen the same cities four times. “Would it kill us to ask directions?”
    “Harumph,” he says.
    Another yaron. It’s getting dark.
    “Let’s just stop here and eat, then head back.”
    “Okay,” he says.
    We pop the bubbletop, hop out, and look for a nice spot. We sit on the ground.
    “Ooooh,” I say.
    Two humans selected this spot, too. We sit on the other side of their fire, grateful for our near-invisibility.
    He hums in my ear. He kisses me on my fourth upper elbow, knows it drives me wild. I laugh.
    “Remember the last time, when we accidentally activated the distress beacon? “
    He laughed. “For decades, all we heard was, ‘Calling occupants of interplanetary craft.’ I wonder, what is a ‘carpenter’?”
    “Harumph,” I say.

  3. Tonight was going to be great. Another bonfire party down at the water’s edge held by the most popular boy in school. It was my job to take photos for the school yearbook. Maybe tonight he’d finally notice me. But then again, with the most popular girls going, I didn’t stand a chance.

    We were the best of friends, went everywhere together. They got the good looking guys and I got the leftovers. They still hadn’t guessed I was not like them or from around here, and getting together with the guy they thought was the best looking would be a feather in my cap.

    When we arrived, the bonfire was already shooting flames sky-high. A lot of people milling about I didn’t recognize, had no clue who they were, or where they were from. I wondered if they were like me? I suddenly felt out of place, not in any reality I was used to.

    I started snapping pictures. What I saw through the lens startled me. Most of the people turned up blurry, looking so much older than I. Then there he was looking so much taller and so much more handsome. Then he too blurred, looked more mature; I kept the lens focused, scrutinizing not only him, but all the images of humans all around. I shook my head, blinked, looked again. Were we destined to be like that of much aged humans constantly looking for the next party? If so, our future looked pretty bleak!

  4. They were strange-looking, for certain. The tall one – in his fitted blue and black garb – had pointed ears. The small one was white and furry, with one ear up and one down. It spoke first.

    “Where the heck are we?”

    “You said you were famished. I merely calculated a brief stop here so you would cease your incessant yapping.”

    “Well, your calculations seem to be off. This doesn’t look like a restaurant to me. You need your ears recalibrated.”

    “There is nothing wrong with either my ears or my calculations. The scanners said there would be food here.”

    The furry one’s eyes got very large when he saw my plate. He began to salivate.

    “Do not…” the tall one said, but before he could finish, the furry one had lunged at me and grabbed my meal. He scarfed it down, then spit it back up instantly.

    “What the heck was that? That wasn’t a hamburger!”

    “Hamburger?” I repeated.

    The furry one looked up at his companion. “He can see us.”

    “Of course he can see us. We’re not using a cloaking device. You should not steal food. It is against protocol.”

    “Protocol, shmotocol. I’m hungry.”

    “That was a perfectly good kale patty you just spit out.” I was offended.

    “Kale patty? Where are we?”

    “You are on Vearth.”

    “Vearth?” they both repeated.

    “Yes. After the mad cow epidemic of 1999, vegans came to rule the planet, hence renaming it Vearth.”

    The tall one stroked his chin. “We are in a different dimension. Fascinating.”

    “Get me out of here!” the furry one barked.

  5. Five years old, she lay in her parent’s bed with a high fever. Measles, she had heard the adults say. The doctor had come and gone – those were the days of home visits. He had given her a shot and told her parents to keep her hydrated and do alchohol and water baths every hour or so to bring the fever down. The headboard was shiny wood – it had interesting designs in it – they looked like hills and valleys and winding paths. She woke and was startled to see movement out of the corner of her eye. She peered closely at the headboard and yes, there it was, movement. Little beings walking or running, singing happy tunes. She watched them for the longest time, wondering who they were. They made her feel better. Then fever fatigue set in and she slept. When she woke, she was cool, almost shiverng. She looked for her little friends – but they were gone – she was sad. She never mentioned them to her parents or even her older brother – even then she realized they would never believe; maybe even laugh at her. All these years later, she still remembered them and missed them.

  6. “Letting Go”
    by Michael Seese
    250 words

    I hate these newfangled digital cameras. About the only good thing I can say about them is that when I take a picture of my thumb, I know it right away, which allows me to delete it and take another. Of my thumb, that is.

    In fact, so pervasive was my photographic futility that it became a running joke around the house.

    “How can you tell it’s winter?”
    “Because Dad’s pictures show his glove, instead of his finger.”

    For my entire life I’d had aspirations of being a great photographer. Unfortunately, now, I’m forced to admit that anyone associating my name with the name Adams would choose the creepy / kooky / mysterious / spooky television show family (not to mention upwards of a hundred others) before the great Ansel.

    But hovering there on the periphery, seeing my family happy again, I wanted to capture the moment. Though try as I might, I could not get a clear picture. And for once in my… life, I needed to.

    “Damn!” I muttered. “Why can’t I get this thing to focus?”

    “Because you’re on a different plane,” came the answer from no one, from nowhere.

    “But I need to. I want to remember them the way they are. I want to remember.”

    “Of course you do. Everyone does. But it’s against the rules. You’re not supposed to remember them exactly. Your memory is supposed to fade. It’s how you let go.”

    “But I don’t want to. I want… Who are those people?”

  7. The picture is from a camp fire last night on a small island off Nova Scotia. I was there because I had traced Lando, from my reality, to Nova Scotia and from there further out to sea, and I was transporting with my trusty Tompulver through the nearby islands in case he had holed up on one of them.
    I have just fired up my raptalaptop and uploaded the pictures from my camera. The trans-reality scanner software tells me the two trans-reality travelers from last night are either from the Raaksh or the Boksi reality. I have transmitted the images to my HQ for final confirmation and for a lock on their location.
    The Raaksh are bad news, but the Boksi are terminal. They are greedy for acquisition and unscrupulous about how they acquire. They scout an alternative reality thoroughly before they strike. To minimize detection, they usually send just one team of two scouts.
    The Boksis have never been known to fail.
    Well, if it is them I must make sure they fail for the first time here. They cannot be allowed to take over this reality. It is the recharge reality of our confederation, the regeneration facility without which we will probably go extinct. It is why we have allowed the numbers here to grow so exponentially.
    I am ready, as are my Tompulver and my Voider. Tonight, I will hunt. I will have my way, whatever the cost. Extinction is not an option.

  8. “Zork, monitor all frequencies…adjust the mobility stabilizer …something …anything.” The commander cried.
    “Yes Commander; right away.”
    “Did you see that? Where did they come from?”, he mumbled to himself. He looked into his Trans-Harmonic camera; confirming two additional images. His mission was to monitor the two beings by the fire. But the others; what were they? Their blurry appearance suggested that they were from another realm. Somehow out of sync.
    “Zork, what do you see now?”
    “Commander, I lost them as they moved toward the ocean. The density of the water must have something to do with their cloaking ability.”
    “Zork, I have an idea. I need a heat signature scan and a way to increase the temperature. We will draw them out to us. Send a mega-dose of thermal energy into the water close to my location. Do it as hard and fast as you can. We will blast them out.”
    Within moments a huge sonic explosion came out of the sky and shook the entire area. It hit the water with such a jolt that tremors were felt for miles. Immediately the two creatures shot out of the water like balls from a cannon. They landed on the beach and did not move.
    “Yes”, he declared, pumping his fist. “ We got them. Mission accomplished. Well done Zork.” Just then a voice responded.
    “Joey, turn off the water and get out that tub. You have soaked the floor and you have toys strewn everywhere.”

  9. The name’s Stein, I’m a sync hunter. I’ve been chasing these perps for the past month. We can get a trace with the TransHarmonicPhazeInducer but these two have been a bit tricky.

    They seem to know when we have a lead on their next location. Every location we have set an ambush to catch them, they have phased in and phased out before we could close the trap.

    The phasewall is cracked, noticed it on their last phase. We don’t know how much longer before it ruptures and that’s pretty bad. At least that’s what I was told. Like time phase split bad.

    But I’m ready for them this time. Have an inverter prepared to fire off right at their moment of full phase. Any second now, if you knew what you were looking for you would see the air crackle around them.
    Just a press of the button, timed just right…

    Hell ya, the two can’t go anyway. Froze them in a stilltimevortex. In your reality you might call it a picture. In mine, we reduce the phased perps into digital anti-matter and freeze them until we can use the PhaseAdjuster to force them into our reality permanently.

    Something’s not right. My wife died 3 years ago in a phasetime meltdown. This can’t be her. Dear god, this can’t be her.

  10. I stood by the fire, watching the red and orange flames dance against the darkness of the night. I felt like they were creeping slowly through my body. I could feel the warm sensation in my toes first, and then, like the blood rushing through my veins, it made its’ way upward through my legs, arms and finally I could feel the flush of heat on my face.

    Beside me, stood Jaxon, my blind date. I’m not entirely sure why I chose to come. Perhaps I just enjoy torturing myself. Whatever the reason, the bonfire seemed oddly appropriate, as I knew at some point during the evening, I would certainly crash and burn. I tossed around several ideas and finally decided on a reason to break away for a few moments. After offering the lamest excuse I’ve ever heard, I turned quickly towards the car to retrieve my non-existent lip balm. Just as I took a step, I felt the brush of a hand against my arm. “What?” I turned and asked Jaxon. “What do you mean…what?” he said. “You touched my arm. I thought maybe you wanted to ask me something.” I replied. He looked at me as if I had lost my mind. “I didn’t touch you!” he replied. I shrugged and continued my escape. Again, I felt something touch my arm, only this time it seemed more persistent. I spun around and couldn’t believe my eyes. There, in front me, stood an Indian Chief.

  11. Title: Shades of Walpurgisnacht

    A cold front crept into New Hampshire that April night, but Katrin was visiting from Heidelberg, so a German-style bonfire seemed in order. After gathering some dry kindling and branches, we piled them into the stone pit near the lake and stoked a blaze. Soon the roaring fire helped warm our bones.

    We reminisced about our study abroad program, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the tragedy that put a damper on that year: the deaths of our friends, Hans and Richart, in a car crash.

    Remembering those events caused Katrin to shiver. “Geister? “ she said.

    That was all it took for David to tell a ghost story. Then we poured some mugs of Glühwein from the thermos and our faces began to glow.

    “Time for some pictures,” I said. Stepping back from the fire, I attempted to focus my camera, but the image seemed blurry. Must be the flickering light, I thought.


    We slept in the next morning and made plans for Mayday. After a leisurely Frühstück, I downloaded the digital photos from my Nikon.

    “Oh my God!” I cried. “They were there!”

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