Flash Fiction Challenge: Feed the Babies

Glowing Stones 010115 by K. S. Brooks
Photo copyright K. S. Brooks

Jason found the peculiar little eggs while playing in the woods behind his house. He hid them on a tray under his bed because his mother didn’t like it when Jason brought things home from his little excursions.

Though he gave them a lot of attention at first, he eventually abandoned the idea that they would ever hatch. He more or less forgot about them. Jason was asleep when they did hatch. His mother was also sleeping until she heard his screams…

Welcome to the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. 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. Please note the rule changes for 2015.

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19 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: Feed the Babies”

  1. Gloria awoke, frightened, hearing screams from Jason’s room sounded strange, not at all what a parent expects at three a.m. Immediately, Gloria leapt from under her warm bedcovers, the cold of the winter morning stinging her like a giant bee as she ran from her room to the hall and to Jason’s bedside. When she opened the door to Jason’s bedroom, she froze there in the doorway. Her eyes grew enormous in size, spelling out horror. Jason sat on his bed, white with fear, mouth open, looking to be in a state of utter shock. Those beans he’d found had somehow grown into this unbelievable tree stump like the size of an automobile. In the hollow opening, two red piercing eyes were all that could be seen. Gloria found her strength and muscled her way into the room, struggling, almost as if she were wading her way through a pool of Jell-O. The air was thickened as if some barrier had erected itself to keep her out. Suddenly, a long arm extended from the hollow hole of the tree trunk and snatched little Jason from his bed, and Jason’s scream was the last sound Gloria ever heard, ever again.

  2. With heart beating in her throat she ran down the hall to Jason’s room, flung open the door, flicked the light switch and…froze, eyes widened with horror.
    Jason wasn’t screaming any more. He sat on the edge of his bed, in his fleece pajamas, transfixed, staring down. There they were, on the rug, crawling among the broken golden egg shells, nibbling on her son’s bare feet.
    From the darkest deep of her secret she felt her anger rise. They told her, they assured her they would dispose of the extras. They never did. But how on earth did the eggs survive for ten years?
    “They just needed a bit of love,” Jason spoke softly, startling her, “a bit of warmth, and they hatched.”
    “Jason…”
    “Give them a bit of food, a bit of love, and they’ll grow…”
    “Son…”
    “Look at me – I grew.”
    “Oh, Jason…”
    She leaned against the door-post. He knew. He understood everything. There was one thing left for her to tell.
    “I love you, son. You know that, don’t you?”
    He nodded slowly, then lifted up his face and for a long moment looked her in the eye. She thought she saw a shadow of a smile touch his lips.
    “Mom,” he began, “Mom…can we keep them? Please?”
    He was grinning now. He was her Jason again. Her son.
    “Yes,” she said, tears streaming down her cheeks, “yes.”
    “What shall we call them?”
    “Well…”
    The five tiny Jasons opened their mouths, waiting to be fed. And loved.

  3. “String Theory”

    Todd arose with a start – chest aching from where Mandy had just jabbed it to awaken him from his snoring slumber.

    “Did you hear that,” she whispered yet again.

    “Huh…What! Hear what,” Todd half stated half mumbled.

    The shriek startled them both. Todd leaped from his bed and flew up the stairs.

    “JASON!” his voice echoed down the hallway as he approached his son’s door. He flipped the switch for the hallway light before barreling into the room. The light flowed inside and splashed across Jason’s bed. He was pushed back up against his headboard in a scrunched up ball. Rocking back and forth, he was muttering something unintelligible.

    “Bu, di, dis,”

    It looked as though he had pulled his t-shirt down around his knees engulfing his whole body. As Todd drew closer he realized he hadn’t seen this shirt before…it looked like string. Glancing at the nightstand, he saw the opened can of silly string. He shook his head.

    “I thought I told you not to play with this stuff in here?!?”

    Jason began to frantically shake his head, “BU, DA…BU.”

    Todd looked even closer, there seemed to be something covering his mouth too. He pulled the string away just when Jason bellowed, “BUGS DAD, SPIDERS DID THIS!”

    “BEHIND YOU…LOOK OUT!!!”

    Todd spun around. Four sets of glowing eyes were carefully perched on the nearby bookcase. He felt a pinch in his lower leg.

    He looked down…another set. The room went dark.

  4. Chrissy rushed into Jason’s room, the tail of her dressing gown flew out behind her in the dash. “What is it?” She called into the darkness, but she was answered only by whimpering sobs. “Jason?” She didn’t wait for answer this time, instead she flicked on the overhead light.

    Greeted by the shambles of his room, at first she thought nothing of it. Jason had been lax in his chores recently and the room remained a mess after repeated scolding. The whimpers came from under a pile of blankets in the center of his bed, whimpers and jerky movements.

    “Jason?” She placed a hand on the blankets and shook them. All movement under the blanket ceased. “Hey, what’s wrong?” Still with no answer, not even the whimpers she pushed her misgivings aside and pulled back the blanket.

    Her boy didn’t move, didn’t breathe. She pulled the blanket down further and was met with blood. The insides of her beautiful boy had been ripped open to the night air. Worse, something had chewed on the tattered remnants of his flesh. Chrissy opened her mouth to scream, her vocal chords, frozen, only to squeak out a muffled gurgle.

    Something moved away from the light. She caught the hint of it as it pulled away. Her naked legs, her uncovered feet just at the edge of the bed, covered by the darkness underneath she didn’t see what lay hidden. But the scratching and biting of their explorations unfroze her vocal chords.

  5. Crack!

    Jason lurched in his sleep, rapping his head against the wall. “Ouch,” he groaned, opening his eyes. Squinting, he spotted his chair keeled over. Something moved in the room. Cold bristled the hairs on his neck and he sat up straight, blinking, seeking to penetrate the dark and hear the thing beneath the silence, for he knew it to be there. He listened for an endless time until it came; a reverberating groan.

    A shadow danced along the wall. Grasping the headboard, Jason stood, trembling. From beneath his bed it crawled out. He opened his mouth to scream, but nothing escaped. Then it turned.

    Bluish liquid spilled from the ripped mouth from which pointy teeth protruded. The eyes, of which there were five, were expressionless. Hair covered its entire gruesome body, the colour indiscernible. Struck dumb, Jason backed against the wall as if it could hide him. The minutes crept by.

    Eventually, Jason calmed himself enough to ask, “Who are you?”

    “I am the Eater of Children,” it replied. “You raised me.”

    Remembering the eggs, Jason peered under his bed. Sure enough, the other dusty shells were intact. For some reason his fear vanished. Perhaps, if he spoke to the creature, it would spare him, or maybe his imagination conjured it up – the only sensible theory.

    “I can help you,” Jason offered. “You can live in my closet.”

    “No.”

    “We can be friends.”

    “No,” roared the beast, baring its teeth. “You forgot me. I told you what I am.”

  6. When Jason’s mom, Jill, first ran into the room, she could not believe her eyes!
    They were back!
    Jill thought she had rid herself and her family of these tiny terrible creatures long ago, yet there they were once more. What had she done wrong?
    Well, this is not the time for regrets. This is the time for action and she knew just what to do.
    Jill rushed back into the kitchen for a mason jar and a pair of gloves. By the time she returned Jason had already received some two dozen bites and had become too paralyzed by fear to move.
    The creatures, though quite small, had a veracious appetites and sharp jagged teeth.
    Quickly she donned her gloves and started grabbing the creatures and throwing then into the jar. When she could see no more she stopped and tightly screwed down the lid. She had caught five of the little critters. That was about an average hatch.
    “Sssshh, everything’s alright,” Jill lied. She tenderly placed her hand on Jason’s forehead. Most of his tiny wounds had already stopped bleeding. A cool wet rag cleaned up the small amount of blood.
    As Jason’s screams quieted to a soft sobbing, a cold chill ran deep through his mother’s heart. Catching and destroying the hatchings was not that difficult.
    The newborn babies were very tiny and could not move very fast.
    The parents were a different story. A different story entirely. The parents would not be so easy!

  7. Crack, crack. Five eggs for her little boy sizzled as soon as they hit the butter-filled pan. Their clear gelatinous goo solidified and she pulled them off the heat. Jason liked the yolks liquid.

    “Morning,” said Jason. He shuffled into the kitchen rubbing sleep from his eyes. His nose wrinkled when he saw the eggs. “Are the yolks gushy?”

    After twenty-eight years you’d think he’d say thank you, but she ignored his winey tone. He was all she had.

    Jason prodded the egg. Satisfied they were prepared properly, he stabbed his fork into the yolk. Oozing yellow liquid, the egg wriggled and flopped on the plate like a skewered fish. A horrific squeal rent the air. He dropped the fork and screamed. Gaping maws of jagged teeth opened on the yokes. Growling, they leaped from the plate.

    She sucked in a sharp breath and opened her eyes. It was only a dream. Suddenly, Jason yelled and she raced to his room. Five tiny dragons fought over an old pastrami sandwich on the floor. Jason gaped from his bed, still wearing yesterday’s clothes.

    As one, the dragonets looked at her. “Thanks for the tasty meal, Grandma. May we please have more?”

    The compliment shocked her more than seeing dragons. Grandchildren. Finally. Who was she to question how?

    “You’re welcome,” she said, patting their heads. “Jason, dear, you have children to support now.”

    “But…”

    “But nothing. Go to work.”

    Ignoring Jason, she sat and read a story to her new charges.

  8. Jennifer bolted to a stop in Jason’s doorway just in time to see a column of luminous dust whirling near the closet. Her eyes shifted back over to Jason; three tubular gumby-like beings with teeth and leafy limbs had climbed up onto the foot of his bed.

    “Mom! Do something!” Jason screamed.

    “What have you done this time?” came a man’s voice to Jennifer’s right. She looked over to see a tall, thin man with pointed ears and slick, black hair wearing some kind of uniform. He was talking to a small, fluffy white dog.

    “Why do you always assume it’s my fault? I’m going to get a complex,” the dog answered.

    Jason pushed himself back up against his headboard. “Wuh…wuh…what are they?”

    “Yeah, what are they?” The dog looked up at the man. “That’s not what I had in mind at all.”

    “Fascinating,” the man said, studying the beings. “It appears they are a derivative of the carnivorous earth plant known as Venus Flytrap.”

    “Yeah, see, that’s wrong. I was trying to make a hot dog plant, so I mixed some seed things in the greenhouse with some hot dogs and added some… uh… performance enhancing drugs I um, found somewhere.”

    “So are you telling me you fed meat and steroids to carnivorous plants?” The man gazed at the creatures, then pulled out a metal box, flipped it open, and with the push of a button, obliterated them.

    The dog sniffed repeatedly. “Smells like barbecue!” He jumped up onto the bed and began eating the smoking chunks.

  9. Jason awoke from his sleep. A loud buzzing sound filled the calm night atmosphere, intensified with the occasional beep. He grasped the sheet and quickly flung it off his body and thumped onto his floor to peek underneath. On the tray were the eggs, sharply broken and continuous like a bunch of white teeth. Jason got up and tried to accustom his eyes to the gloom, and after several blinks, he was able to see most of the room. The incessant buzzing sound made him rather nervous, though he was interested and had a newly found purpose. He quickly walked over to the closet for boys, shifting and moving the mountain of toys. He couldn’t scream after what he saw next, for though it was terrifying, and though he was hexed, he could do no other but be perplexed. Five small figures were forming a circle. Holding hands, legs crossed, simply nonverbal. In the middle was what seemed to be a construction of some kind, technologically superior and alien to mankind. He stood and watched for much of the night. Feeling a strange serenity that ended with fierce bite. One of the creatures looked up at Jason, eyes large and black with a cold fixation. They broke the circle and smiled up at the human, Jason not knowing what to do but felt very subhuman. He screamed as they went toward him, his mother now awake. Their own mother was to answer their call soon and correct her grave mistake.

  10. “The Sixth Stone”

    Five stones rested on the corner of the wax paper, cool to touch. Two yellow, two white and one orange all slightly translucent.

    “Five.” Jeremy told himself. “There are five, definitely not six.”

    He stared intently at the small stones, only slightly bigger than a dime, willing for only five to be in his memory. He had been sitting on his hand-me-down couch, in his small bachelor apartment, for two hours staring at the stones since opening the package.

    “Surely, I just miscounted when opening the wax paper,” he thought. “Clear as day now, only five stones.”

    But deep inside Jeremy knew he was lying to himself. There HAD been six stones, two of each colour, pulsing gently with a collective glow. A dim glow that he hadn’t noticed at first, but had brightened and intensified in its repetition until the sixth stone had disappeared altogether, without a trace, directly in front of him.

    “No, no. There had only been five stones.” He told himself for the hundredth time, inhaling deeply, scrunching his eyes tightly closed and knuckling them with a ragged sigh.

    But he could not convince his gut, which knotted itself tightly, as he glanced down once more at the stones. A dim light within them all beginning to pulse faster.

  11. Jason’s screams woke his mother out of a dead sleep. Sophie raced to her son’s room and quickly realized her son’s screams were not of terror but rather squeals of delight.

    “What on earth…” she started.

    “Look at what they are.” Jason stopped jumping on the bed and sat down in the middle of it, head upturned to the flittering of colors above him.

    “I’m seeing it, but I’m not believing it. Where are those fairies from?”

    “From those colored eggs, Mom. They hatched.”

    As she watched the excitement on Jason’s face, she noticed something else transpire about him. He was calmly in control of his body. He was not rocking and he spoke with complete clarity where just yesterday he had one of his worst days.

    She saw a beautiful aura around him she’d never seen before. He was so relaxed and happy, joyful and her heart sang with joy.

    Sophie stood still, quietly leaning on the door jam, careful not to disturb them. One by one, they flew over Jason’s head tapping his forehead with a tiny wand. Each fairy was of a different color: light purple, light pale green, ruby, opal, and one multi-colored one.

    As she wondered about the significance of them touching Jason, he got out of bed and went to his desk and began writing something down. She looked over his shoulder and read what he wrote.

    ‘They have healed me, you will come into some money and I can write without dyslexia.’

  12. When Jason looked under the bed he knew something was seriously wrong. The eggs had begun to glow and vibrate. The hum was so loud it woke him from a dead sleep.

    He found the iridescent eggs weeks ago on one of his many adventures in the woods behind the house. Each was baseball sized, oblong, and heavy on one end. He wrapped the eggs in his jacket and carried them home. His mother was always scolding him for bringing “projects” home, so he hid them. He spent hours trying to hatch the eggs that first week; a warm blanket, a lamp, even hand warmers from his dad’s hunting supplies. But with no change they became boring. He finally put the eggs under his bed and forgot about them.

    Now, he had to do something. He scooped up the eggs, grabbed his coat and slippers, and ran outside. Junior, the family dog, led the way. They both ran across the yard toward the tool shed. As Jason reached for the doorknob a large shadow swooped past the shining moon and circled. Startled by the sudden movement, Jason screamed.

    “Henry, wake up! It sounds like Jason is outside screaming. Go see what is wrong.” Jason’s dad jumped up, grabbed a bat from the bedside, and made his way downstairs. As soon as he opened the back door he saw Junior being caught up in the talons of what looked like a flying creature the size of a small car.

  13. Jason watched the five eggs vibrate and jerk on his bed. He wanted to shout and say: “Mom! Mom! The eggs are hatching!”
    Their shell broke one after the other. Five little men came out of them, stretching and straightening their long robe. They each had a unique color that both their skin and robe shared: blue, red, pink, yellow and black.
    The blue one bowed and presented himself. “The time has come, young lad, for you to decide what to do with your life. You must choose one of us.” He coughed. “Of course, I hope you choose me and live a life of Art.”
    “No! Choose me!” said the red man. “Cultivate your intellect and pierce the secrets of the Universe by way of Science.”
    Jason widened his eyes. He loved the red one as it was scientific curiosity that had spurred him to take the eggs from the forest in the first place, but one of them attracted him in particular…
    “Don’t listen to him,” said the yellow one. “Become an entertainer. Everyone will love you!”
    The pink man shook his head. “They’re selfish. Let Love guide your every action.”
    The fifth, clad of black, stood apart from the others, his head hidden below a hood. Somehow, Jason was attracted to him so Jason pointed at him. “I choose you.”
    A thin smile appeared under the hood.
    The yellow man shuddered. “He chose the path of the…” A dagger flashed and pierced his chest. “…of the killer!”

  14. Lydia gasped at what was a nightmare turned reality. Winged beings the size of dollar bills dive-bombed her son’s cowering body. After her husband left, Jason had protected her. This time she would be strong.
    Waving her arms into the swarm of glittering wings, she sheltered her son with her body. “Leave! Now!”
    A tiny body and pink iridescent wings hovered before Lydia’s face. “We mean you no harm. We are scared and need to get back to our nest. Our mother must be in despair wondering where we are.”
    “Jason, did you take these…pixies…from their mother?”
    “They were golden and silver eggs. Mom, I didn’t know.” Jason’s lips pursed.
    “Do you remember how to get back to the nest?”
    He nodded.
    Lydia was stunned that she was on an adventure into the same forest that she had told Jason time and time again to avoid. But for the first time, in a long time, she felt alive and realized why her son visited here. It was a magical soul healing sanctuary, something they both needed.
    A larger version of the pixies darted into the moonlight. “My children, my babies.” Her voice floated on a melody of music. A song so sweet, Lydia began to cry.
    “I’m sorry for taking your eggs.” Jason lowered his head.
    “Young boy, you saved them. An ogre pillaged our nest several weeks ago. I thought he had stolen my children for food. You shall forever be protected by fairies, as you have protected us.”

  15. Elise raced down the darkened hall, the shrieks piercing her soul. Her bare feet slid along the cold wooden floor until there was no more floor and her body bumpered back and forth between the walls, crumpling into a heap. The metal taste of blood brought the world back into focus.

    Jason’s night-light glowed through his cracked door. He shrieked again, the high-pitched throbbing scream rippling down her spine. Elise clawed her way up the wall and pushed forward into the bedroom. The warm yellow light from the bedside table revealed a mass huddled under Star Wars bed sheets littered with delicate-looking shards.

    “Jason, baby?” Elise brushed back the eggshells and covers to wrap her arms around her son, pulling him tightly to her as the shrieks subsided into sobs and tiny arms snaked around her shoulders. “It’s okay, sweetie. Mama’s here. Everything’s okay.”

    “It was…eating you. They told me so.” Gulps for air punctuated his words.

    “No, honey. I’m okay.”

    He placed his tiny hand over her heart, then slid it down an inch. “From here. It’s black. And ugly.” He looked at her, his eyes more serious than fearful. “It’s hungry, Mommy.”

    “Sweetie, it was just a bad dream.” She pulled him into a rocking hug, as much to hide her own fear as shield him from his. He had pressed the very spot where she’d discovered the lump.

    The shrieks pierced the night once more, this time echoing within her own head.

  16. Sharletha forced herself to remain in bed. The Prophecy was clear. Jason must fulfill his role. The screaming would stop soon enough. She pressed the pillow over her ears and envisioned the rewards of her service. Honored and revered, that’s what she’d been promised. They would worship her name as one of the Sacred Saviors of her race. It was the only reason she’d agreed to come to this forsaken place.

    When she opened her eyes, a warm glow filled the now silent night air. She crept down the hallway to Jason’s room and peered into the crack at the door. Small shuffles came from within. The only thing that remained for her to do was the final preparations for storage, then the process would begin anew. No one missed the newborn child of crack-addicted whore from New Orleans or an impoverished teenager from Appalachia. She raised them as her own for five years, each destined to discover a stash of eggs, and buried her emotional attachments along with the stasis pods containing the future invasion force.

    The door jerked open and rough hands pulled her inside. Sharletha was surrounded by armored warriors. What was this? There’d been no signal. The hand clamped down on her shoulder. “You seem surprised.”

    “The Prophesy—“

    “You only heard the part you were supposed to hear.” He backed up to reveal hungry faces.

    Her screams subsided as her body shriveled.

    The warrior smiled. “A mother’s glory is to feed her babies.”

  17. “The Love Of Money”
    by Michael Seese

    “The love of money is the root of all evil.”

    A lot of wisdom was poured into the Bible. Perhaps I should have gone to that well more often.

    Five gold eggs rattle in my empty hands. Five gold eggs which have sealed three fates.

    Between 1885 and 1917, the House of Fabergé crafted 50 bejeweled eggs, give or take, for Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II. This, we all know. But Wikipedia won’t tell you there once existed five gold eggs as well. Weighing just over three pound each, collectively they’re worth just south of $400,000 today. How they came into my possession is largely irrelevant, though the story may involve a Commandment or two.

    History managed to forget them. Others did not.

    The men who kicked down our door made an offer that was straightforward and succinct. And non-negotiable.

    “Give them to us, and we’ll let you live.”

    “It’s not that simple,” I said. “They’re not here.”

    So they amended the deal.

    “Deliver to us the eggs, and we’ll deliver back to you your wife and son.”

    It shouldn’t be this hard. But it is.

    An announcement comes over the loudspeaker.

    “Attention passengers, this is the final boarding call for flight 1678, direct service to Berlin.”

    I take the photo out of my wallet and lay it on the seat next to me. I won’t be needing it any more. I pocket the lucre and board the plane, cursing my love of money with each weighted step.

  18. Payback.
    That is what I get for indulging in marathon horror movie watching sessions. That is the only thing that makes sense as to why my dreams are becoming weirder by the minute. “Hmm… that voice…”

    Nedu’s musing cut short, realizing that was Jason’s!!. The frenzied pitch of the screams was unnerving, the intensity escalating by the minute.

    Barreling down the hallway towards the screams, one thing was clear, dream or no dream, she needed to get to her “baby” faster than Usain Bolt.

    Jason! Jason! Jason!.. more screams in the direction of his room. Barging into the room, she was frozen in her tracks…shreds of fabric, picture frames knocked over, feathers, and wallpaper strewn all over the floor.

    Jason almost knocked her over before she had enough time to stretch out her arms, sobbing and shivering uncontrollably, Jason latched onto her waist. His room looked like a tornado casualty. The fortunate thing was the standing walls were still standing. Jason’s awards, his paper drawings all ripped to pieces.

    Pulling him away ever so gently, her hands still resting on his shoulders, and looking into his eyes, “Jason what happened here?” Nedu followed his pointing fingers directed towards the wood floors.

    Just then she noticed a dark tray with what looked like cracked egg shells.

    Right on cue, one, two, three, six, after ten, she lost count; egg yolk yellow chicks with streaks of green and blue feathers around their protruding bellies come traipsing out from under his bed.

  19. The ceramic tray under Jason’s bed had been forged in an Inca Kiln and given to a priestess who, at the age of seventeen, had fallen in love with a Spanish conquistador. Their romance had been forbidden, but she had been willing to incur the wrath of the gods to lay with the man she loved. And incur their wrath, she did. The conquistador had betrayed her and her people, choosing to pillage the wealth of the Inca over love, and she had become sick. As the priestess lay dying from smallpox, she weakly reached a hand from her deathbed to the closest item should could touch, the tray, and with her last ounce of strength, invoked her spirit into it until a time she could be reborn.
    Over the years, the tray had traveled around the world, ending up at a flea market where Jason’s grandmother had purchased it in a lot with other items. Not seeing any value in the tray, she had left it in a box under the bed where Jason now made his room. All the while, the priestess’s spirit had lain dormant. It wasn’t until Jason had placed the five eggs innocently on the tray that her spirit had been awoken. The eggs were ordinary but the touch from a descendent of the man who had betrayed her had provided her the power and will to live again. Through the eggs, she would be able to have her revenge. She was hatching. Interesting.

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