Flash Fiction Challenge: Forever Hold Your Peace?

drinks cowboy style 060113
Photo Copyright K. S. Brooks

Blaine slipped out the back of the wedding hall. He couldn’t believe Tiffany was marrying that no-good cowboy. Roy McCoy had slithered his way into Tiffany’s life while Blaine was in Iraq. It wasn’t right. He had emailed her every day and Skyped whenever he could. Why hadn’t that been enough? He wasn’t really gone that long. She should have waited for him.

He gazed upon the unprotected refreshments. His grip tightened around the bottle of ipecac. “Speak now or forever hold your peace,” wafted out from the hall. Blaine took a deep breath…

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.

Author: Administrators

All Indies Unlimited staff members, including the admins, are volunteers who work for free. If you enjoy what you read here - all for free - please share with your friends, like us on Facebook and Twitter, and if you don't know how to thank us for all this great, free content - feel free to make a donation! Thanks for being here.

16 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: Forever Hold Your Peace?”

  1. Could he go through with it? One container on the refreshment table was poisoned but which one he had no idea. His friend, a fellow soldier who understood the torments of war and sacrifice, had slipped in the poison. Tiffany and her cowboy and all those complicit in the betrayal would die and Blaine along with them. Without Tiffany there was no reason to live. He might as well have died in Iraq.
    Studying the contents of the table, Blaine recalled the blood on the battlefield, the slow agonizing wails of those mortally wounded. Sounds of gunfire and the barrage of missile fire and explosions filled his ears. The threat of death hovered with every breath. His only consolation in those dark and deadly hours had been thoughts of Tiffany and the warmth of her touch waiting for him when he returned home.
    “Why shouldn’t these traitors die? Why should they be spared an agonizing death?” Poison was what they all deserved. He would poison them as war and betrayal had poisoned him. And then he would do the honorable thing and die along with them.
    As the guests poured in and partook in refreshments, Blaine drank and waited. With sickening satisfaction he waited for demise. Then he looked at Tiffany in her white satin gown as she took a celebratory drink. Handing her the bottle of ipecac, he told her to drink it to make her vomit and expel the poison from her stomach before it was too late.

  2. It should be him at the front of the hall. Looking back, he knew something had changed. Eyes flitting off to the side during their Skype dates. Shorter emails, a left off ‘I love you,’ and fewer details – less warmth
    At first he guessed she was mad. The 24 hour mission that lasted two weeks with no contact outside. Hunkered down with limited supplies, sustained by thoughts of home while surround by nothing but sand and sky.
    Well, not nothing.
    There was something – dark and ancient – that reached its tentacles up through the loneliness and comforted him. It provided a new mission – gave him the means to reveal how evil people can be.
    It was tickling him now too. The dark ipecac bottle kept the contents viable. Such damning revenge. He’d seen entire towns destroyed by a few drops. Mothers rending their children. A holy man bit the nose off one of his flock.
    Drinking it caused devastation, breathing it in created obliteration – apocalypse.
    He walked back to the doors of the wedding hall. Saw the couple holding hands – just finishing their vows. Smiling. Eyes locked.
    He sucked in a deep breath, turned the lid three times and threw the bottle like a grenade. It landed with a soft thud just as they were closing in for a kiss.
    He exited the building – exhaling – as the applause and shouts of joy changed to shrieks of terror as the guests began feasting on each other.

  3. I woke up in my one-room apartment with the smell of alcohol on my breath and a splitting headache. How did I get here? Though it hurt my head more, I tried to recall the previous day’s events.

    I remember… bells. Ah yes, wedding bells! Tiffany’s wedding. Sitting at the back at the hall, clad in shoes one size too small and a tuxedo one size too large.

    I didn’t stick around to see Tiffany, in all her bridal glory, walk down the aisle. Nor did I see her lover-stealing scumbag husband Roy. I was at the refreshment stand with Jack. Jack Daniels, always there to help me drown my sorrows, only to be roused by those fateful seven words.

    “Speak now, or forever hold your peace.”

    And suddenly, I was there. At the wedding hall. In the middle of the aisle. I figure I must have delivered some magnificent, crowd-silencing speech.

    God, I wish I could remember that, instead of how my brovado faded away after that and how I fled. To the pub. And I wish I could forget seeing Roy there soon after, looking more heartbroken than hateful, to my initial disappointment. “The wedding’s off,” he sighed. “I hope you’re happy.” The unbearable, unmistakable hurt written on his face didn’t make me feel as good as I thought it would. I just felt kind of empty.

    An emptiness I filled with drink.

  4. “A toast to the queen of my life, who has persevered beyond alcohol and become a model of determination for anyone she meets, to the love of my life, Tiffany!” Roy stood up from the head table raising a glass of lemonade.
    All around white trimmed tables, friends and family raised glasses of fruit punch or lemonade and called out:
    “To Tiffany”
    “Tiffany and Roy”
    For those with particularly good hearing there was one “Drink up everyone!” from a man seated in the farthest possible table from the bride and groom, by himself with a glass of water.

    Roy, not one with particularly good hearing, only heard the pleasant clink of glasses and kind toasts from the crowd. Sitting back down he leaned over to kiss Tiffany, who was wiping away tears of happiness. Or more accurately, what Roy thought were tears of happiness. This thought was quickly altered upon the fury of spit roast pork, mashed potatoes and buttered carrots that met Roy’s puckered lips as he attempted to kiss his new bride.

    There was a collective gasp from all in attendance, mothers, in-laws, fathers, children, aunts, uncles, cousins and family friends all sat shocked, staring at the head table. This scene also, was quickly altered by a communal release of pork, gravy, carrots, peas and Tiffany’s Nana’s famous honeyed buns.

    As chaos raged across the reception, those with particularly good hearing caught the sound of uncontrollable laughter at the farthest possible table from the bride and groom.

  5. A Sucker Punch
    by Sara Stark
    250 words

    The green punch, old Roy-Boy, his onetime best friend, would go for the green punch and add a hefty dose of JD to it while that lying little— while Tiffany wasn’t looking.

    Blaine was pretty sure the ipecac wouldn’t hurt anyone, anyone abstaining that is. Besides, if he remembered correctly—and his memory was a bit hazy these days—Tiffany and all her friends were teetotalers. Something about the ipecac… The very bottle in his hand had been in the last “care” package she’d sent him. In his head, something flared like distant artillery.

    Sure he had a problem. But barfing up what little they got to eat… Barfing in that heat wasn’t going to make Iraq a happier place. What made things better was a good dose of anti-reality, easily found in the rotgut liquor all too available in Iraq.

    “—may kiss the bride.”

    Too late. Blaine heard the crowd exploding as the happy couple walked down the aisle. He pocketed the ipecac and stepped back into the shadows of the reception hall.

    And who stopped right in front of the alcove in which he hid? The Bride and Groom, of course.

    “Don’t cry, hon,” Rat-Roy said.

    “You know I love you.” Two-Timing-Tiffany sniffed into a tissue. “But this, this isn’t what I pictured.”

    “I loved him too, you know. I wouldn’t be here if he hadn’t—”

    Something fired in Blaine’s memory.

    “I’d already planned,” Roy said. “I’m going to make a memorial speech at the reception.”

  6. …and shoved the bottle back in his pocket. As much as he wanted his revenge, he just could not do this to the guests. After all, they were his friends too. His fake smile turned dark. He had made up his mind. He would take the high road.

    Breaking into the shed behind the hardware store was easy. Hell, there was a crowbar lying in the yard. It only took Blaine a few minutes to locate what he was looking for. Get in and out fast. That is the way he liked to do things. No one will find out until Monday and by then, who cares? He was on a mission now and nothing and nobody had better try to stop him.

    Turning off the main road Blaine shifted his old pickup down to low range to pull the steep trail up the mountain. He stopped at the pullover, ironically called ‘Lover’s Leap’, which directly overlooked the main highway out of town.

    Blaine knew just where to place the dynamite. He also knew that in just a matter of hours the newlyweds would be passing under this bluff on their honeymoon.

    Blaine sat back and lit a cigarette. “I guess all my special forces training is going to come in handy after all.”

  7. Blaine rolled in the wedding hall. He arrived in the middle of the red-carpeted aisle littered with petals of roses.

    Many in the audience turned their head and look at handicapped man. They must have noticed the gold medal glittering on his chest. Or maybe they noticed his green uniform and vest. Or, more probably, it was his non-existent legs and his flapping, hollow pants legs.

    He had to thank Iraq for that. Two bullets, one in each leg.

    The priest spoke in a slow methodical voice. Tiffany, his beloved, the one that kept him living in that desert hellhole by her existence alone, smiled, clad in a long wedding gown and holding a bouquet. A worthless man, his name was Roy, stood in front of her.

    He was stealing her. No. Blaine couldn’t accept it.

    “Speak now or forever hold your peace,” said the priest.

    “I oppose this marriage!” shouted Blaine.

    Gasps. More heads turned toward him.

    “Tiffany, you can do better than him. I love you. I always think about you. We’re meant to be.”

    A dead silence.

    Tiffany strode toward him. She seemed to hover over the ground, her legs hidden in the dress. She stopped, heaved the hem of robe, rose her foot and rested it on Blaine’s lap.

    “I don’t want just half a man,” she said.

    Blaine gaped as Tiffany, with a push of her heel, sent him rolling down the aisle.

    They had won the war. But Blaine had come back a loser.

  8. Blaine released a long breath as he poured the ipecac fluid into the punch bowl. Then he gave it a quick stir as he looked around for any witnesses. “Shouldn’t have invited me,” he said. With another glance toward the sanctuary he strolled out of the reception hall toward the bathrooms.

    He planned it well, he had waited in the bathroom long enough to allow the reception hall to fill and guests could drink up some of the doctored punch. He returned to the reception hall in time for the first explosion. Tiffany’s little brother Kenny expelled his lunch all over his mother’s shoes. Pure liquid red punch mixed with all manner of things in the boys belly shot everywhere.

    This wasn’t the first. Once the floodgates opened the chain reaction was under way. Blaine lifted his phone at the perfect moment to catch a double spew between Roy and Tiffany, across their faces, and even a little into their mouths. It didn’t end there.

    People who hadn’t even tasted the punch let go. The smell of sick and bile in the reception hall threatened his own tenacity but he fought the bile down.

    Blaine put the final part of his plan into motion, a picture of Tiffany at her worst. He called her name and raised his camera to catch the perfect shot, though he misjudged the distance. She turned and released one more time. The liquid missile covered him and his camera.

  9. This justice was a long time coming. And Blaine was a firm believer that the only justice you receive is the kind you create.

    He made his way over to the refreshments with an heavy, halting limp, courtesy of a long-dead gunman who had particularly good aim despite barely being old enough to even understand how a gun works. Blaine took a long, healthy pause upon his arrival at the refreshment table to ask himself if these were really the terms he wished to leave Tiffany’s life on; she had once been everything to him after all. A resounding yes was his conclusion yet again.

    “You only get the justice you make” He muttered.

    Blaine somberly dumped the contents of his bottle into the welcoming, glittering bowl that held the adult-only punch. He was happy to keep the kids out of this. How could it be justice if you don’t have the moral high ground?

    The dark liquid blended smoothly into the red punch with only a few quick rotations of the serving ladle. The strong alcohol content would easily mask the taste. He was almost proud of his actions. Almost.

    A cacophony of applause marked the end of the ceremony and Blaine took his cue to leave.

    Damn Roy for stealing her from him and damn Tiffany for the way she left. How was Blaine supposed to know private Jenkins had forgotten her birth control? Besides, it’s not as if she kept the baby anyway.

  10. Blaine inhaled deeply and looked around the congregation one more time to make sure all eyes were on the happy couple. He wanted to give Roy the first congratulatory drink. Though they’d ridden the rodeo circuit in high school, they hadn’t been the best of friends, but friends nonetheless. She’d said she didn’t want to break his heart in a ‘Dear John’ letter while he’d been in Iraq, and then she didn’t know how to tell him when he got home.

    Unscrewing the Ipecac bottle, he poured a generous amount into a large glass of lemonade. He poured a ‘clean’ Lemonade for Tiffany and strode to the couple to congratulate them.

    As the throng of well-wishers moved out of the way, Blaine, with a plastered smile on his face he didn’t feel, handed the glasses to the happy couple.

    “Congratulations. I hope you two have a wonderful life together.”

    “Oh, thank you, Blaine. I’m really sorry. I know that was really hard for you to say, but I think you really mean it,” Tiffany said.

    She leaned in to receive Blaine’s kiss and winked at him as she pulled away. What did she mean by that wink? That she had to marry Roy, but still wanted him?

    He held up his glass toward their direction. All three touched their glasses together. She turned, held her glass up to Roy’s lips as he held his up to her. Before Blaine could do anything about it, Tiffany took a huge gulp.

  11. Blaine slowly let the breath out, his grip loosening on the bottle of ipecac. What was he thinking? In Iraq, he had witnessed firsthand the acts of cowardice perpetrated by men. The faces of those slaughtered by Iraqi insurgents, which were always a blink of his eyes away, served as a grisly reminder of what men are capable of when they realize they are on the verge of losing something important to them. In the insurgent’s case, it was land and power. For him, it was Tiffany.

    He hung his head in shame as he realized what he had been about to do. He had voluntarily chosen to raise his right hand and repeat vows that said he would support and defend the constitution with his life, if it came down to that, much in the same way Tiffany was now doing as he listened to her repeat vows claiming that she would devote her life to another man until she died. It hurt to hear, but it was her life to live as she pleased.

    A few moments ago he had walked out the wedding hall a jilted lover, but as he stood there staring at the refreshments, he found peace with losing Tiffany. Mostly. After all, he was still a Marine.

    As he closed the door to his truck, a smile crept across his face when he heard the audible gasps and shouts as the wedding goers discovered the overturned table.

    “Hooyah!” he shouted as he drove away.

  12. “Tiffany, I am confused or is this some sort of twisted joke?”

    “Blaine it is in both our interests to end this thing between us. I have accepted Roy’s proposal. We get married a week from today, next Saturday”

    “I cannot do this anymore… not knowing for certain how much longer you will be away is emotionally draining…”

    A few hours earlier he had gone over how he was going to surprise her with the good news. He was notified earlier on that day that his assignment was officially over on Sunday.

    “I guess the surprise is on me. Tiffany, hold off on the wedding plans. I will be back in about three days”

    Blaine managed to find another flight that got him into town in the wee hours of Saturday and just enough time to make it to the wedding ceremony and reception venue. All seemed to working against him, beginning with the cancellation of his connecting flight after a two hour delay due to bad weather .

    A few minutes earlier, Blaine had helped himself to some of the punch at the beverage table. The sudden commotion in the back interrupted the ceremony. Desperate as it was, he was left with little or no choice. The timing had to be perfect.

    “Tiffany don’t do this to us”. Tiffany recognized the voice and rushed over. On the cold concrete floor, Blaine lay in a fetal position clutching onto the ipecac bottle.

    Right then on cue, the retching began.

  13. Blaine eyed the neatly displayed refreshments just outside the chapel and clenched his fists. Fruit punch and tea weren’t what he wanted, unless they were spiked with bourbon. His stomach twisted. This had to be done. It was his duty, just like serving in Iraq. He pushed open the doors just as the preacher asked if anyone had any objections.

    “I sure as heck object,” Blaine’s voice boomed across the chapel.

    Whispers grew as he marched up to the pulpit. Not surprising considering Roy McCoy stood next to his old fiancé. That snake oil salesman swept her off her feet while Blaine was off on tour. The man had the gall to smirk at him as he approached.

    Tiffany looked fantastic, the picture of health. There was no trace of the mysterious illness that only Roy could cure. Barely contained anger coursed through Blaine’s veins. He still loved her.

    “Blaine,” she whispered. “Don’t do this. Please.”

    Bombs and enemy gunfire were easier to face than the pleading in her eyes. Courage prevailed.

    “If you don’t want me, that’s fine, but I can’t let you marry this worm.” He pulled an evidence bag with a bottle of ipecac syrup from his pocket and held it up.

    “Officer Baker found this in Roy’s apartment along with a mess of other drugs. He’s the reason you were so sick, Tiffany. There’s a warrant for his arrest. His last wife disappeared. Officer Baker is waiting outside. The choice is yours.”

  14. Tiffany hurried down the hall to the ladies room. Realizing she was alone she quickly found an over stuffed chair in the joining power room and sank into it with her wedding dress puffed out like cotton candy. In overwhelming despair she held her face in her hands and cried. Oh what have I done now she thought? How could I have just married a man I don’t love? Why did Blaine have to leave? I can never make this up to him. In her distress, Tiffany slipped her hand into her silk pocket and pulled out the bottle of sleeping pills. With shaken fingers, she opened the bottle and poured the contents into her hand. Walking to the sink she turned the cold water on and tightly cupped her hand letting water fill her palm. Tiffany then swallowed the entire handfull of pills.
    Suddenly the door flew wide open, “TIFFANY! COME ON GIRL, WERE ALL WAITING!”, announced a bridesmaid. Tiffany replied loudly, “ I’LL BE RIGHT THERE!”
    ——————————-

    Did you sleep well darling?
    “Yes Mom“, replied Blaine.
    Good then! How about some breakfast?
    Sure Mom, that would be great!
    Blaine sleepily sipped his steaming coffee as he picked up the morning paper and read the headlines.

    “REGURGITATING SPIKED PUNCH SAVES BRIDE AFTER SUIDICE ATTEMPT”

    One egg or two sweetie?
    One will be fine Mom.
    Blaine smiles, sipping his coffee, as steam rises with a most flavorful toasted aroma.

  15. Blaine deliberated whether to go ahead and add the ipecac to the refreshments.
    His hand was poised over the punch bowl when a voice behind him said, “Don’t do it Sergeant.”
    Startled, he turned quickly.
    Corporal Lisa Flannagan held out her hand and rather shamed faced he passed her the bottle.
    She read the label and raised one eyebrow.
    “You’re better than this Serg. Remember what you drummed into us in Iraq?”
    He eyed the woman in front of him. He had only ever seen her in military garb till today.
    She was a tough, brave and loyal soldier. One of the best he’d served with.
    It struck him suddenly that he hadn’t actually viewed her as a desirable woman before.
    Yet as she stood before him now, she was the epitome of beauty. Soft dark curls fell to her shoulders and a simple summer dress hugged her curves in all the right places….
    “Serg?”
    “What? Oh yeah, erm, always protect the innocent.” He felt hot and flustered.
    “Exactly. I know how you feel, Clint has two girls on the go but ya know what? You gotta move on. Wanna join me for a drink?”
    Her smile was dazzling and contagious. Blaine took her proffered hand, “Sure do Corporal .”
    She poured a drop of Ipecac into a soy milk carton before leaving.
    “Only Roy has soy in his coffee, he’s lactose intolerant, and he ain’t innocent,” she winked.
    They left in fits of giggles, they were moving on.

  16. Blaine massaged the veil in his hand. Looking desperately over the five containers, he had no idea which one contained the poison. His heart pounded deep within his chest. How was he going to get the veil to Tiffany without drawing attention to himself?

    All he kept thinking was, “How could his best friend have done this to him?” Just a day earlier he had received the video titled ‘Your wedding present.’ As he watched, his friend took a mysterious looking bottle and poured it into one of five drinking containers. But which one??? His friend thought he was doing him a favor, but he wasn’t because Blaine still cared for her.

    He stood there, thinking of Tiffany.

    There first kiss..

    and that time on his parents couch.

    How could save her now? He didn’t care about Roy, he was a total jerk and deserved every bit of this, but not her. What was he going to do?

    Then out of nowhere came a familiar voice, “Hey Blaine, what are you doing here?”

    Oh no, how could he be so stupid and only bring one bottle? In his panic, he had forgotten one simple thing…how close they were.

    His sister’s awkward smile turned into a look of fear as Blaine fixated on the cup in her hand.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: