Flash Fiction Challenge: Portal

New Hampshire Stream writing prompt photo copyright K. S. Brooks
New Hampshire Stream photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

Whatever the things were that had been coming to McAllister’s farm and eating his chickens had been coming down this creek bed.

The little creek, if that’s what you could call it, had not been here a year ago. It formed after the quake. McAllister thought it had been the result of the quake. Now he suspected the quake had been a mere side effect of whatever had happened.

Those things – whatever they were – were not of this world; not of this time, anyway. It was as if some sort of portal had opened up. Now something was getting through from the other side.

From the shadows ahead, he could hear them, scurrying and trilling. Gooseflesh formed on his arms. McAllister took the safety off and stepped forward…

Welcome to the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. In 250 words or less, write a story incorporating the elements in the picture and 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 Tuesday night, judges will select the strongest entries, and on Wednesday afternoon, we will open voting to the public with an online poll so they may choose the winner. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.

On Saturday morning, 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.

9 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: Portal”

  1. The` thing` seemed to be sliding between the stones like a huge caterpillar. Bile rose in Mcallister`s throat as he took in the creatures face, the singular eye, oval in shape and the colours of a spring rainbow, its nose, bulbous with two steaming vents blowing a sickly-smelling vapour into the chill air. He watched, his feet glued to the bank as the creature raised its head, the nose oscillating wildly as it sniffed the rich vegetation. Then it stopped, its head turning, its eye looking down the sights of Mcallister`s rifle. Mcallister felt his finger tightening round the trigger. The creature blinked, thick, bristle-like lashes opening and shutting over the multi-coloured lens. Then it roared, a primeval cry that echoed across the valley bottom. Mcallister tensed, salty moisture clouding his screwed-up eyes. He waited. The beast seemed frozen like the still frame of a photograph. Mcallister felt his arms begin to ache. Still the creature remained immobile. Mcallister`s rifle began to waver. Then the creature moved, its bloated body expanding until it filled the whole of the riverbed. Mcallister fired, the report sending flocks of birds migrating into the morning sky. The creature exploded, gallons of multi-coloured liquid splaying over Mcallister`s rigid body. Then he felt it, his sodden frame losing its shape, his legs drawing into his body, arms melting before his eyes. Then it was over, his metamorphosed shape sinking back into the tinkling water, his multi-coloured eye taking one last look at the ever darkening sky.

  2. Portal (250)

    Jacob McAllister stood staring at the creek. Last fall it wasn’t here. There’s never been a creek here. And now, livestock’s gone missing.

    He’d called the County Co-Op to report his missing chickens and show them this creek-where-no-creek-should-be mystery. He even showed them the tiny tracks along the creek. They said it was nothing, probably coyotes and earthquake activity. Idiots!

    Something has to be done. He’s in charge.

    Still, he hesitated. The air above the creek blurred like a swarm of insects that you can almost see. Then, boldly, Jacob stepped into the water.

    Immediately, Jacob became disoriented and his head filled with extreme vertigo. The world flipped. He slammed to the ground. The creek swelled to a raging river and the bushes grew to a towering forest.

    Clinging to the ground, Jacob suddenly found himself confronted by a mounted, armed force. He recoiled in fear. Not from the fierceness of the eight foot tall warriors. No, it was their mounts. They were mounted on fifteen foot tall Rhode Island Reds. His prize winning rooster prancing under their leader, magnificent plumage dazzling in the sun.

    Jacob screamed and ran back along the river leaving tiny tracks. At the base of a giant tree, at the faintest glimmer of an insect swarm, he dove into the river.

    Jacob never mentions his call to the Co-Op. But, every spring he leaves a basket of chicks and fertilized eggs under a bush down by the creek.

  3. ***FINALIST***

    That’s when I heard a scream shatter the peaceful quiet of our farmhouse. Knowing my husband is a very sound sleeper, I went alone to investigate. As I approached the side of the house, I could hear a loud humming that reminded me of the sound my Uncle Chuck makes while eating his favorite pecan pie. Rounding the corner, I stood face-to-face with a small, furry alien creature standing in McAllister’s creek holding a dead chicken.
    Its eye was staring at me and three appendages that looked like long, crooked fingers had the stomach of the chicken shoved in its over-sized mouth.
    I ran to the barn and quickly locked the door. No sooner had I caught my breath then I heard that scream again, followed by banging. As I looked around the barn for a place to hide a gunshot rang out, then three more. Just as my legs felt like giving out another banging only this time, my husband’s voice followed.
    Opening the door I fell into his arms, tears streaming down my face. He held me close as we walked back to the house. Reaching the landing of the porch, I looked over at him. Something seemed out of place. As we entered the house, I noticed a small feather hanging from the corner of his mouth. As he reached up to lock the door, I saw those three appendages again and the scream filling the night this time was mine.

  4. ***FINALIST***

    A group of ten or so danced around one of his chickens, Ol’ Red. That chicken had been on his farm now five years. Red had been a powerhouse too. She could lay eggs like nobodies business. Well, she used to, now she was getting past her prime and McAllister planned to slaughter her for dinner soon.

    He focused on the creatures after his attention fell away from Ol’ Red. Small, green, large pointy ears, probably as big as their heads, they knew he was there, heard him walk up on ‘em.

    Their teeth, pointed, sharp, deadly, glared at him as they reflected the sun’s light through the trees. McAllister wanted to leave, run, but their teeth, something about their teeth froze him in place.

    As they approached him, they clumped together, ready to swarm. McAllister lifted his weapon, twin shotgun barrels pointed at the group’s center mass. They leaped toward him, a mass of teeth and sickly green flesh.

    McAllister didn’t panic. He squeezed the trigger and released hell fire and lead into the center of the creature swarm. His hands shook as he pulled shells from his jacket pocket. The creatures rallied for another charge as shells hit the ground. New rounds released into the center mass again and the rest dropped away.

    As the last of them fell to the ground, the portal closed up. The creatures faded away as McAllister cut the ropes that held Ol’ Red.

  5. ***FINALIST***

    Pointing the shotgun ahead, he shouted, “All right. I know you’re in there. Come out.”

    The scurrying stopped. A shadow emerged. The beast was three feet high, had large hairy feet, big ears, and a long nose. Green in color, it couldn’t be anything from this world.

    “Stop right there. That’s close enough.” He aimed right at the beast’s head. “Hands up.”

    Its short arms raised revealing the strange outfit of cardboard affixed around it. “What are you?”

    “Snort. SNORT!” It blew through its nose. Large spats of snot flew at him plastering him to the ground. Stuck, he looked around at the creatures surrounding him. His gun had landed to the side. They were picking it up.

    The creature sniffing the gun took a bite, chewing the metal easily.

    “Hey, that’s my gun.”

    “Snooort.” The creature pointed at him. Dancing and kicking up dust, the others scurried around him,

    “Hey, I can’t breathe.” He sneezed. The creatures stopped and looked at him. He sneezed again. They began to bow. He sneezed one more time, and they came forward to touch his nose. Wiping it, they took his snot, screaming, “Snort”.

    When they were done, they looked at him. He stared back. “You want me to sneeze again?”

    Alex McAllister was the symbol of a new religion without even realizing it. Before he could protest, a beam encircled him, drawing him upward.

    “Damn allergies,” was the last thing he said. There was nothing but darkness in the mother ship.

  6. ***FINALIST***

    “Damn fracking,” mumbled McAllister. He stared at the red water in the little creek. “First they cause an earthquake, then they pollute the groundwater. Now something’s using my farm as a fast food highway.”

    After the quake last year he’d been thrilled to have a new creek bubble up across his farm. Not anymore. The weird noises grew louder every night. Livestock vanished with increasing frequency.

    Sweat dripped down McAllister’s back, but not from the sun. Last night he saw something slither up this creek bed, leaving a trail of feathers. A dozen of his best layers, gone. The unearthly prints around the hen house were the only clue something wasn’t right.

    The bushes rustled. High pitched chirping echoed around him. He tightened his grip on the shotgun and kept moving. Maybe it wasn’t the fracking after all. Maybe it was something else.

    Wind and darkness swirled around him. The tempest vanished as quickly as it arrived, leaving McAllister in a barren landscape with a red stream. Leathery wings filled the sky. Their screeching and chirps made his hair stand on end, but the golden eyes that studied him nearly made his heart stop.

    “Mmm, a human,” said the dragon. “I wonder if it tastes like chicken.”

    “Looks old and tough. Throw it back in the portal and try a different opening.”

    The dragon flicked a claw at McAllister knocking him back into the whirlwind. A moment later he landed on his farm next to the dried creek bed.

  7. The charred remains of chickens lay about the side of the creek. It made little sense. What would do this? Then the sound started again; shapes scurried in the shadows.

    McAllister pushed the branch aside and stopped. Four bright red birds watched him. Above them a hole shimmered in the air. He spoke as he would to his animals. “I won’t hurt you.” He edged towards it and touched.

    Screaming he fell back, almost fainting from the pain. The tips of two fingers were gone. Another bird tumbled through the hole and exploded in the water. But for the throbbing pain, this could’ve been a dream.

    He looked through the hole. A bright forest shone in the darkness. And from the darkness a black and purple creature approached. Its long tail stretched behind.

    Faint strands appeared and vibrated. A lattice formed and the hole began to close.

    But clawed fingers reached through and slashed his cheek. He stepped back, bleeding badly. The creature slid through the hole; the birds shrieked, and an image of splashing water came to his mind. Were the birds communicating?

    McAllister scooped water from the stream which mixed with his blood. He threw it at the creature. It screeched and disappeared. The lattice of fibres reappeared. “It wants to heal.” Then the hole was gone.

    A bird breathed fire into his face; they closed in on him. He felt panic as he fell. As darkness came he saw only their eyes, then nothing.

  8. ***FINALIST***

    Beyond the sights of his shotgun McAllister saw what looked like…“Dragons?” he asked himself. Before thinking another thought, a sword pushed down his gun.

    “I know not whence you came from stranger, but I’d prefer you not aim your cannon at my dragons,” said a stern female voice.

    “But your dragons are eating my chickens,” he replied nervously.

    “Are chickens not food?” the voice questioned as she stepped out in front of him.

    “Yes, but not for your….I can’t believe I’m talking about dragons. Forget that, where’d you even come from?” he asked noticing she wasn’t wearing the local garb.

    “This is my kingdom. However, I’ve had some trouble locating my castle.”

    “Not to be rude lady, but this is my land. My family has owned it….”

    She pointed her sword to his face. “Are you challenging me thief?”

    “Now hold up,” he replied pushing the sword from his face. “I’m not challenging you for anything. There seems to be some sort of mix up here. I mean, if anyone’s the thief…”

    Her sword came back to his face. “Your accusations are getting tiresome stranger. Speak out of turn once again and I’ll have your head.”

    Pushing the sword away again McAllister stated, “Look, I’m not sure what’s going on, but things have been weird lately. First there was the earthquake, then the creek, and now you with your pets.”

    “Quake? I recall that before the sorcerer tried to…you stole me from my kingdom! Return me at once!”

    “I can’t.”

  9. What he saw emerging from the shadows was an abomination so terrifying that it caused him to stagger backward, the rifle limp in his arms, horror oozing through his veins.

    On the edge of the clearing, standing barefoot in the trickling creek, was his 7-year-old daughter, her shrill keening cut short by the sight of her father and the rifle.

    A branch snapped. Footsteps sloshed. Something large approached. Behind the child a looming presence appeared. It was his wife. A moment’s silence, the duo scrutinizing McAllister, then his wife threw back her head and brayed. “You can’t shoot us again, John. Once was enough.”

    John McAllister shrieked and collapsed. Her words opened the floodgates. Memories poured from dark, hidden places, tasting and smelling of sulphur, drowning him.

    His wife lumbered closer. “You opened another world that night, John,” she barked. “You opened it inside yourself when you pulled the trigger and dug our graves. Now you grovel in our tears.”

    He cringed and trembled. The child’s vulturous eyes looked down at him. Her icy blue fingers clawed the rifle.

    “You’re not real,” he screamed. “ You’re in my head.” Silence. “ The chickens… that carnage. How? Why?”

    “John, the chickens did it to themselves to get away from you. We are all desperate to escape. Your world is bad John, very bad.”

    Then he saw the truth and he cried out in fear, waves of searing hot guilt flooding his mind as the bullet ripped through his brain.

Comments are closed.