TWA Tournament – Flash Fiction Contest!

Tournament title card 5-01The final round of 2015 Writer’s Arena Championship is looming on the horizon. David Webb and Donald Uigtvlugt even now sharpening their quills and oiling their typewriters. Two stories will do battle. One story will emerge victorious.

But why should those two guys have all the fun?

So in the spirit of democracy we’re throwing open the gates of the Arena to the masses. Because we want you, yes you, to take a crack at the final Writer’s Arena Tournament prompt of the year. With that in mind we will be releasing that prompt a week early, and allowing you to take it where you want.

The winner chosen by us will receive a small trophy as well as a care package of TWA stickers and bookmarks.

Here are the rules. Read the prompt below and write a flash fiction story. Keep it 1000 words or less, not counting title. Post the story on your own blog, and put a link to it in the comments section below

If you do not have a blog add the story as a comment to this post. If you post here, keep it R-Rated or less.

Here is the prompt as received by our glorious gladiators:

We debated a lot about what to give you for a final prompt. We wanted it to be challenging, but also rich in inspiration. We wanted it to be something you could sink your teeth into, but also light and airy if you wanted to be fanciful. We didn’t want you to spread yourselves too thin, but we also wanted that delicious creamery flavor.


Your prompt…is butter.


Now keep in mind, your prompt is butter for the FINAL round of the arena tournament. This is no throw-away idea or a silly whim. We honestly toyed with a number of ideas before deciding on this one. It’s challenging, it’s difficult, and it could go in tons of directions. Dr. Seuss wrote about it, butter churners are synonymous with pioneers and certain eras of life, and people get into raging arguments about whether dropped toast will always land butter side down. The weird simplicity of this prompt belies the underlying challenge: we fully expect you to bring all of your facilities to bear in order to give us a truly great short story that leaves us thinking about butter for days after reading it.


That’s right. Butter.

You have from today, 11/23/2015 until 11:59 PM on 11/30/2015. One week to blow us away with a tale of, yes really, butter.

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  1. My story is included in the link. The title of the story is ‘The Death of Eddie Price’. Comes in at about 950 words.

    Bring on the butter!

  2. Butter
    by D.M Slate

    Jake’s stomach jittered – heavy with nerves and the remnants of his late lunch – as he reached out and pressed a shaky finger to the doorbell. He’d been observing Lilly from afar for months and he recently built up enough balls to ask the gorgeous young brunette out on a date. Much to his surprise, she said “Yes”.
    Her hair blew slightly in the breeze as she swung the door inward, looking out at him with a smile. Breath catching in his throat Jake stammered, rendered speechless by her beauty. After a quick, awkward conversation they walked to his car and then headed out on their date.
    Within minutes Jake could tell that Lilly’s intellect was far below what he’d hoped to discover in the woman. She’d picked a movie theater not far from her house and he was thankful for an excuse to end his conversation with the air-brained beauty.
    After purchasing their tickets they walked to the snack bar, where the petite lady ordered an extra-large popcorn and soda. Jake watched helplessly as she doused the container with squirt upon squirt of slimy popcorn butter. His stomach jittered again, this time in disgust.
    The theater was as much of a turn-off as his date was. The floor was littered with layers of trash, and the faint aroma of vomit lingered in the air. Crinkling his nose, repulsed, Jake tried to block his nostrils from the offensive smell. He plopped down into the chair next to Lilly, with thoughts of lice and bed-bugs passing through his mind.
    The lights dimmed and Jake let out a sigh of relief. Things couldn’t get much worse, he hoped.
    But then she started eating. Chomping. Chewing. Shoving entire handfuls of popcorn into her mouth at a single time.
    Jake tried hard to mask his distaste, but he couldn’t tear his eyes away from the horrendous sight. Broken kernels of popcorn were strewn across her breast, and dribbles of shiny popcorn butter marked the bottom of her chin. Repulsed, Jake found it hard to concentrate on the movie. Her incessant chewing was like torture.
    And then she made a slight choking sound. Not loud enough to be heard by other movie-goers, but loud enough for Jake to notice. Looking to his side he watched as her eyes grew wide, lungs straining to breathe. Her greasy, buttery hands rose to her neck where she grasped helplessly at her throat. Jake sat calmly in his chair, watching.
    Within a few seconds she stopped moving, passed out from lack of air. Bewildered, Jake rested her head against the side of the seat. Instinct told him to run, but the dark part of his soul overruled and he stayed to watch the movie until the end.
    As the lights came up he turned and watched the other movie-goers exiting the theater. Once the room was empty he pushed Lilly’s lifeless body onto the trash-laden floor, and then used his foot to kick her corpse underneath of the chairs. Rushing out of the theater he hopped into his car and skid his tires out of the parking lot.
    For two days he watched the news, combed the internet, and listened for any reports of a body being found at the theater… and two entire days later, still nothing about Lilly’s death.
    Curiosity getting the best of him, Jake returned to the theater the next day. He purchased a popcorn and soda – only adding one squirt of butter to the container – before entering the theater. The stench hit his nose as soon as he walked into the room and he wondered how no one had complained.
    Picking his way carefully to his previous seat Jake was apprehensive to look down. When he did, the black point of her high-heel shoes could still be seen peeking out from underneath the chairs.
    His stomach jittered.
    Nerves taking over Lake’s feet sprang into action, carrying him back outside of the theater into the lobby. The pimply-faced boy working the ticket counter called out, “Is everything okay, sir?”
    Jake looked back his way with a half-hearted smile and replied, “Yeah, I just needed some more butter.”

  3. Butta

    “I know your sitting there stoned out of your fucking mind.Why don’t you open the freezer door and kill your curiosity. It’s me Ma, your boy: Butta.”
    Silvia dropped her hash blunt onto the kitchen table. She jerked in the wooden chair inciting a shriek from the rotting peg legs.
    The languid voice pierced her sublime high and subsequently plummeted it down like a blimp that had been struck by a giant catapulted spear.
    Though she considered the voice a mere figment of her imagination, it seemed to bind to her in an unsettling, ethereal sort of way. Since it started speaking to her three weeks ago, she was always left feeling like some helpless, fretting insect adhered to the maddeningly delicate strands of a spider web.
    She craned her neck back to look at the worn off-white fridge behind her in the corner of her homely kitchen.
    Her wide, unblinking, mud-brown eyes focused toward the top of it where the freezer was, where the voice was. Her heart began to throb manically.
    “Come on Ma, don’t ya wanna see me?”
    Weeks ago, before the voice started she had an unmistakable rationale that would have compelled her to yank open the freezer door and see that there was nothing in there except for a few empty ice cube trays, a clumsy pile of freezer-burn ridden Hungryman Dinners, and of course the now frozen, blood stained stick of butter wrapped in tin foil her son had been eating when his enemies sprayed her house with bullets and ended his life. That rationale was gone. She wouldn’t admit it, but the voice had steadily sought to that.
    Ain’t nothin in there, she tried to tell herself. Still, a part of her wanted to open the freezer. Not to see if she would see her son’s ghost in there wavering like a mirage, but to see that bloody stick of butter: Butta’s last butter. The last thing he grasped before leaving earth forever. He hadn’t gone out extravagantly like Scar Face, but the local drug-lord everyone called Butta for obvious reasons did go out with what he loved, his butter.
    Since putting it in there ten months ago on the night he was shot Silvia hadn’t even touched it, she barely even thought about it. She didn’t even know why she kept it.
    Back on that dreaded day, of the murder, Silvia knew removing the nibbled on stick of butter was tampering with the crime scene. But, Silvia didn’t consider this when she ran to the dead, leaking body of her son. She had slipped in the seemingly ever-growing pool of blood that juxtaposed his body and when she fell into the puddle of blood she inadvertently kicked the stick of butter he had been eating. It spun across the beige linoleum like a glass bottle eagerly span by horny teenagers who have gathered with the intentions of locking lips. With each revolution it spattered haphazard circles of blood. For a moment, Silvia couldn’t tell where it had gone because to her dismay it blended in with the beige linoleum. She only saw it because of the blood it soaked up gave it a disconcerting maroon color that was progressively invading the entire stick and morphing it into a bloated, lump.
    Just as Silvia was about to get up and make her way down the hall to her bedroom she heard a heavy thrumping.
    Petrified, she didn’t want to look back at freezer so she looked at it through the vague glassy reflection on the window that the open blinds allotted.
    She heard more thrumps.
    The worn white surface of the freezer pulsed with each thrump.
    Thrump, thrump.
    Now the whole door looked as if it were being kicked from the inside by a persistent foot.
    Sudden warmth flowed and saturated the inside of her thighs.
    Fuckin wet myself she thought. This unmistakable feel of urine seemed to break her paralysis. She stood up, still not looking back.
    There was a hefty plopping sound like a thick chicken breast being dropped onto a cutting board.
    Through the trusted reflection on the window, Silvia saw that the freezer door was now open. She could faintly feel its cold breathe upon the back of her neck.
    The reflection she gawked at cast all of the freezer door, but below it there was something gorged and bulbous that was cut off by the descending blinds. The bit of it she could see was the ugliest shade of purple and red she had ever seen, the shade of a internal organ that has been removed and left exposed to the air to rot and putrefy.
    See Ma, told you it was me.
    That deep methodic voice halted whatever plan of action she had. It was as if each word were a heavy weighted cuff that bore her still.
    Why didn’t you open the door for me Ma, I thought you missed me.
    Silvia felt more of that surprising flow of warmth trickle down her legs. This time peeing on herself didn’t compel her to move more than a few inches as all that the accident inspired was a slight crane of the neck and a cursory glance backward at it. What she saw was so repulsive that she squeezed her eyes shut, almost instantaneously.
    While her eyes were closed she heard a sound like the bristles of a broom jostling a floor.
    She opened her eyes and could now see more of the thing that claimed to be her son in the window reflection, right behind her. The two, equidistant, poker-chip sized impressions in the middle of the misshapen thing stared up at Silvia. Her fear peaked when she realized the slight downward slant to these impressions were reminiscent of her son’s droopy eyes.
    It rocked forward. She felt its gorged shape leaning against the side of her leg. The horribly cold and sickeningly slick texture of it made tears cascade from her eyes. Her chapped bottom lip trembled uncontrollably.
    Then, she felt gross heat that coil her left leg. There was a heavy suckling sound. Silvia looked done and saw numerous droplets of the urine on her legs being coerced towards the things bloated pale gray tongue. It were as if the tongue was a water vacuum from hell.
    “EMMMMM, tastes good, but it ain’t butter. I hope you been eating lots of butter Ma.”

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