Flash fiction and the rise of Dog Power!

I’m probably as competitive as the next person but I learned the hard way as a kid that competition is only fun when you win, or in my case, manage not to humiliate yourself too badly. If there was a foot race I’d be the kid limping in last. Swimming? More like drowning. Tennis? Oh is that young Andrea flat on her face because she’s tripped over her own racket? Basketball? Duck!

I was ok at badminton and table tennis because the balls were a manageable size but you don’t get too many people cheering at either one of those sports so… I learned to avoid competitions of all sorts like the plague, which is why entering a flash fiction competition on Indies Unlimited is such an amazing turnaround for me. I have no expectation of winning but I discovered that coming up with an ultra short story on an interesting theme can be masses of fun!

The theme that sparked my interest so much can be found here, as can all the other entries, all of them good. Mine is down in the pack somewhere so I thought I’d cut and paste it here as it’s so short [250 words]. But please do check out the theme first otherwise this story may not make much sense.


Death March

The dogs came back for Beth. Snow was the first. She crept up to Beth and licked her face before flopping on the ground, sides heaving as she panted open mouthed. Coal and Emba joined them once they realised the trek was not a game. Together the three dogs and Beth lay still for another hour until the blistering sun finally relented and left them alone for the night.
As desert cold replaced desert heat the dogs licked dew from their coats before getting to work on Beth. They nudged her face with their cold noses, whined in her ear, tugged at her clothing, pushed and pulled until she finally opened her eyes. Then they shepherded her back to the plane.
The trek back was a nightmare of thirst and stumbling feet for Beth but the dogs would not let her be, let her give up and just before the sun rose they all reached the downed hulk. It glittered with condensation in the grey light.
The helicopter spotted the wreck a day later. When the rotors stopped two black dogs staggered out of the shade of the one, remaining wing, their tails wagging. The woman and the small white dog did not greet them but they were still alive. The men were found over the next five days. All alone. All very dead.


I think I’m the only entrant so far who has killed off most of the human protagonists in four short paragraphs but I consider that poetic justice for the many scary movies where the dog [or sometimes the cat] always gets bumped off in some horrible way to convince the audience that ‘the killer’ means business. Besides, there was no way I was going to let that cute little dog die so if it was to live then the others had to live as well. Dog Power!

About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

22 responses to “Flash fiction and the rise of Dog Power!

  • metan

    Very good! So glad the humans were the only ones you killed off 🙂


  • lorddavidprosser

    I’m just glad I wasn’t part of that plane wreck as my chances of survival as a male would be zilch.
    It’s a gripping story Andrea that could at some stage be fleshed out if needed, but as flash fiction deserves recognition.


    • acflory

      Thanks David. Being an aussie we have it drummed into us that we should never leave the ‘vehicle’ whatever it may be so I figured the dogs would have to be the smart ones. 😀

      And being clever pooches I’m sure they would have herded you to safety as well!


  • Jim Sellers

    I couldn’t help but notice you killed of the men in the story. t’s a good tale Andrea, held my attention to the end. It was probably the dogs.


  • Courtenay Bluebird

    I love that you flipped the cliché on it’s head. I found myself really caught up in the thrust of the story in the first two sentences. You really do have a native flair for short fiction, even what used to be called short-short fiction (now flash fiction), which (I think) requires a lot of discipline. Lovely, Meeka! Dog Power!


  • jenniferscoullar

    Great work! You’d have lost me completely if you’d killed off the dogs. By the way, you wouldn’t have been limping in last in a race with me. You would have been second last. I absolutely HATED sport at school! I remember my teacher saying I was a medical miracle – I had my period, and thus terrible, excuse-worthy cramps, at least four times a month …


    • acflory

      LMAO! Oh I wish I’d thought of that! I had to rely on incompetence to get me through :p

      Now that I’m an adult I can see the value of organized sport.. for kids… sometimes… but by god I hated the boredom of the sports on offer. 😦


  • geooorge

    Like it a lot! I do hope you’ll make it into a full fleshed series even if it’s not in the competition’s scope.
    Now that i think about it, i like how you write. Perhaps you could write short stories like that and recommend a music only sound score to accompany the story. (I’m saying so because by pure chance, i was listening to some music that could very well be for a desert scene when i read the short)


    • acflory

      -grin- Thanks George! I’m still just learning /how/ to write short stories but, strange coincidence, I was listening to the tracks from Invincible [Two Steps from Hell] which is this big stirring instrumental, soundtrack type music. They’ve written music for games too I believe.

      Wouldn’t it be cool if one day you could make ebooks that came with their own soundtrack? I really like that idea!


  • Candy

    Very cool! It feels like a whole story, but it could also be a flashback opening for a longer story.


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