One Quirk Later Flashfiction–radio broadcasts and angst

Hello friends!

–So the final book of a series I’m reading (The Riverman Trilogy by Aaron Starmer) just came in the mail and I am FREAKING OUT. I told myself I will finish this post before I start reading it, so be proud of me. I’m so responsible. (But also I’m honestly SO SCARED to start reading it because WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN, I AM SO CONCERNED ABOUT MY CHILDREN)

But back to business. Today I am once again linking up with the incredible Jem Jones for her One Quirk Later Flashfiction series!

I’ve been having so much fun with this series–both responding to the prompts, and reading other people’s work. Be sure to check out what Jem wrote, as well as links to other bloggers’ stories here!

Here’s the prompt:

A few things you don’t need to know before you read what I wrote:

  • …Remember when I said my default was angst with some banter thrown in? And then my response to the last prompt was mostly banter? Well, this one is ALL ANGST. Oops.
  • Also, brothers and vaguely sci-fi/dystopian war going on. Again. I told you it was a default setting.
  • Why does it feel like I’m cramming like five chapters of information and action into less than 400 words? Is it artistic? Is it sloppy and rushed? Who knows??
  • So nobody actually says, “I’ll follow you into the dark” with words, but….it’s definitely there if you’re looking for it.

* * *

Elias Murdock had been missing for two days when they finally found out where he had gone. There had been rumors, whispers, but now it was for certain. When the radio was highjacked by another propaganda broadcast, everyone recognized his voice. He said he had been on the wrong side for too long. He said he was prepared to do whatever it took to bring down any and all who opposed the leadership of the city.

            Otto Murdock was silent as he listened to his brother’s voice. When the broadcast ended, someone put a gentle hand on his shoulder. “Maybe he’s been taken captive,” they ventured. “Maybe he’s being forced to say these things.”

            Otto’s face was set, his voice flat. “He isn’t.”

            Otto didn’t want anyone’s sympathy. That was clear enough. They left him alone, until he came hammering on the director’s door, demanding to know why he hadn’t been given an assignment all week. They sent him out the next morning with a scouting team to the city.

            The team was led by Abelard Best. They moved silently through the city, dodging from shadow to shadow, taking cover in crumbling shells of buildings, always keeping an eye out for snipers. They were crouched in a ruined alleyway, Abelard making marks on his map, when they suddenly realized that Otto wasn’t with them. A second later, his voice rang out from the street.

            “Over here! Come out, you cowards! Come and get us. There’s a whole team in that alley.”

            Abelard bolted toward the sound. Otto had climbed on top of a car rusting to the curb and was standing there, shouting at the buildings, the street, wherever people might be hidden.

            Abelard caught a fistful of Otto’s jacket, yanking him down just as a bullet sang through the air over their heads. Otto thrashed against him, struggling to get free, but Abelard locked an arm around his chest and held him down.

            “Let me go!” Otto screamed. Then, to the buildings, the street, the person who had shot that bullet, “Come and get us! Take me with you, take me with you!”

            Abelard slapped a hand over his mouth. Otto bit his fingers and managed to call out again. “Take me with you!” He was crying now. “Please take me with you.”

* * *

There you have it. A plate of vague dystopian war angst. You’re welcome.

Many thanks to the wonderful Jem Jones for the prompt! Be sure to check out what she wrote for the prompt (because it’s dark and magical and why would you deny yourself the pleasure of reading it??), as well as the rest of her fantastic blog!

Does this prompt spark any creative ideas in your brain? Do you ever accidentally go full angst when you meant to have some banter and levity? Or do you have trouble keeping things serious? Have you ever highjacked someone’s radio waves to broadcast propaganda? Do tell!


15 responses to “One Quirk Later Flashfiction–radio broadcasts and angst”

  1. SUCH ANGST. I LOVE IT SO MUCH, MAGNETO. I really don’t know what else to say because aHHHH THE EMOTION. (Characters needing to be physically held back because they’re so emotionally wrecked? *chef kiss*)

    (And I have never hijacked someone’s radio waves to broadcast propaganda, but it is on my to-do list.)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Clever. VERY CLEVER. How you incorporated the middle prompt, I mean. I am not sure how so much happened in such a short story, but…that was a ride. POOR OTTO. Poor Abelard too. Elias better not come where I can catch him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, thanks so much! I’m very happy to hear that you’re feeling inspired to write 🙂 I hope to keep writing and posting flashfiction as long as the wonderful Jem Jones keeps supplying the prompts–it’s a lot of fun!


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