About this blog

Incoming BYTES
contains highly variable subject matter including commentary on the mundane, the extraordinary and even controversial issues. At Incoming BYTES
we want YOU to think...if you dare...


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Flash Fiction: Emeralds


by Raymond Alexander Kukkee

Rough emeralds

 *Emeralds, the flash fiction series-- was inspired by  Red's M3 Fiction Challenge.

*Emeralds*  is a small collection of flash fiction stories that individually use pre-specified words and are each limited to specific maximum word counts. 
The individual flash sections are  titled with the required word and word count,  and are  linked together by a common thread.


"Pepper that Johnnie Reb with buckshot next time he comes around"   the woman suggested, smoothing her apron and rattling a muffin-tin into the gas oven.  " He's gone too far this time, don't you think ?"
"Why no, momma, we can't be shooting that old man just 'cause he's hanging around, wishin' to speak to 'ya".  The pimply teenager said.  "I don't think he means harm, momma". 
"He does too, he's your daddy"  she said.


Joe  heard the door squeak behind him and it made him jump ." That door always squeaks in the wind" he thought to himself and turned to close it. The big bearded man whacked him between the eyes with a stick before he could blink .  He saw stars and fell  backwards into a chair.
"Don't be tellin' me I can't see the woman" he heard.  " I'm  'yer  rebel-assed daddy, boy! "

Ripple  75

"I hope I didn't ripple that noggin permanent with this stick"  the man said, dumping cold water on Joe's face.   "Blood, not enough to get worryin' about" he added. 
Joe sat up and studied the man. He was 6' 5 and close to 350 lbs by his reckoning. 
"Your momma, she don't want me around"  he said. "I get into her moonshine."
"Get your hands up, Rufus Johns!" Momma said. The shotgun clicked. Rufus surrendered.

Drug   75

"Still on that  laudanum drug, Rufus?" Momma asked the big man with a smile on her face.
"I got you dead rights,  Rufus, I could ventilate that thick skull of yours with this here 12 gauge, and the judge would laugh about it."  she said, motioning him to sit.
"Ain't no judge going to sanction murder"  Rufus stated boldly.
 "My daddy, he'll sanctify whatever I say, the old goat" she winked.
"You're toast,  Rufus Johns!"

Wake 125

Rufus Johns stared into the barrel of the 12-guage shotgun with his one good eye. "I'm not afraid of dying, Sally, you get on pullin' the trigger if 'ya like", he said to the smiling woman.  He plugged his stubby fingers into both barrels.
The woman pulled the shotgun back. " I don't want to be wasting my time going to your wake" she said.  "Besides, I'd have to buy you a new black suit" she added,  standing the shotgun in the corner by the door.  "Y'aint gonna beat on the boy again, are 'ya?"
"Not me, woman,  I came to get your boy, there's work at the mine."
" He ain't my boy."  She winked at Rufus.

Corner   125

The gangly boy picked up the shotgun from the corner  and sat with it across his knee. "Damn, Momma," he said, "you always said tell  the truth , am I your boy or not? I could just pepper  Rufus Johns  here, my head hurts, so  you tell me the truth now."
"Ain't that easy boy," she hesitated.... "see, I'm an old friend of Louella's."
"Boy,  you just get 'yer duff-bag packed, you're goin' with me regardless", Rufus Johns  bellowed loudly. "There's work to be done at the mine and you're comin' with me". 
"No I'm not, Rufus Johns, I'm gonna be a farmer, not a rock-pickin' miner, dirty-faced gold-diggin' fool"
"We'll see, boy, what your momma says about that"  Rufus Johns coughed.

Book   125

"What's 'yer everyday callin' name, boy?"  Rufus Johns asked the  kid sitting on the truck seat beside him, his duffle on his knee. 
"I got no idea, Rufus Johns, I don't even know who my momma was, or if you're my old man,  I don' t know anything 'cept what I read in the good book.  I go by Joe,  that's what momma- Aunt Sally called  me --Joe, I got no idea if it's right or not."  The boy hesitated.
"My official name is really  Georgie Joe  Johns?"   
"That's what Louella  says, boy"  Rufus Johns said, " it's writ in her good book and I ain't about to argue with her, she's got a .44  and she knows how to use it."

Fire   125

"Hold 'yer fire, Louella!" Rufus Johns yelled at the woman pointing the  Colt .44 .   "Ya don't want to be killin' anyone, it's me an' the  boy!"
 Joe stood  behind  the truck, watching.  The dusty hat was pulled over the woman's eyes and she stood sideways like a crack shot.
"She'll shoot again, Rufus Johns,  told you we shouldn't come here, she don't want me here at the mine, " the boy said. "Is she a lunatic?"
"That's a matter of opinion" Rufus Johns said, watching the woman.
"Is that you, Georgie-Joe Johns,  is that you, boy, behind the truck, you  with Rufus there?" the woman yelled. 
"I'm writ  in 'yer good book!"  the boy shouted back.
"Don't shoot, we're comin' in! "

Ring   100

She showed the boy her ring.  "See?  I  was married to  Rufus Johns twenty years ."    "He said it was glass, but it's emerald from this mine here- this ain't  a gold mine like everybody figures." 
The boy squinted at the  moss inside the stone. "Moss" she said. 
  "In the looney-house,  I was"  she said. "Locked up like that moss."
"You got took in, Georgie-Joe, 'my friend Sally took 'ya in,  while I got well."
She spun the shiny  Colt  .44  on her finger.  "I shoot better'n Annie Oakley." 

Fish   100

"Louella, she'll  teach you how to fish and tell lies , and I'll teach 'ya how to mine emeralds and  pretend 'yer workin' a gold mine"  Rufus Johns said.  "Meantime we better get moving', Louella ain't gonna be peaceful when we come back, no supper"  Rufus said, squinting into the setting sun. "We better get home.". 
"Well look , this tire is flatter'n a cowflap!" Rufus kicked the truck.  "Git the jack, and hand me that wrench". The boy fired instead.
The prairie hen flapped and dropped at his feet.
"Do tell" Rufus said, smiling. "You shoot good!"

Mark    100

"See the mark  on the tree, boy?" Rufus  asked Joe. He pointed to a tree high on a hill. "It's the size of a man's head,  it's a knot, and if you hit it, boy, the emerald mine is yours".  He yanked the Winchester out of the gun boot. "Not easy like a shotgun, shoots left a bit" he said.   He tossed Joe the rifle.
Joe aimed and fired.
They walked up the hill. Rufus wheezed and dug the bullet out of the center of the knot.  He coughed blood.
"I'm dyin' boy.  I got consumption. The mine's yours".

Flash  100

"Rufus Johns coughed blood and died, "  Joe said, "we gotta bury him."
"Gave you the mine?" Louella  pointed the .44 at him.
"Damn him,  you ain't goin' nowhere."
"I ain't 'yer momma, idiot boy!" she raised the .44 to fire.
"I'm writ in 'yer good book, you said!"  Joe shouted.  He saw a flash of steel.
A shot rang out.
"See?  I told you we couldn't trust Louella, boy."  Rufus Johns said.
"Had to test her, boy. You'll get home to your real momma. Come back when you're full sized".
Joe buried Rufus Johns the next day too.

Type       100

Joe smoothed the dirt over the graves and piled rocks.  He broke a wide board in half and carved "Loonie Louella" shot dead 1891"   on one half  and  "My Father Rufus Johns  1891 " on the other half. He cut two sticks and nailed the cross-boards up.
"Goodbye, Rufus Johns"  Joe said, looking over the graves. "I ain't the type to be cryin' my head off over lunatics" .  
"I ain't a miner either" he said, jamming the truck into gear. He patted the bible on the seat beside him.  "But  I'm writ in the good book"  he said, smiling.

Trace         50

Joe saw green stones sparkling.
 "Green glass" his voice echoed.
 "I ain't a miner ".   He set a long  fuse in a bundle of dynamite.
 The fuse  spurted flame as it got shorter.
The flying rock closed the mine without a trace.  
"I'm back, Momma!  Joe smiled.


At Incoming Bytes, we love to experiment with writing. This post is an experiment in continuity and the potential relationships possible between flash stories. Can flash fiction be related?  When and where does a collection of flash fiction stories become a single short story?
We encourage our readers to consider that decision.
 We we also hope you enjoyed  it!

Is that Incoming I hear?

photo:  courtesy of  www.chemistryland.com


  1. Great stuff :) I like that connection. I really don't get flash fiction, but I like that it can be used in this way. You've whetted my interest :)

    1. Hi writingwith, I built these flash stories so they would all add up to a story...it was experimental, I think it actually worked pretty well. hah! Interesting process isn't it? Thanks for commenting! ~R

  2. i could read a single segment or a whole line of them, a whole book would be easy, as one or many to be read front to back, or? middle to there in an exploratory way..
    the renga does the same in a poetic expression..well suited to modern schedules..thanks for the free entertainment flashes.
    concise and evocative.

    1. Hi Nadine, this series of flash stories is designed to fit together like a continuous story. I thought it was kind of a novel idea....haha...I think it worked, don't you?

      Thank you so much for your comment, and right, the renga would be the poetic equivalent wouldn't it... I really like writing flash.
      It takes a lot of thinking to write so "shortly"..haha! ":) ~R


Comments are always appreciated ! No SPAM allowed.