It is time for another patented Sentient Ink Fifteen Minute Fiction Challenge. For those who haven’t seen our previous efforts, in Fifteen Minute Fiction, the Sentient Ink authors get fifteen minutes to write a piece of flash fiction. But that’s not all. The genre and title are randomly generated and we have to write a story around them. So read on, vote for your favourite, tell us what you think and, hey, why not give it a go yourself.
Random Genre: Urban Fantasy
Random Title: The First Prophecy
The First Prophecy by Andy Wright
The purple robes dragged along the floor behind the eight year old. She received many a strange look as she walked through Trafalgar Square, but missed most of them as her witches hat kept slipping over her eyes.
Her parents walked to either side of her and were doing their best to look natural. They had compensated for her strange attire by dressing as plainly as one possibly could, in beige and other, less exciting shades of brown. Despite the awkward clothes and the stares, the girl’s step had a noticeable bounce. A full two weeks after discovering she had the gift, she would finally be giving her first prophecy.
It had come as something of a surprise to her parents, who had happily been watching the evening news when the floating head appeared in the middle of the room. It had been a serious looking old man with bushy eyebrows and a hat that looked like it had just sorted Harry Potter into Gryffindor – something her father had noticed as well, though he was disappointed to learn she would not be attending Hogwarts.
Her parents breathed a sigh of relief when they turned into a quiet side street, and then into an alley. They had been told that they would know the building when they saw it, but three confused home owners later and they were growing concerned. Maybe it was all a trick, she thought. But the flowers he conjured were real enough, and his hat was very pointy.
The building seemed to appear from nowhere, crammed between an apple shop and estate agents. It was narrow and tall, tapering off at the top like the hat she was wearing. They all exchanged a look and knocked on the heavy oaken door.
A middle-aged man answered, wearing jeans and a shirt. He looked at the young girls clothes and then backwards.
“Damn it, Brian. We’ve warned you about this.”
There was quiet laughter inside, but she was ushered in anyway, and they walked through the mist, which turned out to be an old woman’s cigarette smoke, into the prophetic chamber/living room. She spotted two young boys blasting each other with coloured light; she smiled and screwed up her eyes, placing her fingers to her temples.
“I’m going to like it here.”
The First Prophecy by Chris Wright
He quickened his step without breaking into a jog, settling somewhere between ‘I’m five minutes away and two minutes late’ and ‘that’s my bus and it’s been stopped for some time’. It was a nice compromise, he thought. It was rude to stroll when involved in a chase, but running encouraged your pursuer to sprint. That wouldn’t be good. Already, his rather womanly bag was bringing stares from the normals as he pushed and bundled his way past them. Bloody witches. Always with the purple bags. He just knew they were doing it on purpose.
The bag’s contents were no joke, however, and he struggled to contain himself. Struggled not to reach for the parchment and read those words again. Ancient words, potentially deadly. Instead, he pulled out his phone and activated the front camera. Looking past his own winking face, he saw a bulbous, bowler-hatted lump getting far too close for comfort. He sighed. Why did it always have to be so difficult?
He ground to a sudden halt and shimmied to his left. The man’s momentum brought him level and Kai, for that was his name, smiled charmingly as he pushed him into the street and the path of a rushing lorry. The potato-faced gent looked a little surprised as he rolled under the wheels, but Kai didn’t stop to see him get up again. He ran.
Purple bag swinging, he weaved through the streets and alleys of London, losing any chasers and himself in the process. But ten minutes, and a quick conversation with a startled looking beggar, put him back to the right path and he was soon walking towards the Masonic Lodge and the home of the diviners. He skipped merrily past the old men in their robes and pomp and ducked next door, into a slot machine gaming store, nodding genially to the pierced-lipped woman on the till and descending the stairs to where the diviners stood chanting.
“Got it!” he shouted into their sacred devotions.
They looked up in irritation, but their eyes grew wide at the sight of the bag.
“Bless us, Garadi,” one of them spoke. “The first prophecy.”
The First Prophecy, by D. C. Ward
There was a dank stench in the darkness, the smell of death and sin, the smell of Satan himself. Their torches were dim and still, as if they were as frightened as the men holding them. Echo Squad moved through the chamber, flames in one hand, machine-pistols in the other. They brushed aside cobwebs with only the pallid corpses of spiders left dangling in their corners. The sinuous alleys snaked for three hours until they had to walk through the crypt, between hundreds of berths each filled with gold, pottery and dark bones.
They all looked to Kyle. He was standing by a skeleton wearing long purple robes, gilded and adorned garishly, and laying by its side was a twisting staff.
“Just like they said,” Erikson whispered.
With tremulous hands they lifted and moved the body to the floor, observing the oversized leather book beneath. Erikson opened it to the first page, subtitled: Sight One, The Second Coming, Year 2015.
“Holy shit. We might be too late,” said Erikson, reaching for his walkie. “Base, you there? Over.”
Static. And then came the shaking voice: “You got the book? Over.”
“We got it. Over.”
There was a wavering sigh, and then weeping. “You’re too late.”
Well there you have it. Let us know what you think. We love to receive feedback and constructive criticism on all our writing (be nice, Fifteen Minute Fiction is tricky!) and give us a like if you enjoyed what you read. Don’t forget to give it a go yourself; it’s a great, if sometimes humiliating, writing exercise, and will help you get into that writing zone after just fifteen minutes. Vote for your favourite below and to keep updated with our work, subscribe to us by WordPress or Email and follow us on Twitter @Sentient_ink.
To browse our other Fifteen Minute Fictions, including the genres horror, sci-fi and fantasy, click here. Or for some flash fiction we actually planned, why not try our mysterious fantasy short story The Yesterday Key or the intriguing Sci-Fi one shot 1979*?