February 8, 2016

Flash Fiction Challenge – Part IV by Iain Mackenzie

 Terrible Minds – Flash Fiction Challenge Part IV

flash fiction Iain MackenzieA note from Samantha Gluck: My friends, and even those who read my work without ever engaging me,  know full well that I’m a journalist and content strategist and that I feel profoundly blessed to be able to make a living doing what I love and, more importantly perhaps, what I love. Those same people probably have heard me post something on G+ or elsewhere about my inability to write fiction that anyone, anywhere would want to read.

Nothing’s changed.

My 16 year old son, Iain, writes fiction (and “surprise” poetry) almost every day, often to the detriment of his studies (we’re working on that). Iain, you see, doesn’t have the time — or desire — to maintain a blog. So, he asked if I could publish his contribution to this flash fiction challenge (his first, ever, outside of the school setting) on my website.

I came upon Chuck Wendig’s blog, Terrible Minds, quite by accident. when researching a psychiatry topic for a client (don’t ask). Wendig’s blog posts don’t talk about content marketing, journalism trends, or social media tools. But he shares his knowledge in a way that makes me giggle, sometimes with a blush. You see, he’s quite the potty mouth, but the dry way he slips these little gems in his posts just fascinates me to no end.

Anyway, despite the occasional potty word, I allow my 16 year old to read most of the posts, after I’ve reviewed them. Iain wanted to try to add some words to the already-in-progress flash fiction challenge. I warned him that these were most likely adults who have a lot of fiction writing experience and, while that’s a daunting thought for him, he still wanted to do it.

He added to HPetterson’s contribution from last week. Take a look below and share your thoughts with Iain in the comment section.

I looked at the man warily, sure, he looked like he just left a crack house, but there was something about him that I found… threatening. Maybe it was the scar on his dirty face, running from the corner of his eye to his jaw. Or maybe it was the fact that he seemed inhumanly still, his blue eyes never leaving mine.

“So, Mr. Hemmingway, I think you’ve realized by now that you are in a bit of trouble. Lucifer doesn’t appreciate you messing up his business. I’m sure you received his, ah, offer, and if I might say so, it is quite a generous one. If it were anyone besides you, Hemmingway, he would have simply killed you.”

I held his gaze steadily, praying to God that he wouldn’t see my hand creeping under the table for my silver xiphos.

“Yes it is quite a generous offer,” I said evenly, my hand gripping the familiar leather grip of my blade under the scarred wooden table,” but unfortunately, I am going to have to refuse, demon spawn. Go tell Lucy to fuck himself.”

As soon as the words left my lips, he lunged, black talons extended, right at my face. I jumped from my stool and whiled out of the way, bringing my blade around in an arc of death, severing his head and spraying the floor with acidic blood. The bartender stared at me in shock and fear. Not knowing what else to do, I threw some coins down on the table and sprinted out the door.

About Iain Mackenzie

Working on my first novel...


  1. Great imagery! The “scar on his dirty face, running from the corner of his eye to his jaw” along with the setting is established at the beginning! This not only captivates the reader but sets the tone! Bravo! Furthermore, external conflict is established in the second paragraph with Mr. Hemmingway and Lucifer. Word choice is clear and I like the usage of the Greek sword. Be careful with the raw force of ending a flash.. You did well with the shock but you want to give the reader a gripping end! Excellent first! You should be proud!

    • Iain Mackenzie says:

      Thank you so much Mrs.Ginger. I appreciate your compliments and your constructive criticism. also, thank you for reading and commenting.

  2. “Or maybe it was the fact that he seemed inhumanly still, his blue eyes never leaving mine.”

    Nice…real nice. The imagery fit the scene perfectly…a very detached tone. Very nice prose…I will be watching out for you on bookshelves in the near future. Just have fun with writing and enjoy the incremental improvements as you go. well done Lain.
    Cheers Hank

    • Iain Mackenzie says:

      thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I am actually writing a novel that will be done at some point in time. eventually. i would love to read your additions as well

  3. I agree with Ginger. The imagery is fantastic! I story held my attention, and I was able to picture the scenes in my mind. I’d love to illustrations accompanying the story. It sends chills down my spine. :)
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    • Iain Mackenzie says:

      thank you, i tried to put a colder tone into this one, which is new territory for me, i normally go with witty, sarcastic characters. i am very glad you enjoyed my addition.

  4. Right on man. Keep it up. You can do anything you put your mind to. You clearly have some talent, so keep on going!


    • Iain Mackenzie says:

      thank you, i really do enjoy writing and am so glad people seem to be enjoying my contribution on this piece.

  5. Yes, I agree with what was said before. You definitely have carried on the tone and the “voice” of the story quite well in your addition. It seems like a good, seamless addition to me, regardless of your age!

    • Iain Mackenzie says:

      i’m glad i was able to capture the tone correctly, it is something i’ve had trouble with in the past. i am very happy you enjoyed this piece and would love to read your work as well.

  6. Hey Lain. I really enjoyed your continuation on the flash fiction. I had posted a comment here but being technology challenged it must not have posted.

    I loved what you did with the start. I would be interested in your novel…hows it going. I’ve got a few I’m monkeying around with. My favorite “Port Templar takes place in present day Maine. It’s about a Sheriff trying to protect her town from a crew from a steamship from 1891. They animate every 14 years… 90k words. Another is non fiction about moving to France and what my wife and daughter have been challenged by. and the third is halfway done at 45k words..a 16 year old girl and her meercat on another planet fighting slavers….someone’s got to fight them?

    Keep up the good work and e-mail me if you have any questions or frustrations…writing is an incredible art, always know that it’s one of the few crafts that improves constantly.

    Well done, I will watch out for your future submissions. You did good Lain.

    Cheers Hank

    • Iain Mackenzie says:

      thank you sir, i am going to go to your site and read your work as well. as for the novel, you know how it is. whenever you really get into one, a brand new, totally unrelated idea comes flying out of left field and smacks you in the head, but i am getting there, inch by inch.

  7. Wow – I was captivated, Lain! Your word imagery is vivid, and I was swept into the room with Hemmingway and this scar-faced man. I like how you slowed my reading down a bit with an unfamiliar reference (xiphos), which I Googled later; albeit, the context you provided was helpful in clarifying.

    I appreciate high-energy, creative story-telling, and that’s what you’ve delivered.

    Keep up the great work!


  8. Iain Mackenzie says:

    thank you for your encouragement and your comment on my story. i really appreciate any feedback i can get and am very glad you enjoyed my contribution to this flash fiction.

  9. ‘Lucy’, I love it. I’ve actually referred to the devil as Lucy many a time and reading that in a continuation of my start was excellent. Well done. I’ll try not to repeat what everyone else has said and just add this: experience in writing doesn’t come from age but from, wait for it, WRITING. Keep at it. I’ll look forward to seeing more of your work :)

    • Iain Mackenzie says:

      thank you, considering you started the story, your approval really means a lot and I’m glad you liked my add on to a great piece

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