Sunday, 11 September 2011

Reality Show Flare #fridayflash fiction

Reality Show Flare
by Angie Arcangioli
891 words for Chuck Wendig's prompt based on a photo  check out his Terribleminds blog to see it

Crafton laughed. 

“I’m gonna kill every one of you fuckers.  All you done since we got on this stupid island is laugh at me.  You think I’m the loser.  Well you’re wrong.  You're the losers.”

No one budged.  They were mesmerized by the flame of the torch that shot over them and the agonising cameraman whose abdomen was charred black by its flame.  Crafton had planned it well.

The guy was sick, really sick.  Audrey thought.  She hadn’t laughed at him, even when he’d tried to hit on her.  She thought he was just another geek.  But he was sick, like shut-him-up and melt-the-key sick.

They didn’t deserve this, they’d been chosen by the producers, she’d driven eight hours and stood in line another four for the audition.  She sang, danced, and waited for the verdict like the others.  Thousands had been interviewed.  How could they have picked this creep?  She tried not to look at him but he was engulfed by power. Clark Kent turned Superman.  What had been his trick?

“You are the one that started it.”  He swung the torch towards Jake, the cutest guy Audrey had ever met in her life.  Jake’s hair caught fire.


He tried to jerk away but the duct tape that imprisoned his arms and legs to the lawn chair immobilized him.  They were all taped to something, mostly lawn chairs in a circle. Crafton said it was a game he’d invented.  Thus to humour him, and stop the ranting temper tantrum he’d thrown, Mr. Sandman the director, had abided.  Until it was Sandman’s turn. 

Audrey cringed, closed her eyes when she smelt the bittersweet scent of burned flesh.  She did not want to look at Jake, now snivelling.  He’d reminded her of Brad Pitt and she wanted to keep the image.  He’d be marred for life.  If they ever escaped, his acting career was limited to scarface.

The humid tropical air steamed around them.  Vapour rising from the wet grass blurred into  a terrible orange aura around Crafton.  It was the color of power, ambition.  That is what her yoga teacher had said.  It came from the third chakra.

“You, Mr. Bigshot,” the geek with the torch yelled at Mr. Sandman, “you planned to eliminate me from the beginning.  Well now it’s your turn.”  He pointed the flare at Mr. Sandman who screamed.  Crafton giggled, it was a sick sound.

Audrey closed her eyes, willed herself to the safe spot she went to while meditating.  The swing hanging from the sycamore’s branch rocked. Her mother sang a lulluby.  She thought she was too old to love it but it soothed her.  She drifted into the memory and let go.  She was rocking, singing.  The rhythm of the swing sped then slowed, a metronome on her piano.  Mamma sang, she rocked.

“And you bitch, what are you singing about?”

Audrey opened here eyes. 

“It was a song my mother sang to me when I was unhappy.” 

Calm engulfed her, she felt right, everything felt right.  She would die, killed by a freak with a flare on the set of a reality show she was starring in with nine others on a tropical beach far from Mamma and the swing in the sycamore tree.

She closed her eyes and sang,” Rock-a-bye baby on the tree top, when the wind blows the cradle will rock.”

“Shut up.”  She heard it from far away.  She was three, maybe four and the Labrador licked her toes every time the swing shot forward.

When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall.”

“I said shut up, bitch.”

She opened her eyes and saw a dark figure standing behind Crafton.  A green light pulsed through the orange glow.  It was the other cameraman, he was filming everything.  What a dork.  Audrey thought, she sang but did not close her eyes.

“And down will come baby, cradle and all.”

The cameraman slammed Crafton in the head with a boom mic.  The flare fell in the middle of the grouped lawn chairs.  He filmed Crafton crash to the ground, unconscious.  He filmed the flame scorch two girls.  They screamed as their sarongs turned to ash, glued to their legs.  He filmed while they wailed in pain, zoomed on their tears.

Baby is drowsing, cozy and fair,
 mother sits near, in her rocking chair,
 forward and back,” 

Audrey was out of reach of the flame.  She watched Mr. Sandman roll his chair with his arms that were free but seared from the molten duct tape.

“Do something, you idiot,” Sandman shrieked.

The cameraman zoomed in on Crafton, who opened his eyes. 

Audrey closed hers and sang, “The cradle she swings 
and though baby sleeps, he hears what she sings...”

“Do what?  Isn’t this planned?”

Audrey laughed, sang, “From the high rooftops, down to the sea...”

“No you idiot,”  Sandman squawked.

Audrey opened her eyes again.  The flame burned, boiled the grass.  Steam rose.

“Kill him, or he’ll kill us.”

“But this is great, we’ll be on Oprah.”  He zoomed on Audrey.

“No one's as dear, as baby to me
, wee little fingers, eyes wide and bright, 
now sound asleep, until morning light.” 

Audrey stopped, rejuvenated.  Stillness filled her mind when the LED on the bulky camera went red and slammed through Crafton's skull. 


  1. wow!!

    My goodness!! This is awesome!! I would never never near such reality show (when there is such stupid cameramen)!!

    Thanks for dropping by my blog!!
    <a href="> Another Author </a>

  2. (Sorry, I commented on the wrong post).

    Wow, maybe I'll think differently next time I watch Survivor!! Crazy story, love it. Stupid cameraman! Good job. Flows well, easy to read.

  3. Hi Lindsay, glad it flows well and is easy to read

  4. I think you caught the great irony of reality television. Fun story and I thought the use of the lullaby was particularly effective. Nice contrast.

  5. Thanks Lesann. The lullaby came as an afterthought