The Mask Crumbles


© Yinglan Z.

Their High School Drama club had adopted this section of the path through the forest near their campus to clean up every quarter. Derek, the most unpopular student in class, brought up the rear while everyone else had already picked up the more easily found garbage and litter and moved on.

Cynthia and Stephanie decided to take a break and sit on the grass and they saw Derek looking under the wooden path as if he were puking. They started giggling at the sight, calling out “Doofus Derek.”

“Those stupid girls, I can hear them. They think I care…hey, what’s that?”

Something was moving in the shadows. “Probably just a cat or a squirrel.” That’s what he thought until the long dormant blackness leapt into his face.

“Oh gross!”

“What is it Steph…oh gross. Derek what did you do to your..?”

Nothing had happened to his face except his mask fell away finally revealing all of the rage inside. The berserker he’d become rushed at the teens. They were just the first pair to die.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge-Week of March 20, 2018 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for creating a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

It was tough to come up with a story based on the image. The guy really did look like he was vomiting and the expression one of the girls seemed to indicate shock or horror. I built on that, leveraging school bullying and how being pushed too far can finally send even the mildest person into a rage. In this case, Derek had a little supernatural help, and his response was beyond deadly.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to


Saving Julie: A Time Travel Story

broken timeWhen Andy found the abandoned time machine, he immediately decided to save his sister’s life.

Ten years ago, Julie had been 15 and he had been 10. He adored his sister, which seemed pretty unusual because at his age, most boys hated their older sisters, but not Andy.

Mom had died when he was a baby and Dad did his best, but Dad’s idea of parenting was working hard at his job so he could pay the bills. He really didn’t know how to comfort him when he skinned his knee at age 3 or to praise him when he came home with two A’s and three B’s on his first grade report card.

Julie knew how, even though she was so young herself. Julie and Andy only had each other and for a long time, that was enough.

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