Take-Back Attack

This PLOT SCENARIO GENERATOR Flash Fiction challenge is hosted by Chuck Wendig from Terrible Minds.

This is my first foray into the field with Chuck and the Terrible Minds of this challenge.  Looking over some past ones, it seems they have some good times.


Take-Back Attack


The Never-Ending The End

I’m woken from a deep sleep by an unbelievable racket outside.  I get my bearings, and realize it’s a TV turned up so loud I can hear it in my own damn house.

I sit up and I look out the window above the headboard behind me.  Don’t ask me why we put the bed where there’s a window, because I don’t know, and I never moved it after the divorce.

I see light from a TV flashing out a window of my new neighbor’s house.

I storm out in my boxers ready to unload on this prick.

A flash of images hits me, like a memory of going over there.

I shake my head, and march outside.

The TV falls instantly silent.

My new neighbor waits on his porch.  “Sorry about the TV, Tom.”

He knows my name?

“Oh, heck; I’m always mixing things up.  We haven’t met yet, have we?” He comes down and offers his hand.

I give a firm shake. “You’re George.” I know his name?  How?

“That’s right.” George gives a knowing grin. “Come on up, Tom, I want to show you something.”

I follow him in.

Damn, his house is familiar.  I see things I expect to see.

“Beer, Tom?”

Somehow I know it’s going to be an import and it isn’t as shitty tasting as I think it’s gonna be.

“Sure.” I accept realizing I’m still in my boxers.

George hands me an imported beer in a green bottle. “Doesn’t matter, Tom.”

He means my boxers.  How?

George pops the cap off his beer, and gives me that strange grin.  “Pick a number, Tom—any number.”


“Ten.” he blurts out before I can. “Again…”

I try to disguise the number in my head, then—

“Ninety-two.” he beats me to it again.

“How the hell did you do that?”

“How do you think, Tom?”

Somehow I know, like the flashes of memory from before.

“You’re not reading my mind, you know what I’m gonna say because you know what I’m gonna do … because … because—”

My nose starts bleeding.

“Shoot, sorry about that, Tom” George grabs a paper towel for me.

I plug my nose and lean against the wall.  I’m really dizzy.  I set my beer down; don’t want to spill the Holy Water, even if it is imported.

“You’ll be okay in a minute, don’t worry.  I’ve stopped, so the dizziness and nausea will pass.”

“I’m not naus—” then I am.  I shove past George, and puke in his sink.

He pats my back. “I’m really sorry about that.  I didn’t mean to take you so many times,” he laughs, “but damn you’re strong, Tom.  I couldn’t shake you.  You kept on the thread every time.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about time travel, Tom.  That’s what we’ve been doing for the past two hundred hours or so.”

My head spins.  I puke again.

“That’s right, Tom.  You understand what I’m saying even if you don’t want to.” He hands me a dish towel and my beer.  “Most people don’t know there’s been a shift, but you do.  You keep hearing my TV like the first time you came over, but it hasn’t been on.”

“I don’t get it.”

“You and I have done this about a hundred times tonight, Tom.  That’s why I know what you’re going to say and do—well, did know anyway; we haven’t done what we’re doing right now before … not exactly.”

I don’t want to believe it but I do.  Somehow I just know.  One thing bothers me though…

“Why are you living in this shithole?”

“Ah, yes … that’s what we all think when we imagine knowing the future; ‘I’ll be rich!  I’ll win the Lotto!  I’ll bet on the pennant!’  That hasn’t happened, Tom, because there is no future.  We’re all going to die.”


“You, me, everyone we know—all of us—are going to die; the end of the world, Tom, and I’m trying to stop it.”

I don’t want to believe—time travel? end of the world?—but I know it’s true.  Still…

“What happened?”

He thinks for a moment. “Brace yourself, Tom…”

I do, and nod.



“Ducks, Tom … ducks!”

“Ducks? like ‘quack-quack’ ducks?”

“Yes, exactly like that.  The government has been experimenting with them for decades; making them bigger, stronger, pushing the laws of man and nature to the limit, trying to see just how big and strong a duck can be.”

Super-ducks?  I’m baffled, but intrigued.  “What happened?”

“They pushed too far, Tom … they pushed too far, and God pushed back.”


George downs his beer. “Duckzilla.”

I start to say something but don’t.  George just looks at me.  I realize he’s enjoying my massive case of question-mark brain.

“You’re bullshitting me.”

He explodes laughing.  “I’m so sorry, Tom … I couldn’t help it.  It’s just … well, this never happened before; no one’s ever known about me, and I’ve been dealing with this for so long that I think I went a little crazy.”

“You think..?”

He grabs us both another beer.

“So it’s all bullshit?”

“Unfortunately, Tom, no; the end of the world is most definitely not bullshit.”

I know he is being straight now.

“Seriously, what does it? nukes? bio-weapon? what?”

“Nope,” He takes a chug, and burps. “The earth just blows up.  No war, no aliens, no massive meteor, and no one’s fault—nothing that can be fixed.  It just blows up, and everybody and everything is gone.”

“How do you know the world blows up?  If it did, you’d be blasted across the solar system at a bazillion miles per hour, so how you gonna zap back here and stop anything?”

“It’s how I got my power, Tom.  Yes, the earth exploded with me on it, standing right here just like this, and I was fully aware of it.” He takes a chug on the import. “Then I was back.  Happened over and over until I realized it was me doing it.”

Something he said bothers me.  It takes me a minute to grasp it.

“You said the earth explodes with you ‘standing right here just like this.'”

He nods solemnly.

“You didn’t literally mean right here in this very spot just as you’re standing now? you were generally speaking, right?”

“I’m sorry, Tom.”

“Oh shit…”

I feel a rumble.

Then comes the loudest noise I could ever imagine multiplied more times than I could ever count.

I’m woken from a deep sleep by a loud racket … a stereo, or a …  yes, it’s a TV!  Damned thing’s so loud it woke me up in my own goddamn house!  I turn to look out the window above the headboard.

There is no window.

My bed’s been moved.

Why?  How?  Oh, yes … now I remember doing it, but wait … I also have a totally different memory of that day. What the hell..?

I feel dizzy.

I shrug it off and storm out of the house.

My neighbor’s TV is suddenly silent.  He’s waiting on his porch.  He sighs.

“Hello, Tom.”


The mandatory story prompts given to me by the all-powerful Plot Scenario Generator are as follows:

The story opens when the protagonist confronts a neighbor about a loud TV.

Another character is a mind reader who can travel through time.

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Leave a comment


  1. Mangsgirl.

     /  January 30, 2014

    I feel like I just dropped LSD and tried to watch Groundhogs Day.

    • Christopher Shawbell

       /  February 8, 2014

      Good, the desired effect was accomplished.
      Thanks for reading!

  2. that was fantastic! Very fun. I totally believed George that it was Duckzilla. so funny!

    • Christopher Shawbell

       /  July 26, 2013

      Ha! I’m glad you had a fun experience with it. Thank for reading my work, CK. I’ll catch you on the next one!

  3. I enjoyed reading this! “Duckzilla” hahahahah….

    • Christopher Shawbell

       /  July 26, 2013

      Thank you, DJ. I’m glad you had a good read with it.
      See you next time.

  4. Love this! Almost all dialogue, and so twisty you couldn’t even call it expository. The duck insanity was great; I could feel his hysterical desperation, and see that last glint of breaking threads in his eyes. All while perpetually drinking, and never getting drunk. What a character – I wonder what he’d be like afterwards, if he somehow escaped that temporal trap.

    • Christopher Shawbell

       /  July 26, 2013

      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. You really saw the character and his situation well. You have great insight. I had so much fun writing this, but no fun editing it (3,000 was the first draft word count : ( )
      I’m glad you liked the duck. I took it out for word count reasons, but I couldn’t keep it out, not because it was funny, but because it really was a display of his desperate insanity. Thank again. I’m glad to have jumped on board with you all.

  5. Have you ever considered working for a disorientation centre, Christopher? You’d be a real whizz at it. Man, talk about twisting people in knots 😀

    • Christopher Shawbell

       /  July 26, 2013

      I do like to walk me readers out on unstable ground, I admit. I hope I’m able to answer some questions as I raise new ones so my readers don’t get too disoriented.
      The plot prompts were pretty fun to combine.
      Thanks again for reading my work. I hope you enjoyed the ride.



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