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By now you all know that the great and transformative David Bowie passed away this month at the age of 69.

He was a remarkable individual, prolific, multi-talented, and inspirational to many in a multitude of different ways. And as anyone who has participated in Flash Fiction Month will know, he has proved a particular source of inspiration to FFM participants over the years in the form of our annual David Bowie Day tradition.

Over the years DBD has made us weep, and laugh, and tear our hair out, and has driven many a Flash Fiction Month participant to the brink of madness. For some it initiated you into the realm of Bowie fandom, or proved a playground for your pre-existing appreciation of his work, and for others it merely cemented the knowledge that perhaps Bowie wasn't really your thing. But in our humble opinion, whatever your outlook, DBD has also consistently resulted in some of the best work that FFM has ever produced, and that's saying something (because you guys are pretty awesome).

With that in mind, we here at Flash Fiction Month thought that perhaps the best way to remember David Robert Jones and all his many incarnations, would be to showcase some of the work he has inspired in all of us over the years.

So read, and weep, and laugh, and tear your hair out (if you're so inclined, though we don't recommend it), and let yourself be led to the brink of madness (but don't worry, we'll lead you back).

The stars look very different today, but rest assured that this year we're really going to make David Bowie Day into something special.

Goodbye, Starman.

Kings Of Oblivion"Someday," said Wax, "Someone's gonna write a book about us."
"Bullshit," said Stone, "We're indescribable."
And really, they were.
"Bullshit," said Wax, "That Ezekiel chappy did not a bad job, even if he was silly as wheel. A WHEEL! Ahahahaha! Geddit? D'ye geddit? And then there's… oh, whatsisface… gah, you know, lanky feller, colourful, had a bung eye. Liked the tights."
"Pfft," said Stone. "You're cracked. Told you we shouldn't just drop in like that."
"Pffffffffffffft," countered Wax. Pleased with that retort, he slipped his fob-watch from his pocket. "Look. Look, here. It's the late Nineteenth Century."
"Again? For fuck's sake." Stone rolled his eyes, causing several minor galaxies to implode, or explode, or evolve sentient life which would evermore be paranoid about eyes and thus never develop any.
"Must you?"
"Right. Sorry."
"Shall we, then?" Wax didn't wait for a reply, but snapped the watch shut.
It was dark, in the late Nineteenth Century, thought Stone. Not
  Andrew SarchusAndrew Sarchus stood in the old woman's blood, struggling to keep his dark side in check. Grandma was dead. A normal wolf would eat her before her body started to cool, or another wolf arrived to compete for the carcass. Andrew was different. He couldn't help but wonder how he would look in her frock.
Giving in to his compulsion, he donned the flowing floral dress and twirled in front of the mirror. He felt more like himself than he'd ever felt before. Suddenly there was a knock at the door, and the feeling disappeared. Panicking, the wolf shoved Grandma's body into the closet and jumped into her bed.
A girl opened the front door and ventured into the cottage. “Grandma?” she called.
“I'm in bed,” said Andrew. “I'm afraid I'm a little under the weather.”
“Oh, there you are. Mother sent me to bring you some cake. My, what a deep voice you have. You must be ill.”
The wolf coughed nervously, covering his snout with a paw.
“And what gian
FFM 28 - ZiggyDECLASSIFIED: CAPTAIN’S LOGS OF SS ROSALYN.    (Re: THE DOOR PROJECT/ “ZIGGI” )
Entry # 107 - July 1, 4015
Captain’s log, Major Tom Malverne reporting.  We’ve finally made progress, after five years of research.  In Tesla’s studies of “The Door” in Death Valley, he suggested it might open into a completely different world, though the reports are unclear on what might be in those other worlds.
We can more comfortably say that we now know.  The Saviour Machine has worked exactly as designed, and the good ship Rosalyn is currently parked beside the first manmade, fully-stabilized wormhole.  The first probe is already returning, with what appears to be some sort of sediment.  Further research needs to be conducted before the wormhole is ready for humans, and I will note progress as it continues.  -TM
Entry #115 - July 6, 4015
Research on the Stardust is going almost alarmingly well.
  Dance, Magic, Dance"You remind me of the babe."
"I beg your pardon?"
He shook his elaborately ornamented head. "No, no, you say 'what babe'?"
"Like, baby?"
"That's… no. Not a baby. Just, go with me on this, okay?"
"Who are you?"
"Goblin King. Really not that pertinent to the situation at hand. You remind me of the babe."
She looked uncertainly to the left, then the right.
"What babe?"
"The babe with the power."
"Oh."
"No!" he slammed his gloved fists down on a nearby table. "No, you say 'what power'?"
"Well why don't you just tell me?"
"That's not how this works!"
"So you're just going to keep setting yourself up and expecting me to read your mind and know exactly what to ask?"
"It's pretty rudimentary, honestly."
"Listen, um, Goblin King. I'm just trying to get home."
"That's nice. You remind me of the babe."
"No, really. If you know the way, I could really use some directions…"
"And if you don't cooperate," he said, sidling closer to her and running a glove under her chin in the most flamboya
FFM 2014: The Stars (Are Out Tonight)Squinting at his reflection, Frankie put the final touches on his makeup. He did a quick itinerary check of the contents of his purse, hitched up his tights, adjusted the starry metallic fabric of his miniskirt and blew his reflection a kiss. Not perfect, but it would have to pass muster as he was already far too late. 
“—British troops are shipping out tomorrow to join the allied forces on the African front. Peace rallies and protest riots have broken out across Britain in response, sparking a new rash of anti-military sentiment that has resulted in several violent attacks. Just the latest in a series of hate crimes to sweep the U.K.—“
“God, shut that off will you! ” Frankie called out as he emerged from the bathroom. Naturally Henry ignored him. His brother had been vegetating on the couch all day, watching reruns of the news on the telly as though it were some sort of holy penance.
“Sure you don’t want to come o
  Wanted manSliding to the sidewalk on his rope strung from the fourteenth floor, like the real cool cat he is.  Hell, if he let go the rope he’d probably fly.  Man, look at that spazecurd hum.  He’s buzzing down the old forty-sixth hopping on foonjuice.  He’s jiving to a different tune to the one the streetside blarevox is playing. He’s snorting air that smells like spacehoney through his crudded up blowholes and nodding to the strangers less strange.
And all the grannies tut and fustirange their shawlcoats as he blasts by, rocking their podiatric sandals.  And he weaves through the slowlaners, brushing each pedestrian coat sending pedestrian hairs tingling at his passing like a wave of mini orgasms.
At the end of the alley, the Diamond Dogs are waiting for his kidneys, with which he is understandably reluctant to part.  They’re toting their chaincanes and dillingers with real aplomb, each gold tooth glistening in the fog.  He ducks
FFM Day 25: The Man Who Sold the WorldThere were bags under his eyes—the thick, dark kind that came from not days, nor even months, but from decades of sleeplessness. Lines ran from the corners of his mouth like river deltas. Lips grown thin with age and hunger turned down in the only expression they remembered.
And this was the man who'd ruled the world. The man who'd bought it and sold it like a gem unfit to tarnish his crown. And what had it gotten him? Fields filled with fruits and grains, oceans brimming with fish, air that smelled sweet with meadow flowers.
But he'd commanded that cities be built over all the meadows. Cities to house the workers for his factories, which produced an endless supply of tools, luxuries, capital. Factories that had, in the end, poisoned the seas and killed the fish. The air had grown thick with their fumes, and when the workers protested that they could not breathe in the smog, he shut them indoors where the air was breathable.
Eventually even the crops could not grow outdoors. Despe
There is a Happy Land“Do you see the light?” Millie asked, elbowing her brother and pointing across the dark field.
Steven pushed his braids behind his ears and his eyes followed the line of her finger. At first, there was nothing, but then he spotted the small flash over the grass. “Fireflies?” he asked.
“Fairies, she whispered back.
Grabbing her younger brother by the hand, she dragged him towards it. Steven dug his heels into the dirt, pulling back. The field was full of weeds and sticker plants that would get stuck in his purple princess dress. “Steven!” she whined.
“No,” he protested. “It’ll ruin my dress and Dad ‘ll never let me have another one.”
Millie pulled harder, forcing him forward. “Then hold up your skirts. I can’t go without you. They said so. It’s all of us or none of us.”
The young boy gave up fighting and grabbed hold of the satin play dress. He gave a glance back at the dark house. Mom
FFM 26: The Magic Baby“What’s so special about him?” I asked, picking up the baby to inspect him closer. Seemed like an ordinary little thing to me. Hell, the kid even smelled like baby.
“He’s a wizard.” Ty opened his book, flipping to a page with a large illustration of a bearded old man. “This wizard, to be exact.”
“Huh.” It didn’t look like the baby could even speak yet. “What happened?”
“I don’t know, some wizard voodoo gone wrong.” Ty poked the baby in the arm as I held him securely. His skin was soft to the touch, and I felt my motherly instincts kick in as he gurgled, saliva dribbling down his chin.
“Do you have a tissue?”
“No. And there’s no time for that. We have to help him get back to normal.”
“Well I don’t know magic. What kind of magic do you think he can still do in this state?” The baby laughed, moving his feet around. “Come on, little baby. Do
Flash Fic Month '11. July 23rdYou remind me of the babe.
What babe?
Babe with the power.
What power?
Power of voodoo.
Who do?
You do.
Do what?
Remind me of the babe…

She was nearly at her destination when it began to rain. As was the way with storms, there was no warning of its arrival; just a clap of thunder and shriek of forked lightning before it began the downpour. Though she broke into a run, she was still soaked when she reached the shop, but still paused to look up at it before entering. It was just as she remembered; the curtain of beads hanging in front of the doorway, and the black sign painted with white and purple lettering.
Saturday's Voodoo
The young woman grinned slightly and stepped through the beaded curtain, careful not to disturb the line of brickdust on the threshold. The interior of the shop was just the same as well, with its strange displays and faint smell that she now knew was cigar smoke. Her grinned widened for a moment.
She knew the secret now.
"Hello? Anyone home?"
"E
2012: A Space Oddity"Ground Control to Major Tom. Ground Control to Major Tom."
"Zzzzz...what? Sorry. I took a few 'protein pills' this morning."
"Again?!? I thought you would be clean by now. You've at least got your helmet on, right?"
"Of course! Glass thingy at the front and everything."
"That's it. We're calling this mission off...what's that? Oh. Oh, really? Major Tom, it seems you're already in space."
"I had noticed a lot of rockety type noises."
"It looks like we'll have to work with what...hang on, someone's talking to me down here. What is it? Uh-huh. Uh-huh. No, I guess...it wouldn't be true, though. You do realise he's on the radio right now, right? He can hear what you're saying. Fine! I'll tell him anyway. Major Tom?"
"Yes?"
"Major Tom, you've really made the grade."
"That's very nice of you to say."
"And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear."
"Actually, I'm not..."
"Because I'm sure we all remember how you were dressed when you arrived. That was unpleasant for all involved."
"I'm t
Finding DadClarissa sat on a stone wall, sullenly staring at the goblin offering her what it claimed was a delicacy, a "karbob" which he had been saving.  It just looked like a pale miniature potato.  Except that it had just been harvested directly from the goblin’s armpit.
 “That’s okay, really,” she said, forcing herself to stand.  “I have to find my Dad.”
 “At least have some Owl Wine!” the goblin said, shoving a mug under her nose.  Clarissa inhaled the deep, soupy miasma of fermented owls.
  “Opprobydup!” Clarissa gagged out.
Ptoo!
Clarissa fell off the top of a building and hit a Spṻe in midflight.  It flapped angrily and bit her in the arm a second before she used it to cushion her fall.
 “Damnit!” Clarissa cursed.  She knew what a Spṻe bite could do.  She had barely gotten to her feet when she saw a patrol of armored goblins clamoring towards her.
 “Ceeceeaytch!”
Ptoo!
This time C
FFM 25 - Asking Lacy OutAdam's face was painted, his jeans were sparkling and his shoes were every color of the rainbow.  He quickly ran the hair molder over his head and all of his hair stood completely straight off his head.  He tied it together at the top with a hairband and nervously checked himself over in the mirror.  His electric red sport coat clashed marvelously with his lime polka-dot cravat.  He pulled on his rainbow fingerless gloves and headed to the garage.
He hit the garage door's button and strapped in.  It took a few tries, but his old Firebird lit up and the engine began to roar.  As the day's sunlight poured in from the opening door, he checked his gauges.  Most of his friends didn't understand why he used such an old-fashioned mode of transportation.  They failed to realize how much fun it was to play and fly.
Adam launched out of the garage, his jet pack grumbling as he flew to work.
Adam peeked around the edg
FourArizona was no longer inside her own body; it was stuck in quicksand and she was watching as it drowned by slow, self-inflicted degrees. A voice penetrated the haze and she clung to it like a lifeline, hauling herself out of paralysis and onto solid ground. David’s voice. Her escape for all these years.
“Cindy!”
All the nightmares came today, he crooned, and Arizona closed her eyes. Her chest was hollow, a shell, waiting to be filled. And it looks as though they’re here to stay. It felt as though a frantic animal was scrabbling to break through. She could do nothing to calm it. His voice carried through the walls, reverberated in her soul. Each word fell like blows.
She sat up as her husband continued to scream at the woman next door. She should’ve known that he’d be here tonight, of all nights. She should’ve known.  What are we coming to? No room for me, no fun for you.
Her shoes sat, abandoned, at the side of t
SeeingI went up to the girl who sat in the corner and drew.  She always drew, and never danced.  It made no sense.  This was a nightclub.
She didn't see me when I sat down beside her.  I tapped her on the shoulder.  She looked up, and I said, 'Hi.  What are you drawing?'
She shook her head, giving me a look of helplessness, and pointed to her left ear.  I leaned right over and shouted, but she shook her head again.  Then she flipped over the page in her sketchbook, and wrote in pencil, I'm deaf.
'Is that why you don't…?'  I stopped myself.
She smiled, and handed me her pencil.  I wrote, Is that why you don't dance?
She nodded.  I've never heard music.
We carried on conversing like that for a while.  She told me that her name was Lucy, and that she'd been stone deaf since birth.  It wasn't just music she'd never heard.  She didn't know the sound of the wind and the rain; the traffic in the streets; birds singing and dogs barking; she'd never even heard a human voice.
FFM 2011, 23.7 - 'Panopticon'"The whole country is like a glass asylum" Jeanette said in a low whisper, "built around the idea of Bentham's panopticon prison."
She indicated the camera peeking invisibly from a nearby light post.
"In the middle sit the wardens, the watchers, always observing the inmates all around, but never being observed themselves. That's how they control everything, by observing without being observed."
I shifted a little, unsure if my lips would be readable from the tapes. She was wearing a grey Worker's jacket, but she had boldly added a splash of colour to it in her knitted scarf, protecting her from the cutting winds.
"Clever, Jean." I answered. "And I guess we're all the more crazy for not even realizing we're in an asylum?"
Instead of replying immediately, her face lit up into a bright, almost predatory smile, and she took my hand.
"That's where the panopticon fails, darling. As I said – they're in the middle. There's nowhere to run, and the walls are all made out of glass. All we ne
  The StarmanThere comes a time in every little girl's life when her father takes her out to watch the stars. Or perhaps, it is the girl who takes her father.
It was some time after dinner, and the autumn sun had long since sunk below the lip of the horizon. It was one of those rare nights when not a breeze stirred-- the ocean was an unwrinkled swatch of the blackest cloth that swelled around them, like the belly of a slumbering body. The sails hung slack upon a mast daringly pale against the ebony bowl of the sky.
She showed him the Big Dipper first, the North Star, then the more elusive Little Dipper. Orion's Belt, Leo. Finally, she pointed out the full winding length of Draco.
When she had finished her tour, her father spoke.
"What about the Starman?"
"Who's the Starman?"
"There. You see, to the right of Leo. His head, there; his arms, spread out like that; his legs, a little crooked there and his feet, pointing to the left."
"Why is he up there Dad?"
"He's watching us."
"Why doesn't he come dow
PeacockEmily was a cross-dressing member of the peafowl family.
For weeks she’d been collecting feathers from her brother Dave, and now with his help, and the use of some pine resin, she’d managed to fashion herself a fine, full tail.
It was beautiful—she couldn’t stop admiring her reflection in the pond.  
But Mrs. Peahen was there looking on. “Maybe we should talk about this…”
Emily sighed at the interruption. “I know you don’t approve, Mum but I’m just trying to be myself.”
“It’s not that I don’t approve,” said Mrs. Peahen. “I just worry about you. Your father does too.”
Emily turned to her mother and sneered. “I don’t care what you both think. I’m going to go and see my boyfriend.”
The wind caught her tail feathers and ruffled them.
“You look gorgeous,” said Trevor the Magpie.
Emily was so happy. Trevor understood her. As she smiled at him,
Changes    She sat at the bar next to me and ordered an apple martini. I looked up from my rum and coke to study her in profile. She was a handsome woman. Tall, with a strong jaw and a lean muscled frame. A red dress hugged her breasts and her hips.  A pair of spiked heels completed her ensemble.
    I must have been staring, because she smiled at me and set her drink on the bar. “Take a picture,” she said.
    “Sorry.” I took a huge gulp of my drink to cover my embarrassment. It was too much, though, and I choked. Jack and coke dribbled down my chin and soaked into my shirt collar.
    To her credit, she managed not to laugh at me. Instead, she handed me a napkin and took a sip of her own drink.
    When I had recovered, I tried to take a more suave approach. “So what brings you here tonight? Are you meeting your boyfriend?”
    She smiled at me over the rim of her glass. “I would be, i
Visitors - FFM 2010"Mommy! Come quick! The spiders 'r doing it again!"
Ethel shouted up the stairs at her son, Bob, to get the aerosol can.
"Hurry up, Bobby. I'll get a light!"
The mother quickly grabbed the kitchen matches from the little shelf above the sink, and then hurried out into the garden, where her youngest, Kiera, was staring at the spiders. Ethel grabbed her and pulled her back, even though she knew there was nothing to do until Bob came with the aerosol.
"Mommy, why are they doing that?"
"They're from Mars, sweety. We don't know."
The spiders from Mars were creating a net, a net consisting of themselves. Each about the size of a palm, and red as the sandy planet they came from, they crawled on top of each other like trapeze artists, only kept aloft thanks to their spindly frames. Ethel didn't think they really looked all that much like spiders, but that's what they were known as.
They started to make the vibrations. Kiera sobbed quietly. Ethel covered her daughter's ears and shouted towards
Saviour MachineThe Lady Stardust was a menacingly giant building, so large that as you got closer to it, the days grew shorter. There was only one way to get to the building, straight across the two-hundred mile long highway known, somewhat affectionately, as the Milky Way.
It was a road that had seen millions of souls, all travelling across the dusty, smoky ruins of the world just to get one look at the last thing standing. It was a legacy that everyone left alive felt somehow connected to, as if we had all had a part in its building.
The road itself was pretty safe, as far as roads went anymore. A lot of people had set up camp towns and traded pretty well, and they kept the bandits off for the sake of their own profits. That made it a good place to drive, not that I ever went anywhere without my .109 blaster. It was the kind of thing you knew you'd regret not having on you.
It was the second time that I'd be seeing the Stardust up close. The first time, I'd been six years old, gullible and a
The PriceAt first we didn't know that it was alive. It fell to earth as a violet mist; and violet and misty it would remain, though it sometimes took the form of a woman and sometimes that of a man. Its speech, such as it was, was little more than well-formed wind: an amethyst sparkle whispered into the mind, soft and glittering. For a long time, at first, we couldn't understand it, and knew not what it was that had fallen to us from some distant star.
It lived among us, and learned from us. It learned to take our shapes and hiss our words in such a way that we could hear them. It learned to laugh with us and weep with us. We gave it a name: we gave it many names: but it simply shook its head and laughed and said, “We have no name. We need none.”
Whence had it come? It gave us no answer. And wherefore? It smiled at us, a secret sparkling smile, and said only: “This world is so beautiful.”
And it was. We showed it all the beauty of our world: the mountains and the forests
FFM15 - 28: The Spiders of MarsI’d seen a lot of things in Magic Dance, but nothing like this. I sat at the bar, sipping a Moonage Daydream, no different to any other night, when she walked in. Legs like pins, and a head of the thickest blond locks you’ve ever seen.
She took the stool next to me. “Space Oddity,” she said in a voice deeper than Sinatra’s. The bartender placed a blue-green drink on the bar in front of her.
“I’m Ziggy,” she said, Adam’s apple bouncing up and down.
I gave a small nod. “John,” I managed. The next words just slipped out. “What are you?”
She smiled and winked. “Whatever the world needs me to be.”
I was saved from making further conversation when the door swung open again and a young couple entered. The guy stopped half way across the bar and threw his arms up. “Why, if it isn’t our own Lady Stardust,” he cried.
“Take a seat, love” Ziggy waved him over. “Jaret
It's Only Forever"It's only forever," he whispered in my ear. The knife in my hand—no, this was a dagger. Holdover from an era when all the blades weren't made in China, when the handles weren't plastic. This thing was older than my last name.
"I can't live without you, Izzy," he whispered, and I could feel a caress even though he was halfway across the room. "Please don't condemn me to an eternity without you."
"You already lived an eternity without me," I said flatly, still staring at the weapon. He didn't answer—he'd already answered so many times. So many answers. My favorite was about Shakespeare, and just how much of an idiot he was about love and loss.
"Will it hurt?" I asked.
"Yes," he answered. "So very, terribly much."
He'd described it before—I was, after all, only going through the motions before death, asking the obligatory questions. He'd told me it was the feeling of your soul being ripped out and sent to hell. It was a slow, unending torture that made you question the exi
  Black Throne White Noise    “Another mead.”
    The barmaid slid the mug across the bar, watching in fascination as the leather-clad patron tipped his head back, angled the drink over the slotted faceplate of his helmet, and poured. It wasn’t exactly neat, but the chugging noises suggested that it was at least effective, and that was something.
    “Hey, honey,” said the regular with the ample bosom and prominent Adam’s apple. “That’s quite a talent you’ve got there. And I like your style. Want to make me scream like a baby?”
    “No.” He set the mug down and sighed.
    There was a pause. The barmaid dunked a dirty glass into a bucket of water.
    “This is really going to bother me if I don’t ask...are you a man or a woman?”
    “Honey,” said the regular, “I can b
  MartyrUrsula Parks doesn’t know where she went wrong as a mother, why her children are ingrates, always complaining, why they can’t be bothered to drive her to the Wednesday service, her weekly choir practice. Charlotte wails into the phone, jesus christ, Mama, I said I can’t this week, I’m too busy, why don’t you ever listen to me when I tell you I’m busy? Michael won’t answer his phone, won’t return her messages. So Ursula walks to the bus stop and wishes that Charlotte and Michael could see her.
She wants them to see how the sweat collects in the small of her back, how the pastel chiffon of her blouse turns sticky, how the heat drips down her temples and the summer dusk soaks into her wilting chignon. She wants them to see the cold way the bus driver glances at her as she boards, as if she were not quite there and not quite human; the hostile looks passengers toss her way, as she steps down the aisle, the bus already in
  FFM: I hope they live foreverThe fireworks are just starting to go off, outshining even the stars as they spiderweb across the night sky. It’s the beginning of a new year, and for a moment the whole world is celebrating.
Dirt Boys and Gaudy Girls lie strewn across the damp grass. The boys in sticky jackets, the girls decked out in sandals and nylon skirts, everything sheer and bright and metallic. Their mezarin cigs smell like cloves and copper, multicolored tips glowing in the dark. Later they’ll get up and roose like Benjamins in the gathering dark, legs rucking in time to the dizzy beats that are playing from the nearby clubs, silver on their tongues and in their eyes. Music is the latest, greatest drug.
Seeger can almost taste their brightness where he hunkers under the trees in the dark. He feels old and shivery, but now for a moment he remembers what it was like to be young.
Most of the gang are off investigating the buzz of the Riga 1’s zooming round the parking lot. They all wear dark sha
FFM26: The Gremlin KingAlexandra landed on her feet at the bottom of the ravine. The jerk who called himself the Gremlin King laughed as if he'd planned it all along. He had changed his clothes again, and instead of black leather with spandex leggings, he wore a kaleidoscope of colors. The words “patchwork leather Disco King” kept rolling around in her head as she stared at him and his epic, purple mullet.
His black cape billowed behind him mysteriously. There was no wind.
“Ok, jerkface, give me back my little sister and I won't rearrange your face,” Alexandra said, what she wouldn't have given for a nice wooden baseball bat. If she'd had hers with her when she went to check on her sister, she wouldn't be standing here now.
“Alexander, stop. Listen. I'm offering you such wonderful things if you just go back home. Forget about your sister. She's a brat anyway. Don't you remember.”
“Alexandra. AlexandRA. For the last time, you creep, I'm not a boy. Where's my sister? W
  bowie day (FFM 26)    I’m just reaching the peak of the arpeggio when my voice breaks like a twig. I hiss plumes of colourful profanity – bad idea – that quickly degenerate into a great hacking cough. That very same cough has haunted me ever since the laryngitis; I run for the tap. Did anyone ever tell you that attempting to drink while coughing is a truly dreadful idea? No? Well, they should have.  It results in a saga of cough, drink, choke, and literally repeats ad nauseum.
    At some point during my exercise in coughing up all the day’s meals, the door opens, and I flinch as flurries of snow chill the already colder-than-necessary room. Cameron flings himself into the dressing room, accompanied by a cacophony of jingling keys and disgruntled muttering; shaking his legs to remove the snow off his perfectly figure-hugging skinny jeans.
    “Carmel, what the hell is up with
FFM 26: The Eodun CoreThe Eodun Core.  The Saviour Machine, they had called it back on the Cygnet Committee.  It was made from the stuff of dreams, and the last hope for Marlantian society.  It hadn’t been able to save Marlantis from the Drought, but all the madmen that designed it had insisted that there was still hope, and Mercuit still held on to that hope with a burning passion.
   She was still a bright-eyed student at the Navit Academy in Suffragette City when the waters began to dry up, full of optimism and spunk.  Now there was nothing left of Suffragette City, or the great society that had built it up.  Total blackout, ashes to ashes. All it had taken was five years for the Drought to reduce the whole damned world to a barren red rock, left to tumble and twirl through space, four planets out from the sun.  Just a dead planet, and the Red Sail, an under-equipped starship manned by four Zeroes who thought they could be heroes.
    “Where a
Time Will Crawl"Not Lucan," Elithil said, "He wouldn't."
Outside the tower, the city burned. Lucan was one of their own, he wouldn't betray them. He wouldn't have set the fires or poisoned the water. He wouldn't have let his people breathe the dark clouds of gas that made their muscles lock up and their eyes turn to pulp.
Elithil's advisers didn't answer her. There was no denying the truth. The wizard had betrayed them. He'd taken their kindness and spat it back in their faces.
"How many are left?" she asked.
"Just us, my queen."
Seven survivors from a city of thousands. An entire race snuffed out in one night. Nelaros drew the curtains shut. Though Elithil's spells could protect them from the gas and any other spell Lucan dared to cast for a time, it could not shut out the horror of the destruction. It could not drown out the screams.
Elithil sank to her knees before the Mirror. The once shimmering surface was split with spidery-black fissures. Elithil's reflection was cloudy and warped. It would no
TomOn Tom's tenth birthday, there were five years left to go.  
The world watched jealously as the boy opened his presents.  Nonetheless, he was a good-looking kid and the weight of the world was on his shoulders, so mothers wept.  Even the newsguy couldn't suppress a tear as Tom opened an exact replica to 100th size of the capsule that would be carrying him away.  The kid took a moment to wave from his hotel balcony at the crowds watching below.  It was a nice touch.  Many waved back, and a woman shouted, "God bless you, son."  Tom turned to his handlers puzzled, intending to ask a question, but his Birthday was over and they whisked him back to his intensive training program.
The crowds below dispersed.  There were five years left to go.  They drank, they got high, they hugged random strangers and had sex in the street.  They looted shops then, futile, left stolen LCD TVs and toaster-oven
  Flowers and RainA city full of flowers. A city full of rain.
I watch over it through the gap in the crumbling brickwork. There's a little girl wandering in the street below. God knows how she got there. I can't see properly through the scope of my rifle, but it looks like she's crying.
When I see her face I remember something I haven't remembered for years. I was her age when the evacuations happened. At least they started as evacuations. The word implies that everyone was following a plan, but it was just mass panic within a few hours. Still, we call those days the evacuations, because that was the word they gave us. That's the word my parents used.
I remember I held my mother's hand all the way through the crowds. I remember the way I slipped out of her grasp on a bridge full of violent people. I remember being jostled and crushed by the rabble as I searched for them. I remember the taste of my tears.
I brush my hair away from my eyes and watch her through my sights as she picks her way up the road.
As the World Falls Down.    They watched from the palace as the body fell from the sky. It appeared to be bathed in a light of its own making. Jareth watched it fall until he was sure of where it would end up, and then dispatched a scouting party to bring the newcomer back to him.
    They never returned.
    He sent another party to greet the stranger, but they met whatever fate the first party had.
    Jareth paced his throne room, wondering what to do next. Either this man was converting his own minions, or they were dying. He couldn’t just keep sending out scouting parties, soon there would be no one left to rule over. It was time to make a personal appearance.
    So the goblin king changed into his most sparkly of court outfits, sent out his cleaning crew to man the tunnels, and poofed as close to the location of the fallen body as he could estimate.
    The impact had created a crater right in the middle of his labyrinth. How inconsidera
XinThe spawn would soon begin.
Xin sat on the crags of the rocky coast with the waters dancing a tumultuous ballet below. The scaled hands held a delicate face twisted in worry. She had been feeling so strange all summer, so out of place in her own gossamer fins, but never did she think it would amount to this shame. She was embarrassed to even appear at tonight’s gathering. What a failure she would labeled by all in attendance.
She thought fondly of every spawning past. Radiance incarnate, she had been the envy of all each season when, without fail, she would lead the births by overflowing with thousands upon thousands of eggs that filled the gulf-stream. This time the spawning would be her demise.
Xin shivered as water sprayed and engulfed her figure. The drops trickled down the hexagonal pattern of black and white glittering scales that decorated her tail. She would have to face it sooner or later, and as her mind swam in doubt she couldn’t help by absent mindedly nick the
  FFM 26.13 
“Brenna, you can’t just go disintegrating people!”
She looked at me as innocently as a petulant goddess could. “The akash was going to rob us.”
I rubbed my temples; I could feel a headache forming already. “What if he was trying to feed his family?” He probably wasn’t; he’d stunk of wheetle, and was likely looking for money to brew more of the foul stuff. The grain alcohol didn’t taste like much, but that was mostly because it knocked you on your ass just from inhaling the vapors. “You should have just let me take care of him.”
Brenna’s eyes sparked, but I’d been around her for too long to take the danger seriously. “Why? Just because you’re a man, you have to protect me?”
“No, Bren, it’s just-”
“Because even your women, pathetic milklings that they are, can defend themselves. They don’t need men for everything.”
“Just listen-
Children of the MountainThree of the priest’s teachings were paramount.  It was disloyal to leave the mountains.  It was sinful to think impure thoughts.  All human hybrids were abominations, and anyway they did not exist.
---
Aged thirteen, David walked down the mountainside in the middle of the night.  At the bottom, the sun was up, reflecting a mass of dancing stars that was almost blinding.  It was almost deafening as well.  It roared.  This, David realised was part of the stream that they took their water from, falling from the rocks above to make a curtain of water.
As his eyes adjusted to the light, a figure came into focus.  She was female, naked, taking water into the golden river of her hair, and then shaking it onto her breasts, her stomach, her back… flanks… tail, swishing behind her… hooves digging at the stones on the riverbed.
‘Oh, Anling-Shi,’ said David, willing himself to look away, staring until his eyes burned.
  Oddities“Welcome, Nikola, to the TARDIS!” said the Doctor. He tossed his hunter-green coat onto a coat rack and spread his arms out for dramatic effect. “Is it not magnifisome?”
Nikola Tesla was awestruck by massive room. “It’s-“
“Bigger on the inside?” asked the Doctor.
“Actually, I was going to say beautiful,” Tesla said. “You didn’t really expect me to state the obvious, did you?”
The Doctor pouted. “Most people do. Care to take a guess at how it’s done?”
“Well, this is obviously beyond the reach of contemporary science, but I would hazard a guess at the manipulation of dimensional laws?” He stepped forward and surveyed the control panels. As if dared, he reached out to touch the console. It somehow felt more real than he expected. “For a fantastical machine, the façade strikes me as rather anachronistic. Wooden panels, brass fixtures. What are these glowing rods in
Hallo Spaceboy“You call that a knife?” growled Jareth. “This is a knife!”
    “I think you’re in the wrong Bowie fanclub,” said Jean, slicing lemons at the bar.
    “ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz” snored Ziggy.
    “Ah, nuts.” Jareth plonked his knife down on the bar and looked around. There certainly were rather more spacemen, goblin kings, and spiders from Mars than he’d been expecting. “When’s the next bus to Crocodile, Dundee?”
    Jean pulled a face. “I think it’s gonna be a long, long time.
    “Ah, nuts.” Jareth gave the corks dangling from his hat a frustrated slap. “I was supposed to meet Major Tom there half an hour ago. These military types expect
  Stardust (1000 words)Shame. Embarrassment. Humiliation. Grimfy. That's all I can feel as I walk towards the nighthoot. That and the cold. My scarf is wrapped around my face tight, both for the warmth and for anonymity. If anyone saw me... I'm so pathetic. I can barely afford to live in my dumpy old brinkle. It's 2034, for fuck's sake, and here I am, a twenty-three year old completely functioning male going to a goddamn nighthoot. I need a drink. They serve those there, I'm sure, but that's not why I'm going.
The trashy neon light glows on the outside. "Stardust," it flickers in green. I tuck my head down further, as the harsh light illuminates my face. I get in line behind the other nighters, all here for the same reason as me. Some talk to each other like it's any other day and it's not their words that disturb me, it's what I don't hear. There is no self-loathing in their voice, no disgust. I don't know why, but I get mad at them. How could they have let themselves become so pathetic? I promise myself th
FFM Day 28- Tripping on Major Tom“When can you get more?” Jean asked, adjusting her phone.“No, it’s for the Underground.” The woman with the adam’s apple spilled out of the taxi onto the wet street.
“Great. Thanks, Aladdin. You always come through.”
She ended the call. Entering the building, she took the elevator to the 3rd floor, then bolted down the hallway. It had been too long since she’d seen him. She used her key, letting herself in.
“Babe?” she entered a dark apartment. Fumbling for the switch, she heard growling behind her. He wrapped his arms around her waist. She screamed, laughing, as he attacked her with kisses.
Ziggy and Jean fell onto the couch. He kissed her, slipping a square of paper under her tongue. Colors ran through her mouth, and so did he.
Shadows stretched up the walls. Ziggy popped a sheet under his tongue, his laughter sliding under her ribs as his hands slid up her chest. She used to flinch when men touched her chest, but Zigg
  FFM 15: The DollThe season was just beginning to grow cold on the morning that Lady Stardust's Sweet Dreams Caravan rattled into my village.  Four wagons had appeared on the road in a line, accompanied by three men on horseback, inciting murmurs and excitement amongst the villagers.  It had been years since performers had visited, and the majority of us watched as they set up on the outskirts of town.  My father had warned me to be careful of the outsiders, insisting that men of the road did scary things to little girls, but his admonitions would have meant more if he hadn't been so excited to have his fortune read.
By that evening, assorted tents had sprung up around the over-sized wagons, and the village crowded in for entertainment.  The adults flocked to have their cards laid out, or to buy a miracle tonic for whatever assorted ailments afflicted them.  The children, though, could only hear one cry over the crowds:
"Come and buy my toys!" 
FFM 2015 28: Space Oddity in TerraThis story is about a man who fell to earth. The lightyear-long drop maimed this space oddity, left a flapping wound between his legs. His raygun was unceremoniously confiscated. His helmet was ripped off, and a new one with a shimmering black cape was jammed down his hyperventilating head. He was shoved into a line of shuffling feet—the Space Oddity Assembly. Different planets, same predicament. However, they were not permitted to converse as they marched to their new home.
To survive in Terran environment, he learned, he must abide by the rules under pain of excommunication—he could be stripped naked and hurled back in space. The rules were not etched onto ancient scrolls, but were whispered to him by the heavy-haired Terran wenches who followed his every step with narrowed eyes. He was obligated to trace his cheekbones with a miniscule circular sponge because, as the Terrans said, this color lights up your face. He traded his spaceman suit for silver parachutes an
Raknar ReturnsHe'd travelled over the hills and far away, off the edge of the map to the furthest reaches of fiction. He'd slain every beast, and bested every challenger. With no lands left to conquer, he began to thirst for his throne.
Now was the hour of Raknar's return.
He hadn't expected to find himself deposed.
“Who art thou?” demanded Raknar.
The goblin king stammered, his eyes unable to break from Raknar's magical lollipop axe.
“I- I- I'm the goblin king,” he managed eventually.
“You dare sit on that throne before Raknar the Ruthless? I who left these halls a king and return now as a GOD?”
“W- Well, goblin king is j- just my name, I'm actually a democratically elected-”
“SILENCE, FOOL! I have matched wits with the red wyrm of the lonely mountain and won. I have sung the songs of the purple dinosaur, and torn out his tongue so that I am their sole master. Your words are the inarticulate noise of a squalling child, and nothing more.”
T
  Rebel, Rebel"Can I stay here?" a figure pleads, standing in front of a doorway and hugging himself. "Just for tonight. Please?"
"Uhh... Sure, babe, sure," a voice from inside says.
"Thanks, Bryan." The figure wipes his eyes before slowly entering through the open door.
"No prob, Chris," Bryan says, closing the door behind him with a soft creak before following Chris to the living room. The floor was carpeted and there was a couch in the middle of the room. A small table stood a few feet in front of it and a TV system was set up against the wall. The light was on and some music was playing.
"Is that David Bowie?" Chris asks.
"Umm... Yeah."
"Oh."
There was a brief silence as the two sit on the couch, listening to the speakers.
"So," Bryan begins, "you okay?"
"Yeah, it's just--my parents, you know?"
"Oh. They, uhh... found out about us?"
Chris shook his head, "no, my father just--shit--I couldn't take it anymore. He just exploded and..."
"Oh. Your mom okay with it?"
"She tries," Chris says, biting hi
FFM 2014, July 26 - Putting Out Fire With GasolineIt wasn’t incest. Melinda felt nothing but maternal love when she caressed the Furatar of her deceased son: it wasn’t her fault the only kind of caress the cat-human hybrid could understand was the sexual.
The sole thing that remained of her son, Jeremy, purred in her arms, satisfied and spent, and he finally let her just hold him to her. Everything that came before was just a mildly unpleasant type of foreplay. This was the real reason she came down here: to lie with the simulacrum of her son in her arms. Melinda wasn’t ready to let go.
She stroked his brow, let her fingers caress his cheekbones and lips. These were the most human parts, although no cat had ever had the limbs, or size, of the hybrid. The body was strangely feminine, petite and lithe and everything Jeremy hadn’t been. First she had called the creature ‘it’, but as time went on, ‘he’ felt more and more appropriate.
“How are you, Jerry?” Melinda asked in a low v
  Crash CourseLianna's eyeballs were sore and she saw kaleidoscopic visions of Madonnas, angels, and Jesuses, but still she continued her crash course in art. It was the only way she could redeem herself to Jean-Paul; it was the only way he'd pick her over the others who swooned over his French charm. He'd laughed at her for liking pop art – he found her explanation on Warhol's creativity to be pretentious and dull. He told her that she was the kind of American who wanted the art world to have been born in America. And then he decided he'd humiliate her. "Name a famous painting by Raphael," he'd said, and  of course she should have come right out with The School of Athens, but she'd forgotten everything about Raphael then so she just stood there, looking at him like he was going to go on. "Right then," he'd said. "Go back to your soup cans."
She'd questioned her effort in trying to gain the approval of someone who was such a Jacques-ass. On the other hand, he was smart, attract
FFM28 - FollyAn interstellar trip away from paradise. A galactic paradigm flip, an assault to my eyes. A rude awakening, this. An unexpected turn of events. Far from eternal bliss, former stability rent. Thrown to earthly exile, as if a piece of rubbish, on to this fetid pile with nothing but a promise. A smile and a handshake. So easily received. A smile and a handshake. So easily deceived.
Oozing charisma and charm, magical words took hold. Comforting and warm, so willing to be sold. The promise of it all, so easily conceived. The promise of it all, so easily believed.
The world, I was told by the beautiful being, needed to be sold and it needed freeing. Would I save the two, for only a pittance? Would I pay the dues, a transcendental remittance? The beautiful being, was it male or female? The beautiful being was about to make a sale.
I agreed, despite my lofty place. I agreed to the transaction. I fell to Earth, I fell from grace, a violent extraction. So foolish to be taken in by a beautiful de
FFM15 - 28: The Spiders of MarsI’d seen a lot of things in Magic Dance, but nothing like this. I sat at the bar, sipping a Moonage Daydream, no different to any other night, when she walked in. Legs like pins, and a head of the thickest blond locks you’ve ever seen.
She took the stool next to me. “Space Oddity,” she said in a voice deeper than Sinatra’s. The bartender placed a blue-green drink on the bar in front of her.
“I’m Ziggy,” she said, Adam’s apple bouncing up and down.
I gave a small nod. “John,” I managed. The next words just slipped out. “What are you?”
She smiled and winked. “Whatever the world needs me to be.”
I was saved from making further conversation when the door swung open again and a young couple entered. The guy stopped half way across the bar and threw his arms up. “Why, if it isn’t our own Lady Stardust,” he cried.
“Take a seat, love” Ziggy waved him over. “Jaret
FFM 26: ChangesEverything changed for Janine the first time she slept with a man, if one could even call him that.  It didn’t change her life in the ways that her church or mother wanted her to think it would, though; she didn’t feel dirty or violated, and she certainly didn’t feel more like a woman.
It had been a long day of fighting the good fight and her feet were sore, but Berkeley had a million ways to relax after a hard day.  As the sun set, parties came alive across the Bay Area, and it was easy to find a couch to melt into, even if you didn’t know the person who owned the house.
“Now I just wish I had a joint,” she joked to Rosalyn, one of the other activists.  They both had their feet propped up on a battered old ottoman in some crappy house just off-campus.  The party hadn’t really begun yet, and she didn’t even see him coming until he held the joint in front of her face.
“Your wish is my command,” the stranger
A Journey From A - ZThe meeting between the dictionary’s owner and the words’ representatives, ‘spaceman’ and ‘codpiece’ was not going well.
“You’ve got to understand,” said the owner. “Nobody uses paper dictionaries any more. I can look up everything online.”
“But this is our home!” said spaceman.
“And you can’t just cast us out into Outer Space!” said codpiece. “Where will we go?”
The owner shrugged. “I don’t care. I’ve sold the dictionary to a recycling company and you’ve got 24 hours to vacate the pages.”
All the words were packing up their definitions and getting ready to leave.
“It’s for the best really,” said spaceman, as it folded its definition. “We should have made the move to Online ourselves ages ago. We’ll find a nice little prefabricated website and add our own touches. It’ll be fine.”
“If you say so…
  ffm 26 - January 8th2010, January 8th
“Don't touch my stuff, buttface.”
Johnny snatched the plastic Star Trek man out of Hermoine's hand before she could blink. She didn't even want to play with it, but it made him angry. And that was always hilarious.
“I'm just looking---”
“You want to look, buy your own,” he said.
He smacked her hand when she tried to grab another. He was always so particular about his sci-fi crap---Star Trek, Star Wars, Babylon Five, Battlestar Galactica, and a dozen more she couldn't remember. The only two she could sort of stomach were Doctor Who and Firefly, but they didn't rate high enough for him to buy any of their action figures. Or maybe he skipped them because he knew she sort of didn't hate those shows.
“Just get out,” he said, “I don't want you in here.” He wrenched open the door. It wasn't the first time they'd faced off like this. It was a daily ritual. She'd go in his room and mess with his stuff. He'd get red fa
FFM 2015: We are the deadIt is 5:15 and the Angels have gone, leaving unholy contrails of light behind them as they ascend into the atmosphere, gleaming like blackened sunshine.
Driving down Boulevard with the top down, we have a clear view of the spectacle, and Ziggy is sitting in the back of the car, head thrown back to the sky as she laughs like a maniac.
Seven days until the exodus begins, and all of humanity is in syzygy, consumed with the upsurge of feeling that has accompanied the new angels of promise and their stories of a better future. We’re still jazzing on stardust from the night before, but even without that cosmic buzz there’s something in the air, and I keep forgetting how close we came to just ending it all.
The impending end of the world tends to drive people a little crazy, and out of our whole gang only Jareth looks indifferent, the self-appointed Buddha of suburbia, cool and enigmatic as ever.
I can’t even explain how we got here, but I pity the fool I was five years ago.
Her Sunken Dream“Now, you’re a cannish guy. Know how I can tell? Because you’re here! Everyone else is either skreeking out into space or digging down as far as they can go. But you...you know how to think outside the box! No point digging a massive bunker if some snaggly bomb scores a direct hit. No point running off all the way to Mars only to starve when you get there either. Yessir, the sea’s the place to be! Far enough from the bombs to be safe, not so far that you’re stuck there when the danger’s over. So.” Esteban smiled and took the expensive pen from his pocket. “Shall I put you down for the basic package, or will sir be upgrading to the deluxe?”
***
Five years later, Esteban Mosquera was no longer so enthusiastic about his underwater habitat. Living beneath the waves had been quite a selling point before the war—and still hadn’t lost all its novelty—but the structure itself was a god-awful small affair. To begin with, if
The Man Who (unwittingly) Sold the WorldBy: Marshall Norman McCarthy
Zooma,’ the oddly tall, gangly man in the faded red suit greeted Johnny with a smile that did not reach his blue eyes.
‘Uh, hey,’ he offered, shifting to pass him on the stairs. There was something familiar about the man’s gaunt face, but Johnny was sure that he’d never seen him in the building before. ‘Have a good one,’ he called back, deeply instilled politeness bringing out the pleasantry.
‘Pardon me?’
Damnit. ‘Hmm?’ he paused between steps, looking back at the strange man.
‘You said, “Have a good one”, but I’m confused. What “ones” do you speak of?’
What is this guy, from Mars or something? ‘Um, a good, whatever, I suppose.’
‘Whatever?’
‘Yeah, sure man, like, whatever you want to have that is good, have it…’ Johnny inwardly groaned at the gracelessness of his explanation
FFM - July 26, 2013 - Survive the Next DayLife on Mars? Well, that had been the plan, until that fateful night. (Night? Day? Time was an oddity in space.)
I still woke in terror sometimes, wrenching myself out of nightmares about metal screeching, smashed by freak space debris, as our ship got knocked off course. I still remember my panic attempts to radio the Mars station, hearing only static from our ruined comm equipment, as I watched the orange planet cruise by, so close. I remember feeling the shuddering beneath my feet, the stench of dirty diapers, and the soft folds of Kacy's baby blanket in my hands.
Not knowing whether the damage was minor or soon to be lethal, I clung to her. Kacy screamed, and I had held her in mortal fear, unsure whether I was comforting her or she me. "It's okay, baby. It'll be fine. We'll land soon."
"Gyahhhhhhhhhwahah!" (I'm sure that was baby-speak for "It is NOT okay, you liar!")
The damage must have been minor. Other than the radio and engines, everything on the ship kept functioning flawless
Move On“Aladdin Al-Malik sells ichorous planet to Cygnet Committee Research.” It was only a footnote in the financial news, but I can't explain how it changed my world.
Me, my mother, and our cat, Spider, traveled to a  backwater planet, one station to station transfer after another, dozens of  little jumps from my childhood home on Mars to some place so new that it didn't have a real name. Life on Mars had seemed so hectic once, but sitting in my tin can of a room was crushing me, little by little.
“It'll be tough at first,” my mother said to me in our little habitat pod, as she unpacked her things, “but five years will fly by when you look back on this.” When I said nothing, she went on, “there are other families at this outpost, and I'm sure you'll make new friends.”
I took a long time, just listening to Spider purr in my lap, before I said, “I feel free.” I laid a hand on the window. Our tiny domicile was hermetically s
FFM 2012, July 25 - Let's DanceThey were playing David Bowie as dancing music, someone's gleamin' white laptop connected to the speakers. Waif-like chicks with big glasses, men dressed like fags and women. They didn't make no god-damned sense to me. Talking about books and smoking, smoking, smoking. Some of 'em were dancing ironically to Bowie.
Let's sway
while color lights up your face
Let's sway
sway through the crowd to an empty space

I saw you, and I knew you weren't one of 'em. Dancin' to the music, there weren't no irony in you. I went up to you, and I knew I saw your eyes lit up but you looked away. I smiled and offered you a beer. You shook yer head – ya know, like they do when it's not beer they want, and then you turned around to go.

If you say run, I'll run with you
If you say hide, we'll hide
Because my love for you
Would break my heart in two

I loved ya right away, and you loved me – I just knew it. I went after you, out back, where there were no people. We made out, ro
Coulda Been BowieDave's fingers clicked with arthritis. He'd never got that part. Pull on your finger. What was that, a fart joke? So many of those lyrics just seemed to be stuffing. But that's the way it always was. And to think they practically made a religion out of it. Okay, the shit in the charts nowadays might not have any meaning at all but at least it doesn't make any bones about it. There's no pretence. Don't let the sun blast your shadow, don't let the milk float rob your mind. What the hell was that about? You're so natural. Religiously unkind. It felt like it meant something, but Dave couldn't tell you what it was. But your faith's your faith, thought Dave, you don't question it.
The song played on as Dave looked around the room. Green and purple psychedelic swirls that he'd painted himself many moons ago. Threadbare sofa, pockmarked with hot rock holes. The carpet growing its own pattern of overlapping beer spills. Ashtrays lost in cigarette butts. Rubbish piled up like little lunar landsc
My Knee Hurts and I Hate David BowieThey're at it again.
I've grabbed the broom and smacked the handle against the ceiling, but the neighbours upstairs take no notice. I think about calling the police, but I hate doing that without at least talking to them. Everybody deserves that chance, I think. Still, the prospect of standing outside their door and talking to them isn't one that sits comfortably. When I think I'm going to explode if I have to listen to another second, I give in.
I power up the stairs like nobody's business, and pound on their door. I'd knock like a normal person, but if they can't hear the broom hitting their floor, they won't hear a knock, either. Finally, after what feels like an eternity, the door opens and sound washes over me in a wave that's all but solid.
The figure in the doorway looks like a reject from an 80's concert. He's got a blinkin' mullet, and he sparkles... but he's got nothin' on the fella behind him. Bloody queer's wearing a dress, and more makeup than an entire row of beaut
  FFM 25: Trying Hard as Babe Could TryCharlie had barely looked up from her sketch pad  when the door dinged to let her know that there was a customer in the store, so while she knew that he was there, she hadn’t realized that he had found what he needed and come up to the register.
“You remind me of the babe,” he said.
Charlie looked up, startled. It was one of the regulars, but she never bothered to remember any of their names. Gwen was the exception, but she was too likeable to not talk to. This guy, though, used to be one of the rockers from high school who never quite grew out of long hair and a sneer. He came in every day, or every other day and got coffee and a doughnut. Charlie stared at him for a moment longer before saying: “Excuse me?”
“You know, the babe with the power.” He was smiling like she should know what he was talking about, and she thought she might and hoped she was wrong.
“What power?” she asked, suspiciously.
He brightened even more
PeachesIt started when she was 18. The day she was ready to graduate high school and get ready to go to college, she bit into a piece of toast in the morning. Except instead of toast, it was like biting into a juicy peach.  
Sarah ran to the bathroom and spit out the toast, blaming it on the nerves of getting ready to graduate high school. They would all think she was mad if she told them that her toast had tasted like peaches.
The odd peach flavored thing never really went away. The entire time she was in college, whenever something particularly bland and unappetizing was served in the cafeteria, she would occasionally bite into something to find it tasted like a peach. On rare occasions, the flavors were different, like the time that she ready to force herself to swallow the days offering of a peanut butter and banana fried sandwich, only to discover that it tasted like a roast beef and pepper jack melt. That had been a particularly good surprise.
There were odder things that happened too.
  FFM: Bowie ChallengeTime offered her a cigarette; lit it, fingers shaking. He'd dismissed the hasty sandwiches laid out on the table. "You don't eat when you live too long," he'd said, grinning that uncanny smile, hesitant and manic and beautiful all at once. A girl could fall in love, no matter how pragmatic.
The lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling cast a shady light, golden and seedy, shadows pooling on the bits of junk that were piled into the corners of the room. In the centre under the spotlight, waited the statue. Shrouded, veiled in white, its shape outlined by vague protuberances beneath the cloth.
'Grinning soul' he'd called it, catching sight of its face. A glimpse of the infinite, star-man. It was of course a reflection of his self, as she had first seen him when he arrived, sooty and stinking of smoke, and bearing all the gifts of the world and the weight of the stars cupped in his thin white hands.
She smoked her cigarette leisurely, then finished the sandwich, chewing mechanically, her
It Ain't EasyJones dug his fingers into the earth, found a hard shelf of rock to pull against and hoisted himself up and over the ledge onto the top of the mountain.
From here he could look out on the city spread before him, and the sea stretching from the edge of the rooftops to the horizon at the edge of the world.
He'd worked so many days in a row that he'd lost count. The overtime wages would make it up though. Maybe once he'd climbed back down and caught a few hours sleep, he could buy his young woman something nice. There were shops in the garment district where he could get a nice summer dress for a fair price, he'd not seen her much and she'd been so patient with him. A nice piece of fabric with a splash of colour and a walk into the hills in the evening would be just the thing.
"Jones," the sound reached up from the houses below, muffled by the laundry strung between windows, but still carried on the summer wind. "Jones?" she yelled again. He smiled. She'd been sleeping when he came home f
The ToymakerHe lived and worked in a cottage by the market square.  Once a month we were each given a silver coin and allowed to walk there on our own, the seven of us.  Always the grown-ups kept some money from the harvest in a wooden chest.  They never had to lock this chest, just as their parents never had to lock it, or their parents before them.
'The funny thing,' my grandmother said, 'is that he was old back then as well.'
Often we bought sweets.  Sometimes we bought things to keep.  I once saved up all my silver for months in order to buy a beautiful waxen doll.  Then my little cousin Celia wanted one too, and saved up just as I had done.  She always came to the shop with us, to look, but was determined not to part with her money until she could afford the doll.  My brothers and hers used to try and tempt her with sugar and gingerbread, whereupon I would take down the doll and say, 'Remember her, Celia. 
FFM Day 15: The Loneliest GuyThe clock on the wall ticks mutedly as I stare at my computer screen. There is nothing there, only—
There is nothing there.
…there is nothing there.
I hit the small x in the corner of the screen and the picture disappears.
-
I can't blame her, I think as I sit against the back of the building. My hands clench around the tall grass that grows back here. I can't blame her at all.
The muggy air presses down on me. No blame, no blame.
-
The graffiti scrawled on the brick wall is familiar and comforting. Thunder rumbles in the distance and I figure I should probably go inside before I'm drenched.
Instead, I stare at the graffiti.
A dog barks, scolding me.
-
She was high-maintenance and very exacting. A cross between a brat and an obsessive-compulsive. I'm lucky I don't have to deal with her anymore.
I tell it to her tombstone every time I visit. She doesn't reply.
-
I'm not lonely. I'm lucky.
She still doesn't reply.
-
The clock on the wall ticks mutedly as I stare at my co
25: from the sky"Why do we never get the thunderstorms?"
Suzie stared at the sky with wide eyes, willing even a scrap of cloud into the endless faded blue. Rain would be nice; her parents would be pleased, but she just wanted clouds to watch as they curled and twisted and scaled across the sky.
"I don't believe in thunderstorms." Her cousin Wes liked to scoff, especially at girls. "I don't believe they ever existed."
Suzie frowned at him. "Did too. You'll see, this summer you'll see!"
She had been saying the same thing for seven years.
Seven years ago was when Wes had started living with them for the summer, in between the school years. Once he had arrived straight after his final day, sleepy-eyed and bookworn, and slept for 14 hours straight. Suzie never slept that long. She always woke up thirsty.
Humming filled the air, growing stronger, and she and Wes looked up. A yellow sky was the last thing she saw until she was pressed into the ground, gasping through the dust as her chest squeezed and flashe
  Ziggy Played GuitarHe picked up the 'guitar' and dropped it.
"Dang it."
He picked it up again, but this time he used four hands instead of two. It kind of worked. Steadying himself in three legs, Ziggy tried to strum the instrument and fell over.  The guitar went flying across the floor and made a noise that hurt his ear canals. The sounds that travelled from earth were much better- probably in part because the creatures playing the instrument could hold them without falling over. He needed something to fix that. He couldn't change the instrument, because that would ruin it. It wouldn't be a humans guitar if he changed it. He wanted to play the guitar. Ziggy lifted himself up on all eight feet and hissed at the computer.
"I need to be human for this."
He couldn't waste the entire trip from Mars to get this thing without even being able to play it. He tapped a few feet as the computer worked on his problem. The guitar lay on the floor across the room. The time telling devices had been set to hum
  FFM23: HomeThe radio finally went dead, and Tom Winchester's blood ran cold.  He listened to the static for a minute, waiting for some sign of connection, and turned the knob down with a numb hand.
When it was announced that he would be the first astronaut to pilot a manned ship into deep space, the "Major Tom" jokes had run rampant.  Those had been a lot funnier before the ship actually started to fail.  Engines had been down for a week by his watch, but days and nights meant nothing out here, let alone weeks.  Life support was failing and running down piece by piece, so that he was confined to an insulated suit and helmet for warmth.  An emergency light still worked in the cockpit, but otherwise he navigated the small ship entirely by the flashlight mounted on the helmet.
He had enough protein pills to last him a life time, and enough clean water to exist for at least another two weeks, even with filtration down.  But what was the poin
  FFM 25: Major Tom's Dilemma    "Welcome home," the Ambassador had said upon receiving Major Tom Winchester from the dead tincan he called a spaceship.  Or at least, he had called it a ship, prior to being taken aboard the Virmorr's oddly nebulous vessel.  One of the quantum mechanics had tried to explain to him how the ship existed in multiple dimensions, but it was too much for his head.  He couldn't even begin to pronounce the name of the ship, but they told him that the closest equivalent in English was TVC15, but with the 1 only softly pronounced.
    'Welcome home,' indeed, he pondered after days aboard the ship.  The Virmorr had made his stay remarkably comfortable, despite the differences in physiology.  They breathed on a different plane of existence, but the organic parts of their ship required oxygen, so it was only a small adjustment to keep him alive.  He lacked their soft, translucent bodies, b
Hazy Cosmic FeelIt's a ritual of theirs: they meet out in his backyard, at midnight. They're just two kids who like to dream and stare at the stars when everybody else is sleeping. It started out as a constellation mapping project back in junior high earth science class. Now they are both older, insomniatic and sick of all that homework in their senior year of high school. They're tired of never getting any sleep, but they stay awake to spend time with the stars they love.
She's a storyteller; he's the philosopher, both trying to understand their place in the world by discussing life and what it means. Every night, they lay in the long grass of the field behind the public library and let the stars take them away from reality.
The summer after they graduated from their small-town high school, they had stopped meeting every night. She was busy with her friends, going out every night and trying to make sense of this new found freedom. He's sitting at home with the guys, always playing video games and let
  FFM 2014 26 - Radio ContactOne nuclear war later, and the Earth is a barren rock. The astronauts aboard the International Space Station saw it happen, but my post was on the Moon Satellite, orbiting around its namesake.
Fortune did not favor my orbit during the drops. I couldn't maintain radio contact while it was going on. As the bombs fell, I sat in eerie silence. I didn't read, I couldn't. I didn't listen to music, I didn't want to.
So I sat in the middle of the floor in my tiny office and waited, rocking back and forth; completely naked and hugging my knees.
Time passed.
Then time seemed to stop passing. I was rotating back into view of Earth and radio contact with the ISS. I didn't want to be naked, even over the radio.
I owned business suits, plaid skirts, jeans, even regular t-shirts. I settled on the professional white button-up under black vest over black dress pants. The world doesn't end every day.
I turned on my radio and was greeted by the sound of fading static. I sat at my desk and waited for the
ScavengersWe had a normal life until he took me to that club. We went to work, came home, slept and got up the next day to do it all over again. But when he told me about a sky of diamonds I had to follow and the world we entered changed me forever.
I hadn’t believed him when he told me. I hadn’t believed a place could be that beautiful but he was right. We had stepped into the club and looked up to find that there was no ceiling but a night sky that stretched out far into the distance. Stars danced above us on an inky background while people danced below and it felt like we were surrounded by sparkling diamonds.
I hadn’t been intrigued by the club – it didn’t look any different than the other clubs from the outside. There was a huge neon sign over the double doors that had been twisted into the shape of a howling dog’s head. It read ‘The Diamond Dogs’ and we had joined the queue, pulling our jackets closer as the rain started again. It didn’
FFM 2013, July 26 - The Tale of Archie SpoonerGive me a listen and I'll you the story of Archie, Archie Spooner, and how his life was turned around twice. Archie was born in 1948, and in those days people just thought Archie was a little special, or weird, not that he might've had some kind of brain damage. His parents were well-meaning middle class folk, though, so he grew up all right, despite being weird.
See, whenever Archie got under pressure, his speech would get all funny. I'm not just talking marrowskys either - like saying "Would you like a nasal hut?" when he meant "a hazel nut" - I mean he'd literally start making up words. "Hiss and leer snibsnod, I'm not so sure that's a good idea!". The weirdest thing was Archie wouldn't fess up to the words being made up! "Snibsnod is a perfectly crimpant word."
This weirdness of his was what turned his life around the first time. He'd just made the move to the East Coast, finding himself out of his depth in a San Fran filled with beatniks. They simultaneously made him very happy, a
The Bewlay Brothers        I came to this world unwashed and somewhat slightly dazed. He followed quickly after me, filthy just as I was. Two dirty boys.
   "Reku," I said.
   "Reku," he echoed. Food, why couldn't they understand? He always understood me, like he was a part of me. Two bodies of the same soul. We had been strangers when we met, now we were more than friends. More than best friends. Soulmates. The only one I would ever have.
We were the Bewlay brothers, Arthur and Victor.
        Three years later they left. Mother smothered us with kisses, tears dropping on our skin. They were wet and warm, mixing with the falling rain. Father didn't say a word. I would remember that Sunday forever. Spring was in the air, bringing a fresh scent of roses and newly sprung trees. The birds were singing in our ears. They were mocking us, I knew.
   "First they give you everything that you want," they said, "then they take back everything th
FFM15 - On TimeYou're never on time.  
The yellow plastic benches at the station are always cold.  Do you remember how long you waited here, that one time?  That night where it snowed and snowed, and the trains stalled on the rails so long, you were sure they'd either been iced over or rusted into place.  That night you waited for her, no gloves and no hat, refusing to wrap your hands in the scarf you'd bought for her in a brown paper bag, tucking it beneath the bench to keep it dry.  The plastic seat had never warmed against your body, even after all that time.  
You waited for three hours, and she said sorry when she finally stepped out into the foot of snow, but even then you knew: you would never be on time.  
You were never on time.  
You glance down the tracks, but there are no trains in sight.  Nowadays, you seem to appear at the station only when it's empty, anyway.  There isn't even any trash
  To The Left"Goodnight, Emily." Her mother kissed her forehead and tucked her in.
"Goodnight mommy." Before her mom even shut the lights out and left the room, her eyes began to gently close.
The library was a little fuzzy, but it was packed with all sorts of people, and the overworked librarians were very busy sending people to the appropriate room. Emily approached a desk where an old man with tall, frizzy hair that was badly in need of a combing sat. Papers of all colors were scattered in mountains all over his desk. Emily thought he looked funny in his red and white polka-dot bow tie, baby blue suit, and mustard-schemed plaid shirt.
"Name, please."
"Emily Holmes."
A rainbow of papers shot into the air as he began to fly through them on his desk. "Emily Holmes... Emily Holmes... Holmes... Ah! Here's your chart. Oh, I'm sorry dearie, you'll be going to the left tonight." He put his hand into his coat pocket and pulled out a tiny, yellow index card, and scribbled some words on it in blue ink. "He
  FFM 2015, July 28 - A Better FutureFifteen years ago one starry night, a man fell into our back yard from the sky.
My mother called him Ziggy Stardust (she was a big Bowie fan) since he didn't remember anything about himself. I was around ten, and thought Ziggy was the coolest thing ever. My mom took him in and hid him from the police and the tattle-tale neighbours. The policemen were still wearing uniforms back then, not combat armor, and they would knock and talk instead of just coming through the door with a ram and their assault rifles. But everyone knew a copper was bad news, even back then.
Ziggy was pretty special. Even as a man he was androgynous. Skinny, with long hair and soft hands. Back then I wanted to be a man anyway, so he was perfect. We played in the local woods, cops and protesters: he was the protester, I was the cop. He'd put flowers in my pretend-gun, but I didn't see the point: it could still fire.
We turned into women together. I was in eight grade when I started noticing the changes in my body, a


It's a large feature, we know, but you guys are just so awesome that we couldn't narrow it down. If you feel the need for more Bowie, the entire collective offerings of all the FFM David Bowie Days can be found here in this nifty favorites folder, so please browse through the rest of the stories there. Let us know which DBD stories are your favorites, and if you think we've missed out on a particularly wonderful story, feel free to drop us a link in the comments below.

Likewise if anyone has any interesting ideas for our 2016 Extra Special David Bowie Day challenge, let us know in the comments and perhaps we'll make you into an honorary tentacle (because who wouldn't want to be one of those?!).

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:iconshadowedacolyte:
ShadowedAcolyte Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2015
Song Prompt For Next Year: www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7SouU…
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:icontoxic--sunrise:
toxic--sunrise Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2015
Any luck with judging entries? :(
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:iconev13il:
eV13il Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2015
So....any progress with judging entries? I saw the journal bout asking for weeks one and two, but after that, nothing. and now here we are in august and it looks like it all died away ):
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:iconflash-fic-month:
Flash-Fic-Month Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2015
We're actually busy with it at the moment. Life has been horribly uncooperative and wouldn't allow us to do anything until now, but we are getting to everything (slowly).
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:iconev13il:
eV13il Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2015
I'm just glad to hear you're still alive and kicking over there! Life sucks, sadly, but it's great to see you guys aren't giving up c:
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:iconflash-fic-month:
Flash-Fic-Month Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2015
True masochists never give up. =p
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(1 Reply)
:iconayeaye12:
AyeAye12 Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2015  Student Writer
Hey, just wanted to check if it was okay for me and palladium-smoothie 's entries to be counted under the same person? Since Palladium is my alt I use for weird stuff, yet a few stories I have also done under this account too. Cheers in advance :meow:
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:iconflash-fic-month:
Flash-Fic-Month Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2015
Yup
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:iconayeaye12:
AyeAye12 Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2015  Student Writer
Thank you very much! ^__^
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