The Iron Writer Challenge #55 – 2014 Iron Writer Spring Equinox Challenge #5

snow rollers 2

The Iron Writer Challenge #55

2014 Iron Writer Spring Equinox Challenge #5

Four Authors!

Four Elements!

Four Days!

500 Words!

The Authors:

Brick Martin  Miranda Hawley  Patricia Stirnkorb  Steve Bergeron

The Elements:

Snow Rollers

A Harpy

A Nail Gun

A Motorcycle Airbag

Meanwhile, on the Planet of Vector Boink…

Brick MarlinBrick Marlin

A robot with the symbol of a harpy etched across its chest held the sphere in its metal claw, curious to what the thing was and what was moving around inside of it.

“Gimmee back the sphere, Tinky!” Jeb demanded.

Tinky’s cyclopean eye blinked.

“I said, gimmee back the sphere!”

Tinky blinked again.

Jeb ran a hand over his green-skinned cloned face, spat tobacco juice and slid off his hover bike with the dysfunctional airbag. “Tinky, that doesn’t belong to you.”

The purple light at the tip of Tinky’s antenna winked. His metal maw opened wide and he swallowed the Sphere.

“Hopping Holly with a neon afro from Nector-7!” Jeb spat. “Why’d you go and do that for?”

Tinky giggled and clanked off.

“Aw, Saturn rings and alien baby wipes!” As much as he hated to do it – really and truly hated to do it because he liked Tinky – Jeb huffed, bent one knee down in the snow, took aim using his rifle. Using his peripheral vision, he made darn sure to keep a lookout for Snow Rollers, cylinder snowmen who loved crashing into victims – much like having a snowball fight with someone, each of you having a very large, exploding snowball.

Jeb’s laser shot missed the robot as it clanked off into a Jupiter-like fogbank.

“Gosh-um-ah-bob!” Jeb spat and rocketed after the machine using his Infrared Bot Finder.




Jeb cursed. No time to reboot! Tinky was getting away!

Clank, clank, clank

Into the fog Jeb sprinted and…slid to a stop. An idea sparked in his brain. He still had his internal backup radar sensor!

Switching it on, Tinky’s location instantly popped up.

The robot was taking leaps and bounds in the snow.

Jeb took aim.

Tinky was in mid-leap when Jeb’s shot slammed into the side of the bot’s head, knocking him sideways, crashing into the cold ground.

Jeb stood over Tinky while the robot made the sound of blowing a raspberry, much like a Gatlin gun-sounding fart.

Nevertheless, Jeb pried open the robot’s chest to retrieve the sphere. The little chunky Earth kid was still inside, still holding the bag of Pop Rock Neuron candy.


In a large room, Jeb shook his finger at the kid in the sphere and withdrew his candy. He was not pleased with the child. It seemed as if human children were the worst at being mischievous little thieves, unlike the other kids in his collection, the ones from other galaxies.

He dropped the sphere in a tank filled with clear liquid. He secured it shut using a nail gun.


Later, another sphere escaped…

Inside, the little girl’s legs moved as fast as they could, propelling the sphere into a graveyard.

A timer chimed inside a tombstone in the shape of an alien creature.

Clawed fingers tore out of the ground and snatched the sphere.

A faint scream was heard, then a…gulp!

Shadow of the MountainMiranda Hawley

Miranda Hawley

There really is nothing like a winter in ski country.  The crystal white powder is in the blood.   Charlie tumbled out of bed, and started to get dressed.  The mountain people were like onions- covered in layers.

Sandy also rolled out of bed as Charlie finished pulling on his boots.  This was the morning ritual; wake up, get dressed, go to the door.  People get desperate and do stupid things.  Sandy would re-lock the bolt until she went to work at the mall.  Rich people love to shop.

Stretching to tip toe, she said good-bye.  Charlie did not know when Sandy got the tattoo on her arm, but the bubble gum pink harpy always stared at him.  He kissed her rosy lips, and gave her a tight squeeze before turning to the hall.

The leather chaps and jacket did little to keep out the cold, but did wonders for the biting wind.  Charlie sauntered up to his pride and joy; a Gold Wing, equipped with airbag, sat in his parking spot.  The coal black stood out against the crystal white of the snow.  He caressed the tank, where “Chuck” was written in crimson.  He turned her over, and let the purr of the engine seep into his bones.

Each turn from Glenwood Springs up to Aspen held a breath-taking beauty for the tourist.  Charlie had seen it all before.  Those snowcapped peaks hid lakes, and unlucky skiers, cast shadows over the slippery road.  His bike was his freedom, rumbling through the historic Victorian part of town.

Charlie turned down a lesser street.  At the end, were the bare bones of a house.  His construction contract had 3 weeks to get the house back up.  He parked, and started to take off the leather.  He stowed it all in the hidden saddle bags of the bike, and locked it.  Leather is not cheap to replace.


A man came hustling over from the ramshackle mobile office.  His boss, Tony, was huffing and puffs of vapor were trailing the rotund man.  It never was a good sign when the boss is waiting for you, Charlie thought.  Tony stopped, hunched over and panted.  When he looked up, his nose was like a cherry and his cheeks were already chapped from the wind.

“Charlie, got a sec this morning?” Without waiting, he pushed on.  “Firstly, you are nuts for driving that death machine to work.  What would I tell Sandy if you crashed?  Secondly, we need you to fix the nail gun.  Gunter managed to bust the air hose, and you can fix anything.  And lastly, go look on the back hill.  I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Charlie sighed.  This Floridian was only here because there was money to be made.  He walked to the gentle slope, and looked across the surface.  Snow rollers were an unusual phenomena, but not unheard of in a winter as inconsistent as this.  Still, he pulled out his phone and sent a picture to Sandy.

HenryPatricia Stirnkorb

Patricia Stirnkorb

The wind was vicious. The snow was blowing so hard it looked like a tornado at times and at other times straight line winds whipped snow rollers across the yard. Bridgett wondered if this nasty winter would ever end. Meanwhile, Henry, her pet Harpy which was a gift from her sister, was squawking in his cage. Even he was sick of the never-ending winter. He longed for Bridgett to let him out to chase the snow rollers. But the air was so cold, she was fearful he would get sick.

Bridgett’s husband Brent, and son Bosco, were working endlessly in the garage. Their latest invention, an airbag on her husband’s Harley Davidson, was sucking all their energy. Thankfully they had something, anything to do to keep them busy and out of her hair.  The idea of an airbag on a motorcycle was so bizarre, it was almost comical. But as Brent pointed out, a great number of motorcycle fatalities were due to the driver flipping over the handlebars. This over-sized airbag, when deployed, captured the driver and prevented him from flipping! Unfortunately they had little success at making the airbag fit snuggly into the handlebars without looking like a huge growth!

For the next two hours Bridgett, who was trying desperately to finish the latest copy of D-Y-I Magazine, could hear the BAM! BAM! BAM! of the nail gun. What in the world were they doing with the nail gun? She wondered, but had no desire to venture to the chill of the garage.

The clock on the mantel chimed 10 p.m. and before Bridgett could call them in from the garage, Brent and Bosco stood before her with giant smiles on their faces.

“Come and see what we built,” said Bosco. “You will LOVE it, Mom!”

“Yes, love it,” said Brent.

“Must I leave this warm cocoon of comforters to see what crazy thing you have concocted?”

“Yes!” said Bosco, “Please come, mom!”

Bridgett unwrapped herself and headed to the chilly garage. She glanced out the front window on her way, noticing that the wind continued to blow.  The snow rollers were bigger than Bridgett could remember, probably measuring 10 to 12 inches in diameter!

The garage had never been home to her mini-van, opting instead to be workshop, storage bin, play house and inventors lair.  They had turned off the lights to heighten the anticipation. As they stepped into the dark garage, Bosco flipped on the light. A gigantic bird cage occupied more than half of the garage! Made from scrap two-by-fours and chicken wire, they had constructed a new home for Henry! The massive “cage” was more like an aviary. Complete with a swing, ropes to climb, a corner nesting place and Bridgett’s silk plants and trees from off the patio. And above the door Bosco had carefully written with his childish hand, a quote from Jacques Deval: God loved the birds and invented trees. Man loved the birds and invented cages.

Bridgett’s mood improved and she knew spring was right around the corner.

Harpy Feats

Steven Bergeron

Steven Bergeron

“So Joe you’re actually going through with it.

“Whatever do you mean Andy?”

“Think of the consequences.”

“I try not to. For if Harpy has got it in him I have no worries in the world.”

“And another thing, why would anyone want to name their motorcycle Harpy. It doesn’t sound very dangerous to me.”

“On the contrary,  for if you remembered your Greek mythology Harpy was a brave winged spirit that stole food from Phineus. The only difference is that my Harpy steals air giving it added energy to soar to greater distances. Besides if Harpy doesn’t make it I’m sure Greta will?”

“Mythology. It’s always been Greek to me. Your old lady, she must rake you over the coals for referring to her mother as an air bag?”

“Are you kidding you should hear it when they are both together, I have dual ones. Now come on let’s call it a day. This nail gun deserves a well needed break.” I tossed my tools and in the back of my red 1980 Chevy Sonoma as we sped off the job site in search of harpy.

It was a cool winter evening as I rode Harpy to the shipyard for what possibly could be our last stunt. It was the life of an extreme racer. Today you’d be the pride of all fans, while tomorrow a distant memory. The stunt was all set up; fuel tanks where laying down three high and at least fifty feet long. The fresh coat of snow last night made it more difficult. The snow covering tanks made it look like those snow rollers I saw on the tube the other night from Texas. I had to plan it carefully for one false move would definitely cause a huge explosion.

“So you are actually going through with it?” Joe remarked looking more scared then I was at the moment.

“I don’t see I have a choice. I made a promise to all of my adoring fans. Quit now would only make me a coward.”

“Yah a dead one!”

It was now or never no longer delaying the inevitable. I began reving up Harpy with a little hesitation, as if harpy was saying do you have a death wish. After making a few round to speed things up I figured it was now or never. If I only knew the outcome I should have turned and run while a made the last turn. It was now to late as the front wheels of harpy has reached the off ramp as we went soaring through the air. Harpy has reached the forty-eight feet mark as I couldn’t believe it that we were actually going to make it. Then just at the last moment Harpy sputtered as it went down. Our hind wheels made contact with the corner of the final tank. The sparks made a huge explosion. So Harpy feat soaring over the tanks became our last. Damn you Harpy and by Greta look now what you have done.

4 thoughts on “The Iron Writer Challenge #55 – 2014 Iron Writer Spring Equinox Challenge #5

  1. I just had to post this here…loved the elements 🙂

    “Never Again”

    Escaping through the door, still clutching the paper bag, he slipped and slided to where he’d left his bike. No snow had fallen since entering but a cold penetrating wind had begun, cutting through his thick ski jacket and woollen undergarments. Climbing onto his bike, he placed the key into the ignition and fired her up. By his reckoning, he had a few minutes jump on the beast. With both feet on the ground, he rode his bike out of the carpark and took the quickest way home, along the farm road and through the forest. There was a loud smash behind him as though a window had been broken. It was free.
    “Goddamn it!”
    He revved his motorbike to max and sped down the road, hitting bumps and almost losing his seating once or twice. The bike bounced badly once more and he narrowly stopped himself from joining the large snow rollers in the fields to his left. Sighing with relief, he heard an ominous sound of beating wings overhead. With a screech, the Harpy divebombed him, scratching its claws into his helmet, but he swerved to the right preventing it from keeping its grip. It screamed in frustration as it saw the forest appear, forcing it to fly higher, unable to get to him.
    Once in the cover of the forest, the Harpy could only follow him from a distance and he felt safer. He looked up to see its progress and his bike hit a rock, sending it straight into a tree, head-on. Luckily, he’d listened to his uncle’s advice and bought a Honda Gold Wing with airbag instead of some fancy speed killer. But even with the airbag, his helmet broke in two and rather shakily, he picked up the paper bag and left his beloved bike, running through the deep snow in the direction of home.
    A few metres into the cover of the trees, he noticed Old Ted’s place, a small wooden hut, and he remembered something. Clearing the snow from the outside workbench, he found what he was looking for, Old Ted’s portable combustion nailer. Losing no time at all, he turned around and started shooting nails at the Harpy, who was now racing towards him on foot through the snow. The nails had no effect on the creature.
    He dropped the now useless nail gun and ran back into the forest, but to no avail, the Harpy clutched onto his back and flung him down into the soft virgin snow. Its claws ripped at his jacket and he could do nothing to stop its onslaught. The end had come.
    “Oh, all right, goddamn you!”
    He threw the paper bag as far away as possible and the Harpy scurried away to retrieve it. Searching in the snow, with a final screech it took the paper bag and devoured its contents. Sitting up watching, he pointed his finger at the beast.
    “But I’m telling ya, that’s the last time I’m taking you to KFC!”

  2. Miranda wrote: “Each turn from Glenwood Springs up to Aspen held a breath-taking beauty for the tourist.” I have driven that road over a hundred times. I could not disagree more. But beauty is in the writers eye. (Still reading the story)

    • I haven’t been that way in a decade, but I can’t imagine someone changing the idelic beauty. The road between is more awe inspiring than Vail. Simple truth, Vail is just off the highway; you have to want to go to Aspen. But Glenwood Springs is where its at for those who live in reality.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.