Apr 162015
 

MB title card

A silent film is a film with no synchronized soundtrack, particularly no spoken dialogue. Any dialogue is communicated via mime actions or title cards. The release of The Jazz Singer, the first talkie, in 1927 heralded the end of the silent film era. The 2011 Academy Award-winning silent film, The Artist, explores the effect the arrival of the talkies had on a famous silent film actor and the film industry in general. It is thought that over 70% of US silent films have been lost, either by being deliberately destroyed or due to the volatile nature of the cellulose nitrate film on which they were recorded.

The most famous silent film actor, Sir Charles Spencer ‘Charlie’ Chaplin, was born in London on this day in 1889. Chaplin’s career spanned 75 years, from his childhood to shortly before his death in 1977. He achieved worldwide fame and wealth with his silent film persona, The Tramp. Chaplin courted controversy during his career, and in 1952 he was prevented from re-entering the USA amid allegations he was a communist. Chaplin decided to cut his ties with the USA and settled in Switzerland where he remained until his death. A few months after his death, Chaplin’s coffin and remains were stolen in an attempt to extort money from his estate. The coffin was recovered and reburied under several feet of reinforced concrete.

A celebration of all things silent with this week’s photo prompt:

Photo Credit: Mark Hillary via CC.

Photo Credit: Mark Hillary via CC.

The Judge

Judging this week’s contest is Marie McKay, winner of MB1.07, MB1.25 and MB1.26. Read her winning stories here, and what she has to say about flash fiction here.

What?

A story of between 90 and 110 words starting with SILENT and ending with FILM and incorporating the photo prompt.

Who?

Anyone, but especially you!

Why?

Why not! Because it’s fun. Because it’s a challenge. Because the winner will receive their own winner’s page, their story on the winning stories list, a ‘who is the the author’ feature to be posted next week, entry into the ‘Micro Bookend of the Year’ competition, and a copy of this year’s winning stories compilation.

When?

Now! Get your entry in BEFORE 5:00 am Friday (UK time: http://time.is/London).

Where?

Here!

How?

Post your story in the comments section. Include the word count and your Twitter username (if you’re Twitterized). Don’t forget to read the full rules before submitting your story.

Anything else?

Please give your story a title. It will not be included in the word count.

Please try to leave comments on a couple of other stories. It’s all part of the fun, and everyone likes feedback!

Remember, only stories that use the bookends exactly as supplied (punctuation is allowed) will be eligible to win.

  134 Responses to “Micro Bookends 1.27 – SILENT [micro] FILM”

  1. @NJCrosskey
    110 words

    Just Maybe…

    Silent treatment, that what she accuses me of. Then it’s all: You Never, You Don’t, You Aren’t.

    Well maybe I don’t and maybe I’m not. But maybe Glynis, just freakin’ maybe, YOU don’t and YOU aren’t either.

    And maybe, just maybe, you sound like a flock of constipated pigeons. Maybe you’re a shrill, controlling harpy who kicks me when I’m down, so MAYBE, just maybe, I Don’t and I’m Not because of YOU.

    Maybe I’ll smash your skull in with a freakin’ shovel. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll bury you on the hillside with the other cows…

    …Or maybe I’ll just turn the sound up so I can hear the film.

  2. Don’t speak when you’re spoken to.

    @geofflepard 105 words

    Silent. An odd compliment for a child. Jaroslav’s boy was a model for the Resistance. He boasted, ‘Trained him myself.’ The boy could be trusted with the group’s secrets. Even after torture by the secret police he kept his counsel. And Jaroslav’s stock grew. A hero for freedom.
    When the boy killed Jaroslav – slit his throat – the new leader tried to break the boy himself. ‘Why?’
    The boy said nothing, even after hours in the sun bleaching concrete boxes. Only when his mother pleaded for his release did they understand why he killed, why he could keep silent. Only when she showed them the film.

  3. PFIZER TEST FACILITY (110 words)

    Silent, blindfolded, and bound in straitjackets, the group of five subjects left the Institute and reached the test field at daybreak. Towering cranes had rearranged the cement Maze, changing the configuration from the day before. Now cameras hung from the hovering machines.

    The subjects were unbound, fed the solution and released into the Maze at two minute intervals, alternating men then women. A loud speaker blared the time count every thirty seconds. Weapons had been placed in boxes on the cement walls. Knives, chains, batons and incendiary devices. The subjects either scrambled to find their way out, or hid to eliminate the others.

    Later, the doctors would review the film.

  4. Dylyce P. Clarke
    (100 words)

    An Amazing Life

    Silent thoughts run to and fro like rats trapped in a maze. Abused, neglected and rejected in youth growing up angry, bitter and filled with self-loathing. She had no means of escaping the truth which is stranger than fiction.

    She never escaped. She was rescued.

    Transformed in the blink of an eye into heiress, royalty, betrothed to a king. Living a pauper to princess existence too good to be true, yet too true to be denied by a reality so intriguing it couldn’t be made up.

    Now she could even inspire others, if her life were made into a film.

  5. Played Out

    107 words

    @el_Stevie
    #Flashdogs

    Silent mouths fed hungrily on the unspoken message, beyond the concrete lay paradise … if they could find the way.

    Who will be the first? murmured the poisoned wind, breathing its toxic words into their subterranean world. Who will come? Is there anybody there?

    Deaf ears heard the whisper howl into the void as they failed to answer, a lost voice in the desolation above. But the earth clung to its children, held them firmly in that last embrace.

    No, came the reply. There is no one.

    And from beneath, sightless eyes watched a world over which death had almost played out humanity’s final reel of film.

  6. CHRIS AND MIKE vs THE LABYRINTH OF SHADOWS

    Brian S Creek
    104 words
    @BrianSCreek
    #FlashDog

    Silent was the labyrinth as the boys stirred from slumber.
    In the darkness they were trapped and in much perilous danger.

    They’d been plucked from their beds by a grey feathered crow.
    Now their predicament was delivered by their most heinous foe.

    “I warned you my task was to hunt you and kill you.
    Now a fight to the death in this maze shall ensue.”

    Unmasking this villain would be their reward.
    As Chris gripped his bow and Mike grabbed his sword.

    They summoned they’re courage and prayed for good luck.
    And if they got out alive this tale would make a great film.

  7. Grave
    @hollygeely
    101 words

    “Silent as the grave” is a human expression. What we do is messy and it makes noise. We have to drag your souls down to the center to be processed. That’s hard work.

    You’ve seen me now and I can’t let you go. I was careless; we mustn’t be seen.

    Stop screaming! It’s too late for anyone to save you.

    Yes, that’s it; the lovely quiet.

    Graves aren’t silent but now you are. Your soul is mine to devour and the rest I’ll leave to rot. Your nails will turn black and your eyes will glaze over with a cloudy film.

  8. @fabuloushanny
    110 words. First time, be kind. 🙂

    The Survivor

    “Silent.” She remembered the nuns’ constant reprimand, during tests, mass, or whatever other torture. To survive, she pretended it was a movie. Caro, the hero whose silence would save the world. She preferred lunchtime; hundreds of voices packed into the cafeteria, echoing off the concrete walls, ringing in her ears….

    That windowless basement cafeteria was like a concrete box, like those that made up the maze she stood in now, years later. Same ringing in her ears, but here, it was silent. And she was alone.

    She began to walk, though she didn’t know the way. This time she wasn’t the hero. She was the villain in her own film.

  9. Left to Go Cold
    A.J. Walker

    Silent images pervaded Jacob’s head, pulsing with every heartbeat. Each a microcosm of a memory, a moment in time from history; his history. Memories seared onto his brain for a second, then removed like an unwanted food course.

    He could sense people in the room, but all he could see were these intense moments: playing as a child, parents, girlfriends, cars, motorbikes, his first paycheck, the holidays in the sun, his beautiful wife – Cassandra’s smile kept returning. He felt at peace knowing he’d see her soon. Then a concrete coffin.

    The untouched tea in the china at his bedside, as cold as his skin, was covered with an iridescent film.

    (110 words)
    @zevonesque

  10. Emily Clayton
    @emilyiswriting
    106 words

    Dark Deeds

    Silent stalker. Every night he’d wait for the moon to crest, the soft, milky light illuminating his path. He loved to watch them writhe and thrash. Preen.

    He sensed a rival tonight. An intruder. These were his stalking grounds; a rival would not be tolerated. He launched himself at a shaggy coat, heading for the neck. They tumbled into a concrete block, rusty nails aglow. His rival never stood a chance.

    Andy arrived at the film site. When he spotted the mutilated cat inside its concrete coffin, he knew what had to be done. “Throw out that old footage, boys. We’ve got a thriller to film.”

  11. Silent smiles, high-waisted capris and tall-teased hair.
    You watch her on the screen and search for something more. Something beyond a few moments captured of an outer shell.
    You breathe the word “mother” and it is a title, and a face, but a mystery nonetheless.
    While you watch you wonder at those who worry that a camera steals the soul; it’s not evident here, though that’s what you’re looking for.
    Silent memories, silent heartbeats, silent judgements, silent wonders.
    All that is contained in the vast interior rooms that make up a person.

    How hard to know a mother that exists in nothing but the thinest strip of film.

    110 words
    @CaseyCaseRose

  12. from the third row
    (w/c – 108)
    @koebnig

    ‘Silent night. Holy night … Christ! This is some Christmas party.’ His voice was hard and uncompromising but his hand trembled as he wiped the greasy sweat from his flushed face.
    ‘A bite to eat, she said. Something to drink, she …’ A lone wolf howling in the distance knocked him off balance. ‘W-what?’
    Suddenly the grey wall on his left retreated silently into the earth revealing row after row of plush seating populated by hundreds of spectators each dressed in white overalls and black gasmasks.
    ‘Shhhh …’ whispered someone from the third row. ‘It’s about to begin.’
    ‘What is?’ asked the child next to her.
    ‘Our Christmas film.’

  13. @stellakateT
    110 words

    Being Creative

    Silent night, just one, that was all he wanted. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d slept; no wonder sleep deprivation is a tool of torture. He sensed movement and closed his eyes tightly pretending to be dead.

    When they moved in, he’d accepted it. Never realising the amount of equipment and chaos they’d bring with them. He could still party with his friends; take award winning photos of the concrete instillation on the hill his wife had lovingly created.

    Silently creeping out of bed he picks up his camera and takes shots of Lena and their creation, twin sons.

    Tomorrow at work he’d proudly show his colleagues the film.

  14. (107)
    @Viking_Ma

    The Last Lost

    Silent winds swept the birds through the clouds. Marcy watched them as her heart tattooed panic into her chest. There was nothing to see but up.
    She had been in the maze for the whole day, grey concrete angles and corners of shadow. Cobwebs glistened between the passages, covering her with their sticky threads when she squeamishly pushed through them. The sun had moved right across the sky, and she was terrified that she would actually never find her way out.
    Would she die in a maze? She began to weep as she stumbled along.
    The RX-wardens watched avidly, her humanity captured for their study on film.

  15. Crossing the Border

    100 words

    Silent I stand, immobile, midday sun baking the concrete. In the corner there is a little shade cast by a shed; no relief from heat, but a little shade.
    “Hogan,” I call, the sound cracked and feeble.
    “What?”
    “It was an accident.”
    Silence. Hogan’s concrete box doesn’t have any shade. This is the second day since our capture.
    “Hogan?” It’s important he knows. It’s important that I know he understands.
    In the distance there is gunfire. Someone trying to get out, not get in like we were. But our fate will be the same.
    Death is only glamorous on film.

    @clivetern

  16. Heroics
    (110 words)

    Silent isn’t my name; it’s what I’ve become.
    It’s what I’m known as.
    It’s what I hear as I wander through the concrete maze of walls that are highschool hallways;
    “Here comes silent.”
    “What a freak.”
    “Hey, can you even speak? Speak, you silent creep!”
    But they don’t know what I know.
    They don’t know how well bike locks work on doors.
    They don’t know that my fathers’ gun is in my pocket
    and it knows how to shout.
    And as I cock the metal
    Inside this concrete maze
    With walls so thick they’ll drown out the screams
    I realize I’m like the heroes…
    But this is my own film.

  17. The Price Of Silence
    (109 words)

    “Silent deaths are always the worst ones.” He muttered, swishing the booze round and round in his mouth with an air of distaste.
    “If you die screaming, at least you get some last words out.”
    It was an unorthodox approach, but I saw the appeal.
    I gazed lazily over the lot we were in: a labyrinth of cement and worn graffiti.
    Empty.
    “In the films they always go out saying something cool.”
    He never had that luxury, though.
    And as I walked out of the scarlet-stained lot to collect my bounty, his face still shocked, the body still twitching, I muttered to myself,
    “Well, bud, this isn’t your film.”

  18. Trial and Error
    (110 words)

    Silent people stood on the platform wearing the symbolic uniform of their field, the white coat. Inside the maze, there were hurried snufflings and the padding of pink feet that should never have been that large.
    “Rat A is ahead.”
    “No, Rat D—observe.”
    The intern coughed.
    “Rat E appears to be following Rat D.”
    “Ms. Wainwright,” the intern said.
    “Not now, Sonia. This is historic.”
    “It’s Sofia. What happens when they finish?”
    Just then, Rats D and E nosed around the final corner.
    “When…” Wainright began, but the rats were halfway across the field, their tails sliding heavily through the grass behind them.
    Sofia muttered, “I’ll stop the film.”

    @Emi_Livingstone

  19. Labyrinth
    100 words

    Silent is the beast, but oh so deadly.

    You don’t hear him behind you, but you know he’s there. Hunting you.

    There’s no reason to it. He’s here and you’re here, offered up to the gods of concrete, glass, and steel. No different than the other dumb sacrificial lambs.

    Except you know the beast is there. You can feel him, somewhere in the maze. He knows you know, and he hates you for it.

    So he hunts you down the city streets. And he will win. He will kill you and devour you, leaving nothing but a grey, mouldy film.

    @haikufictiondju

    • I feel the urgency; it’s a really powerful piece! I’m scared as to what the beast is… Amazing!

  20. — Contessa —

    Silent, like the ‘k’ in knife or the ‘b’ in doubt. Was that a footstep you heard behind your luxuriously appointed curtain? Unlikely, given my fees.

    In this world of sound-reflecting concrete walls, I spent years searching for the perfect ultra-quiet shoe. Dr Scholl’s. Slippers. Even compression socks. I tried them all before realising there’s no optimum footwear in my particular line of work.

    Get in, do the job, get out. One squeak and its not only your career down the tube.

    No, these days, darling, I leave the heels at home and go barefoot, much like the fabulous Ava Gardner in that Bogart film.

    109 words
    @edbroom

  21. Papa’s Home (or, The Burnings)
    (110 words)

    Silent screams beckoned. Silent-mouthed, I followed.
    The rows of pale gravestones made it look like a cement maze, each name illuminated in turn by the waxing moon. I wove my way through the labyrinth, towards the whispers of a voice a tad too real to be solely inside my head.
    I reached a cracked mausoleum and the voice ushered me inside.
    Picking my way through the cracked shards of grey I realized I was not alone.
    “Welcome home.” A spidery thin voice called. I froze. I remembered. The boy with no eyes walked out of the shadows, arms outstretched, and my eyes began to glaze over with a black film.

    • There’s a dark power in this piece. The crisp images only highlight the fundamental mystery as to what the **** is going on.

      Nicely done!

  22. Silent Is (110 words)
    @brett_milam

    Silent is the gallows when they stand empty, only the wind there to provide disruption.

    Silent is the ground when the seeping blackness of the corpse gags it; a squirrel perks up, sniffs and scurries away.

    Silent is the man, having caused the corpse to be, is overwhelmed by adrenaline; the kind that excites him.

    Silent is the man’s companion, fearful of saying anything, writing anything, doing anything.

    Silent is the tomb to be, gallant in its endeavor to uphold the dignity of the corpse.

    Silent is the crescent moon, the only outside witness to the unspooling tragedy.

    Silent is the badge.

    Silent is the tragedy not being on film.

  23. Communication Breakdown

    ‘Silent partner? How is he your silent partner? I spoke with him last month!’
    ‘Perhaps sleeping partner would be a better… N-n-not that we… er… No, he simply invested in the company; he’s not involved in its day-to-day running.’
    ‘And yet he took my order…’
    ‘Y-yes but…’
    ‘…namely, four large, white marble sarcophagi. On arrival, the invoice said:

    Delivery to: Hillside Cemetery
    Item: Box
    Size: Little
    Quantity: Four
    Colour: 1 each of Green, Pink, Blue, Yellow
    Material: Ticky-Tacky

    ‘What the hell is Ticky-Tacky?!’
    ‘He-he’s not been well. I’m sure we can fix this, sir, if you could put down the camera, please.’
    ‘No way! I want all this on film.’

    @GeoffHolme
    Word Count: 110

  24. Internal Torment
    Word Count: 97

    Silent and still I smile, fighting thought and heart. My mind, an invisible prison, keeps me locked away in plain sight. No one sees the struggle I face daily as I wind tiredly round and round stopping only when I reach a dead end. Some days there seems no point in continuing; I will be forever lost on the twisting paths. Images haunt my vision, blinding me from the way I should travel. Escape is futile. Every step I take toward solace my mind conjures up some dismal outcome, so vivid, as though captured permanently on film.

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