Zack Umstead, Young Writer

December 24, 2012

Monday One-Word Writing: Kleptomaniac

Filed under: One Word Writing — Zack @ 11:49 AM

It may be Christmas Eve, but that doesn’t stop me from writing another story! This week’s word comes from Patrick, who suggested the word “kleptomaniac”. Here’s what I came up with (with a holiday twist, of course).


So much here. So much ripe for the taking.

Bad. No. Don’t say that.

It was true though, there was so much. An entire department store full of people and products. Nobody would notice if one product went missing.

Seriously, stop, I told myself. Just leave. I knew I shouldn’t have tried to do some Christmas shopping. I can’t control myself.

But those boots. They looked perfect.

What would I do with a pair of women’s boots? I asked myself.

I had this impulse to shove them into my winter coat and walk right out of the store. Again, NO! I practically shouted in my head. I had to fight this urge. The door was so close. I just needed to leave, and I’d be fine.

Just leave, a little voice in the back of my head said. The door’s so close. You could take the boots easily.

NO! I will not! I took a step towards the door, but my hand moved closer to the boots. “No,” I actually whispered out loud, and shoved both my hands in my pockets. Concentrate. One foot in front of the other, and soon you’ll be walking out the door, I thought, remembering the Christmas TV special.

With the boots, the voice piped up.

Shut up! I walked briskly toward the door and pushed my way through. Once outside, I took a deep gulp of December air. I hadn’t realized I had been holding my breath. I did it, I thought. I walked to my car and pulled out my keys.


Remember to leave your suggestion for next week’s word in the comments below! Merry Christmas if you celebrate it!


December 17, 2012

Monday One-Word Writing: Dissembled

Filed under: One Word Writing — Zack @ 8:30 AM

It’s Monday, which means it’s time for some more flash fiction in the for of Monday One-Word Writing. In case you’re just joining, here’s how this works: I take a single word (usually suggested in the previous week’s comments) and write some flash fiction about it in the half hour of class time I have. Then, you guys read it, and leave me a word to use for next week’s post. This week’s word comes from Catherine, who suggested “dissembled” on last week’s story.

“It’s a necessary sin, Mr. Clark.”

“I see no need for it to be necessary,” Mr. Clark said calmly. “We can continue the venture without dissolving the company.”

“Mr. Clark, this company will be the ruin of us. They’re a leeach sucking the blood from our corporation.”

“I’d remind you, Martin, that this company provides hundreds of jobs in the area.”

“And those people will find new jobs in time. Meanwhile, we get one step closer to this deal. I say we dissolve them immediately.”

“I’d also remind you, Martin, that you are the second largest shareholder in this company. It would do well to respect the largest shareholder.” Mr. Clark’s calm demeanor while saying this sent a shiver down Martin’s spine.

“Yes,” he said meekly. “So, what do you propose, Mr. Clark?”

“I propose we drink on it, and think about the decision tomorrow.” Mr. Clark was known as a drinking man, so it wasn’t an unusual idea. What was unusual was the bottle of limited edition 1958 Glen Garioch whiskey.

“Are you sure you want to share that bottle with me? Perhaps something less expensive would suffice.”

“No, Martin, I insist!” Mr. Clark said jubilantly. “Drink up!” He handed him a glass with a generous portion of liquor.

Martin slowly sipped his glass. “This excellent. Thank you.”

“No, thank you,” Mr. Clark replied, “for making my job easier.”

Before Martin could comprehend what Mr. Clark said, a convulsion ran through his arms. He dropped the glass, whcih shattered when it hit the marble floor. A fresh convulsion tore through his spine. Soon, Martin couldn’t feel his lower body, and gurgling noises could be heard coming from his mouth. A final spasm sent him to the ground, where he lay dying. Police would find him and a coroner would blame it on a piece of bad fugu fish, which Martin especially liked on Sunday nights.

In a matter of days, Mr. Clark would sell all his stock in the corporation and disappear. He would assume a different name and become the largest shareholder of his next target. It paid to be an assassin, and Mr. Clark was one of the best, simply because he put on his facade and hid in the most secretive of places; plain sight.

December 10, 2012

Monday One-Word Writing: Difference

Filed under: One Word Writing — Zack @ 2:58 PM

This week marks the first week where I’m using a fan-submitted word for my Monday One-Word Writing. On last week’s post, kmcambion commented and told me to use the word “difference”, which I will be using today. I prefer using your comments over a word generator to write my one-word writings, so if you have a word for next week’s post, please leave it in a comment! And now, for the story…

“Why does it matter?”

“It just does! They aren’t the same!” Curtis was practically screaming to the whole world his opinions.

Ryan put his hand on his coworkers shoulder. “Hey, quiet down man. No need to make a scene, especially when they’re around.” Quite a few quartets of eyes had turned their direction.

“So you’ll admit, there is a difference,” Curtis whispered.

“They’re just different anatomically. Inside, we’re all the same, man.”

“Bah,” Curtis scoffed,  “inside. Inside, they’re probably waiting to tear us all to pieces.”

“Curtis, what’s gotten into you today?” this wasn’t the Curtis Ryan had worked with for years. “Stellacaeruleans have lived with us for two years now, and there’s been nothing but the usual problems we have with humans.”

“Nothing yet,” Curtis retorted. “But it’s coming. You ever see those old sci-fi movies from the twentieth century?”

“Why would I?” Ryan replied.

“I was watching some of them last night just for a couple of kicks, and they’re totally right.” Curtis’s voice was starting to rise. “The aliens come to Earth and live peacefully for a while. Then – BAM! All out war, aliens versus humans. Happens every time.” By the end of his tirade, Curtis was screaming it to the crowded city street. Some had taken notice – including a juvenile Stellacaerulean. He approached the pair of humans.

“I would like for you to stop,” he said in the deep bass of all Stellacaeruleans.

“And we will,” Ryan said hurriedly, and began to walk away. “Come one Curtis!” he called back to his friend.

“No,” Curtis said. “I’m tired of these damned four-eyes,” he said, indicating the Stellacaerulean’s two pairs of eyes. “They’re trouble, and I know it!” He screamed at the six foot alien, a youngling of his species. “You’re all trouble! War waiting to break out! You hear me, pal? Trouble!”

The Stellacaerulean, though not fully mature, was immensely strong in comparison to humans, and with one swift blow from his fist, Curtis was out cold. “I hear,” he said.

December 3, 2012

Monday One-Word Writing: Slipup

Filed under: One Word Writing — Zack @ 8:18 AM

Today is the third week of my Monday One-Word Writing. In case you missed the first two (which you can find here and here), each Monday, I take one word and write some flash fiction about it. I’ve been using a random word generator, but I’d love to start using your ideas, so if you have a word, make sure to leave it in a comment below! Today’s word comes from an online generator, and the word is slipup. Without further adieu, enjoy!

“You won’t get a thing from me.”

“On the contrary, Mr. Walker, we have gotten everything we need from you. Everything except for one thing.” The man emerged from the shadows, and for the first time in the three days Agent Walker had been trapped here, his captor’s face was fully revealed. The man had all the typical features of a Chinese man, which was to be expected when captured while spying on the Chinese. But his captor’s skin was darker than the average man of Shanghai, hinting at a mixed lineage reacently. Under normal circumstances, Walker would have pondered this for some form of leverage. But these were not normal circumstances.

“And what exactly have you gotten from me?” Walker spat from the chair he was handcuffed to, trying to sound intimidating.

“You spies think you’re clever, finding information without divulging any of it. But you do divulge it, and Mr. Walker, you have divulged enough.”


His captor grinned. “Enough for us to find out all about you,” he said. “And your girlfriend.” He waved, and a man came in holding a tablet with pictuires and documents on Walker’s girlfriend back in the U.S.

“You wouldn’t dare,” Walker growled.

“Oh, we would, Mr. Walker,” the man said. “And we could. It does not take much to make a murder look like an accident. Surely, you must know that.” His captor grinned again.

Walker was outraged. “You can’t touch her! I won’t let you!”

The man leaned in close. “Then tell us what you know.”

“Making me choose between the plans and her! You…”

“Plans.” The man stood straight and wiped Walker’s spittle off his face. “That sounds promising. That will be all for today, Mr. Walker. Please, enjoy the finest luxury China has to offer you.” The captor left the room, and the second man placed the tablet on the floor in front of Walker, leaving the images of his girlfriend displayed.

Well, there it is! If you liked this, please leave a comment below, and don’t forget to include in that comment a word for me to use next week!

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