I have met some amazing people in the ROW80. They inspire me to write even when the head is pounding and I can barely keep my eyes open because the monitor glare hurts too much. So, after Sharon Howard posted her Flash Fiction Friday post on Facebook, the guilt muse that had been politely sitting in the corner, minding her own business and reading something by Dale Carnegie, stood up and said “You promised yourself you would do some flash fiction last Saturday, you know. I mean, look at the date! It’s almost Saturday again. You’ve got a lot of work to make up, Missy.”
I didn’t feel good enough to argue, so here goes a few pieces of flash fiction, one of which is very late.
First piece is based on LS Engler’s prompt for January 13(total writing time was 5min 21sec):
Yarl stared. He’d been promised a home in a new land, free of the burdens of overlords and villains. But instead, what did he see? A bloody castle against the horizon.
Well, nothing to do about it now. He was here and he didn’t have the fresh water or supplies for another day out on the open sea. He’d have himself a face on view and see what manner of men he’d been cast amongst
Under his hide boots, the wet rocks rolled fitfully, tottering him to the side, making it hard to maintain his balance while he pulled his gear from the bottom of his boat. His toes were chilled now, the splashing waves having soaked through even the greased-skins. The one that had been smashed by Snedrog before he’d killed the bastard smarted fiercely. He thought about it only for a second, since it gave him a moment to savor the memory.
Being banished wasn’t all that bad.
Coming up next is via Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds page from last Friday. The three photos I chose to use were:
“Can you help me, please?”
I whirled. The voice seemed to have come from right next to me. When I saw that the woman was standing across the terrace by the main doors, I relaxed. No wonder I hadn’t heard any footsteps. “Maybe. What’s wrong?”
“The door is locked. I have to get inside—now. They are waiting for me.”
It was hard to see her face in the dim light. Who was waiting for her? The music hall looked empty, all the lights on and no one home. Of course, that couldn’t be true, though I wasn’t sure—it wasn’t as if I frequented the place. Despite the tourism it had drawn to my home city, I couldn’t get my mind past the fact The Mouse was in control here. “Sorry. I don’t work here. Have you tried calling building security?” I said.
The smooth concrete continued to stretch between us despite my approach. The shadows that spread along it seemed to grow, if anything. She just stood there.
“I can’t find anyone. Can you help me please? I have to get inside. They are waiting for me.”
Narrowing my gaze to see if she was perhaps trying to pull something over on me, I paused and blinked and shook my head. Was she wearing Groucho Marx glasses? You know the kind I mean, with the big nose and over-bushy mustache.
I resumed my approach to see. “Are you sure? I don’t get over here much, lady, but there’s no way the city is going to leave this place without a watchman on duty somewhere. Here, take a quarter. There’s a diner just two blocks away. I’m sure they’ll let you use the payphone.” I reached into my left jeans pocket for some odd change. Two quarters… Worth it to get her to leave me alone. I held them out to her, hoping she’d make the effort to get them since I clearly wasn’t making any progress myself.
“I have to get inside now.” The tone of her voice with had been sadly desperate before now abraded my ears with annoyance. “They are waiting for me.”
“Well, then they should be by the door to get you, don’t you think?” I snapped back at her across the expanse of shadows. “Don’t take it out on me. Here. I’m giving you some change to make a call. Blame them.” Frustrated myself, I flung the two coins at her. I don’t know why really. Normally I’m not this agitated, but I just wanted to get out of here, away from her and whoever “they” might be.
I tried to turn my head and walk away. Instead, my gaze stayed, transfixed on her , standing there, and on the small flashing silvery glints that spun through the air at her. Instead of raising a hand to catch the coins, or even ducking to avoid them, she stayed still. And though I could trace the line of light as the quarters landed against her dress, I didn’t even see the fabric move. I didn’t hear a clatter against the concrete, not the first time, not the second.
I closed my eyes. Not looking seemed wisest.
Instead of the blackness of my inner eyelid, neat rows of polished wood stretched out in front of me. Vertigo struck. I felt certain the wood planks were coming closer. And closer. And closer. I wanted to flinch. I needed to reach out my hands—wanted to catch myself—needed save myself from the impact I knew had to come sooner or later.
Or later. I hung there, aware I was falling, knowing I was falling, wondering how I was falling when I knew I’d been standing on the cold concrete in front of the Disney Music Hall barely seconds before.
I tried looking around. Was that strange woman there, I wondered? Things had only gotten weird after she’d shown up. Before that, the walk home had been the same as it had been every night. A bit wetter than usual, but the street lights and the cars had cast the world into a warm, cozy, fireside glow tonight that had made the walk home just that bit dreamier than normal. And yes, my head had wandered some. I was thinking of you and how nice it would have been if you were still here to walk me home. How we used to share the umbrella on nights like this one. How you would tickle me in the ribs and make me have to pull away and I would get covered with raindrops and you’d say my hair shone with diamonds.
But except for myself, myself stuck in this strange half-way state of falling but not landing, and not moving, not really even being, the room was empty. Our room. Your stuff was still there: that awful couch you bought because you wanted something modern and not fluffy country-chic like the one your parents gave us; that painting you had to have last year during the Downtown Art Walk and I hated so much that I nicked it when I tried to cover it up with a sheet for my work-from-home days; even your iron legged tables.
Where was my stuff?
Where were you?
I closed my eyes again. Maybe I had dozed off at the bus stop, and this was all a dream. I smiled a bit. The strange things one thinks of when he gets tired.
The sense of vertigo faded. I relaxed again. Yep, dreaming. The double shifts and double mochas both were getting to me. I opened my eyes.
“Can you help me please? The door is locked.”
I’m going to wait for the next Terrible Minds challenge The Present Tense, mostly because…well, I’m lazy. And I want to get some reading done before bed. But it’s there if you’d like to try it. There is also this on Albert Berg’s blog: Twenty-Nine Days of Flash Fiction.
That’s enough to keep me busy. How about you?
And lastly, thank you, Adam Bellotto over at Eat, Sleep, Television for following my blog. I’m especially noting your page, because my husband has been looking for some new shows to tweak his imagination. So a double thanks is in order.