Flash Fiction Friday
What is Flash Fiction? Well, since you asked, Flash Fiction is a story that is usually written in 1000 words or less. It’s a man of many masks. Part-narrative or part-poetry, a brisk winter walk, an intense fight or a somber mood -it is fiction that expresses a moment or a millennia. It is pure writing.
You’re walking down a road, unpaved and weather-beaten. Not a soul is in sight -no one, nothing, save the trees and you and your path. Dandelions almost border the rocky, windy, over-grown path and in some places it’s hard to tell that there ever was a dirt road there. As you shuffle along, dust motes and dirt form little clouds around your feet, floating up and down, sparkling in the late-morning sun as they fall. You keep thinking about Charlie Brown’s friend, Pig Pen. He was always surrounded by a cloud of dust. Rocks fly away beneath your feet as you shuffle more, trying to make your cloud bigger and more animated. A bee buzzes passed your ear, then another, and you duck wildly. Too bad nobody sees you, because you look like a cartoon the way you flail about. I don’t see you. But I am still down the road a way.
The breeze feels so perfect today -the perfect mix of warm and cool. The tall, Bluegrass is waving and dancing on the winds, almost beckoning you into the woods on either side of your path. A wave of nostalgia washes over you and you’re almost tempted to take the invitation, but you’re on a mission. You’re coming to see me.
There’s a bend in the path up ahead. You remember it now. I will be there, just around the bend, and you quicken your steps a little. You’re almost there.
Your trusty, old camera swings about your neck with your quickened pace. It has been a while since you really put that sucker to work. Film has become so antiquated, you think, but it is high time you bring it back. You take off the shutter cap and pocket it. Might as well start snapping some shots, get into the mood. There’s a short, rickety length of horse fencing here on your right that catches your eye. It would make an excellent first subject of the day. Pausing there, you take in a deep breath and glance around the perimeter of the woods. Better make sure that no hungry bears or scary gnomes are watching.
Satisfied that no eminent or make-believe danger lurks nearby, you step off of the path and kneel parallel to the first fence post. You want a long shot of the fence and you’ll really get some depth and highlight the falling rails from this angle. As you capture your first shot, another bee buzzes passed your head and you jerk away. Dammit. That one will be blurry for sure. This is when a digital set up would come in handy. You shoot again. This time your aim is rock-steady. You stand up and examine the old relic from a different angle. The wood grain is both smoothed over and splintered. In one spot, it looks like someone had been trying to carve out a hole with just a tiny pocket knife. You imagine a young, country boy waiting here at this fence for a ride into town. How many hours must he have spent standing here. You zoom in and snap a shot of the hole. Close up, its splinters look quite like a starburst or a sea anemone trying to escape.
After a few more shots you’re satisfied that you’ve warmed up enough and, stepping back onto the path, you’re on your way to me again. It’s taking you longer than you’d thought it would to get to me. But I am patient. I’ve been here already for quite some time.
You look like Pig Pen again and, noticing this yourself, you put the lens cap back on the camera. Just a few more feet and you’ll be able to see me. I’m just around the bend.
As you turn the corner I can see you. You look so small there in front of me and I see you gasp and stop in your tracks as you lay eyes on me. You’re so excited that you tear off your lens cap and miss your pocket while trying to store it. You don’t care, though. You just stand there, snapping photos of me. Then you move closer, slowly, never taking your eyes off me. How surreal and lovely this is. You walk up to face me and take in my entire facade. I tower above you. I am tall.
“Looks like you have been waiting here for me for quite a long time, Old Blue.”
Blue. It has been a while since anyone has called me Blue.
You bring your camera back up to your eye and just keep on snapping photos. I am your muse, your model. I stand firm, but my bones creak with the wind and I can feel time and old age running their course. You don’t care about age though. You want to see more and begin to circle around me, looking for a way in, a way to see into my soul. You know that you’ve only scratched the surface and are glad that you brought along extra film with you. There is still plenty of light left in the day and I am not going anywhere.
“Well, Old Blue,” you say as you circle back around in front of me, “I guess there is only one way in. I’m ready if you are.” The question your voice seems to carry on the wind as it pushes my door open. I have been ready for a long time, Friend.
You see that I am ready, but you know that I won’t last out here very much longer. So, you walk on in.
It has been so long since you’ve been home.
Inspired by the 100 Day Writing Prompt -“If you were and old house…”
Flash Fiction Friday is meant to stir up the writer within. Unedited. Raw. Fast writing.
1000 words or less. Just letting your fingers follow your imagination.
I sat on the bench staring down into my lap, watching the rain drops snake down my legs. Water dripped haphazardly from my hair and puddled in my lap, bringing to mind a scene from Bambi. Drip drip drop, little April showers. But it was August…hurricane season. The smell of burnt rubber and rain-soaked concrete all around was overwhelming. Ray stood beside me, holding a red plastic folder over his head in a feigned attempt to shield himself from the rain. He was talking to a 911 dispatcher on his cell phone, but the only sounds I could hear were from the dull, roaring downpour.
My white linen skirt, now pasted to my thighs in transparent, feathery sheets, was caked in mud and leaves. A small, blood-soaked rip on the left side hem echoed the struggle that had just been. But it wasn’t my blood. It wasn’t my blood. I watched as a single drop formed there. And as it became swollen with blood, I thought it looked quite like that ruby in Ms. Alice’s Christmas brooch. Tear-shaped, brilliant, sad. The droplet broke free from my skirt and began wiggling its way down the side of my thigh, leaving a faint pinkish trail in its wake. I watched as it pooled at my hamstring before dropping off with a splat onto the concrete below. Splat. Blood and rain. My breathing began to quicken and I felt my chest becoming heavy. The downpour was starting to weigh me down and I rolled my head back to face the sky. The rain drops stung my face and seemed to beat down even harder then, but I remained open to the sky. Eyes closed. Wash away the blood. Not my blood.
“Marley. M-A-R-L-E-Y.” I snapped into awareness as Ray spelled my name into the phone. He was pacing now, three steps forward, four steps back. The folder was still perched atop his head, water rocketing off of the surface almost as soon as it landed there. His brand new leather jacket was surely ruined now, soaked in rain, motor oil, and mud. He glanced at me as he paced, his eyes wild with fury and fear. I had never seen him look so intense.
Blue lights flashed ahead of me, blurry and mottled in the rain. I watched as two dark figures seemed to emerge from the lights, moving quickly and deliberately. They didn’t move toward me, though. Instead they stopped somewhere ahead of me in the rain next to another dark figure that seemed be lying low to the ground. They moved all around it and I thought I heard them saying something, but their words carried off into the storm. I wanted to hear what they were saying.
“Hey! HEY!” The dark figures kept moving around the one on the ground. My words were being carried off in the storm as well. I clenched my fists in frustration at not being heard and felt something hard and solid in my right hand. My cell phone. Just sitting there in my palm. Something on the screen. I stood up to begin walking toward the figures in the rain. They became clearer with every step forward. Two men. The form on the ground was still unclear, though, as my eyes were filling with water. I blinked and looked down at my phone, still face up in my hand.
On my wa… an unfinished text message. I had been on my way to Mom’s house with Ray.
I could hear the men now. They were counting –fifteen, sixteen, seventeen… and pushing into the figure on the ground. I still couldn’t make it out and had to blink again to clear the water from my eyes. It flowed down my cheeks and onto my lips. Salty. It tasted salty, like tears.
I looked down again with a clearer view and saw what the two men were working on. A woman. She was lying so still …eighteen, nineteen, twenty… I blinked again, the saltiness in my eyes starting to burn. A small, muddy pink bundle lay motionless near the woman. Its wrappings were loose, exposing a single tiny foot on one end. I looked back to the woman and then again at the pink bundle.
…twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three…
One of the men stood to face me, but I couldn’t seem to pull my gaze away from the woman and her baby on the ground.
“Ma’am? Are you the driver Ma’am?”
My eyes filled with tears again as I looked back down at my phone. The text was almost finished.
The rain was beginning to let up and a quietness began to set in.
The second man straightened up next to the woman. I blinked away tears and sank down next to the little pink bundle. It was such a short text.
His voice seemed so far away now, but his words rang clear.
“Time of death, 3:45 p.m.”
Texting and driving is never OK. Never.
At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010. (NOPUS)
Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded. (2009, VTTI)
*Photo by Tracey Hearron
Flash Fiction Friday is meant to stir up the writer within. Unedited. Raw. Fast writing. Just letting your fingers follow your imagination.
1. Recap! Now that summer is really, officially -and sadly for some of us- over… share your most beloved moments.
2. What do you look forward to in the fall season?
3. Boots and scarves and sweaters, oh my! Snap some pics of your favorite fall uniform and share.
4. Are you on the Pumpkin Train? Share your favorite pumpkin recipes.
5. October 5th is always World Teacher Day! Share a story about a teacher that you once had.
6. What are some things that you like to read…that aren’t books?
7. Things that nourish your heart and soul…
8. If you won the lottery this week, what would you quit your day job to do?
9. I love you more than… write an ode to something or someone that you just can’t live without.
10. What has been your musical anthem this year?
11. Crying is sometimes good for the soul -it lets you release. Share about the last time that you cried.
12. Imagine that you were in a Sci-fi movie. Which character would you be, how long would you last?
13. Where are you most comfortable? The beach, the mountains, your couch, the library, mama’s house?
14. Confession time! What is your most heinous guilty pleasure tv show that you never miss?
15. Tell us about a fun Halloween memory that you have.
16. Last 5 photos that you shared online -post ’em and share a little.
17. Create a last-minute bucket list for this year. What are the things you must do before this year ends?
18. Imagine you have magical mirror in your house. What does it do?
19. It’s Breast Cancer Awareness month. Write a post all about boobies.
20. The fourth Saturday in October is National Make a Difference Day. Write about something you’ve participated in to make a difference in your community.
21. Blonde, brunette, ginger, raven… what shade do you imagine you’d rock? …other than your current hair color of course.
22. A day in the life of… write a post about a typical day in the life of someone or something. Humor will get you bonus points.
23. Go outside and snap a few shots of the fall time scenery. Post and let the photos be your inspiration today.
24. Write a fun How-To.
25. What’s in your bag? Snap some photos and share.
26. When you were younger, what did you imagine that you’d be when you grew up? Where are you today?
27. The 27th is always National Tell a Story Day in England and Scotland. My two favorite “story” characters of all time are from England and Scotland. Today, write a scene set in either country.
28. Draw yourself in a cartoon strip. Share it!!
29. If you could time travel and really, truly survive in a different era, where and when would you go?
30. Are you dressing up this year? Share this year’s costume, or some costumes of the past.
31. Happy Halloween!! What is your favorite Halloween movie? What do you love so much about it?
1. Write a letter to someone explaining to them what you wish for them. Good, bad, snarky, sincere… you choose.
2. Pull up the last five photos that you posted via social media. Pick one and let it inspire your writing today.
3.When was the last time that you put your foot in your mouth?
4. Lists! Make a list of the 10 worst trends from last year that you hope don’t make it through this year.
5. Free write. Just go….
6. It rains a lot this time of year. Think about the rain… what sorts of stories, memories, moods does it drum up for you?
7. Open up a blank document or blog post- right click, paste. Now…explain!
8. March 8th is Be Nasty Day. Aw yah.
9. When everything around you is quiet, where do you find your mind wandering to most often lately?
10. Top 5 things you are looking forward to this Spring… go!
11. With writing, we have second chances. What does that mean to you?
12. I wish I could…
13. Thirteen is actually a lucky number in many cultures. Are you superstitious about it, or do you love 13?
14. One word -shattered. Go.
15. Today is my sissy’s birthday. Let’s write about sisters today.
16. Share a funny party story.
17. St. Patrick’s Day! Write about a memorable green holiday that you’ve had.
18. Book Crush!! What have you been reading that we must read too?
19. Tell us about the first car that you owned.
20. Kids say some shit…
21. How do you envision yourself behaving when you are old and grey?
22. So…you just won the lottery, big time. What are you gonna do?
23. When did you first realize that writing was your heart’s desire?
24. Creative minds quite often display a little ADD from time to time. Unfinished projects, lists upon lists of ideas. What does your creative mental cabinet look like?
25. What is the thing that you wish you were amazing at that you actually really suck at?
26. Style trends of the past seem to be up-cycling themselves these days. What are you most thrilled to see come back?
27. When I was kid, we used to… -get nostalgic for a bit and tell us about something you used to do all the time.
28. I planned on doing ____ today, but ending up doing ____ instead.
29. Life lately. Go.
30. I have a kabillion clocks in my house. I always find myself buying them. What do you find yourself constantly bringing home?
31. Faith. What does that word mean to you?