A flash fiction story again…

I’m having a hard time finding my muse for writing fiction, romance, or whatever with the current state of the world. The news are flooded with refugees, and idiotic politicians that are just making people more divided.

Picture from http://www.sat7usa.org/war-robs-children-of-schooling
Picture from http://www.sat7usa.org/war-robs-children-of-schooling

To keep my head together I decided to write a submission to the FWAR Flashers prompt that was in its simplicity “Escape” and here’s what I came up with.

I titled it “Running for safety” but I’m not quite feeling it.

One night the building across the street was crushed by dropped bomb. The window in the living room tumbled down shattering into a million pieces as the dust cloud swept in over the furniture. The girl cried in her mother’s arms as they lied awake in the tiny room furthest from the windows, and listened to the nightmare going on around them. They both prayed that they would survive the night.

As the dawn came, they were even more silent than usual. They sat in the kitchen and ate breakfast, both still shaken to the core by the night’s events.

“Today we leave,” the mother said.

The girl just nodded and continued nibbling away on her piece of bread. She didn’t quite understand where they would go. Her father and uncle had died or been imprisoned, no one really knew for sure. Her grandparents and their farm had been casualties of war a long ago.

Although she couldn’t imagine where they would go, she knew not to question her mother’s decision. There was no future for them here. The only thing left was fear and destruction. The fear was so overwhelming that she had started to become numb to it.

“You can take one toy only, and a set of clothes,” her mother said as she gave the girl a pink backpack. It was the backpack she was supposed to use when she got back to school. But now, there was no school left to go to. That building had been destroyed a month back.

The girl packed her favorite teddy bear in the bag. She took out the photo of her family from its frame, and hid the picture in the back pocket of the bag. She packed her second favorite shirt too, the one her father had given her for her birthday, even though it was more than she was allowed to take.

Hand in hand they walked the narrow alleys until they came to the edge of the deserted market square.

She squeezed her mother’s hand as fear gripped her. It was here her cousin had been shot by snipers hiding in the abandoned buildings.

“Quickly,” her mother tugged her arm as they ran across the square.

“Mama… Ow… You’re hurting my arm,” she whined but not loud enough for her mother to hear.

They breathed of relief as they reached the buildings on the other side. The fighting wasn’t as bad here anymore. The ruined buildings stood as reminders that the war was still going on just around the corner.

The sound of an approaching helicopter made them vary. People around them stood and looked at the sky.

“It dropped a bomb!” Someone yelled and a mere second later they heard the explosion. A pillar of smoke rose from the direction of their home.

“Hurry.” The men around them urged them on. The girl and her mother climbed into the back of a car and held each other close as they drove through the city.

“Where are we going?” She asked her mother.

“We’re leaving Syria.” The mother said, stroking the girl’s hair. “We are going somewhere where you can sleep without fear, in a beautiful bed fit for a princess.”

A few days on the road had already worn them out. But they kept going because they knew tonight would be different. As darkness descended upon them they stood on a beach, waiting for their turn to board the already overcrowded rubber dinghy.

Safety was waiting across the stretch of water, they were told. They only had to survive the rest of the journey.

  • This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Advertisements

Another day, another prompt

So again, as usual, I took part in the Flash Fiction prompt on FWAR. This time the prompt was to go to Fortune Cookie Quotes – and then pick one fortune for inspiration. I picked the one that said You learn from your mistakes… You will learn a lot today. Because that just had so much potential. But squeezing all the ideas rampaging through my head into less than 600 words was the hard part – I managed, just barely.

My only goal was to keep it light this time, since most of my prompts lately have been sad or tragic.


Lessons Learned

The evening sun is sinking towards the horizon, making the shadows of the trees in the park seem like they go on forever. Laura waits for the bus, a cardboard box filled with her stuff from the office beside her on the bench, observing the hustle of the city that passes her by.

She shakes her head, as she looks the note that was hidden inside her fortune cookie. “Well, no shit, Sherlock.” She says to no-one in particular as she reads it again. You learn from your mistakes… You will learn a lot today.

Everything started from one tiny error, one press of the wrong button. A message from the office manager, a very close friend of Laura’s, came, and she couldn’t resist replying to it with a funny, although very inappropriate picture that she had found on Google. She snickered at her little joke, as the email was sent. Only when the replies started pouring in, did she find out that something had gone wrong.

A big lump lodged itself in her throat as she realized that she had pressed reply to all, and sent the picture of the very much naked guy to everyone in the company. That meant all 250 employees, including the management.

Cold sweat broke, as she looked at the name blinking on her phone. This can’t be good, she thought as she picked up the phone. And good it wasn’t. The order was to be in the boss’ office by four PM.

She continued working, trying to ignore the various replies arriving to her email. With a quick glance it seemed that many took it with humor. The single ladies saw nothing wrong with it. The guy from IT, commented something – and basically outed himself to her at the same time. The up-tight lady from the development department stormed into Laura’s office and – lectured her on office etiquette and manners. Throw in a few disgruntled customers, and her day was officially dandy.

By four, Laura gathered her courage as she climbed the stairs to Mr. Bosman’s office. She knocked on the hardwood door and heard his rumbling voice telling her to come in.

She pushed the door open and for a moment she was confused. The room was dark, the curtains drawn and the only light came from a set of candles flickering on the desk.

“Mr. Bosman?” She asked, and jumped as the door clicked shut behind her.

“Laura, Laura, Laura…” his voice came from somewhere in the dark. She didn’t reply, as all words had deserted her by the door. “So I got that email you sent.” He continued. “That was quite the image you had there…”

Laura rolled her eyes and prayed for this strange interaction to be over soon. She heard him tut tutting behind her.

“Turn around Ms. Feigle. I’m talking to you.” His sound came from much closer now. “Besides, I think you need a real man, not one of those metrosexuals.”

Laura turned around and dropped her jaw. There he stood, in all his glory, his stocky five foot three body bare naked. She fought herself not to glance at his family jewels hanging beneath the hair covered barrel that was his belly.

“What the…?” Was as far she got, before she totally lost it. She laughed so hard she almost peed her pants.

Needless to say, Mr. Bosman didn’t take her reaction that well, and he would’ve probably fired her – if she hadn’t already quit on the spot.

Many lessons learned, she thought, as she carried her box onto the bus.

Writing prompts

At last, I have the possibility to write again. Or at least try to write again. Not quite daring to get back to my stories yet, a writing prompt is exactly what the doctor ordered. Right? Good thing I’m on that FWAR site, in the Flashers group, so I didn’t have to go searching for a prompt.

Stock photo by gxtas (Deviant Art)

This was the picture of the prompt and here is what it inspired me to write:

On hold

The wood creaked beneath her feet, as she walked through the room. The old house was so quiet now, almost as if it was holding its breath, waiting for life to fill it again. She trailed her fingers over the crocheted tablecloth, the shriveled petals scattered around the lone vase in the middle of the surface. She willed the flower to regain its colors, its glory. It didn’t. The place was etched with memories, the stories that filled the place now hidden beneath a layer of dust.

Hesitating for a moment she stopped by the open fireplace, wrapped her cardigan a bit tighter, in a vain attempt to fight the chill engulfing her. She placed a few logs there; tore a page from a newspaper dated a year ago. The matches were in the corner, in the same place where they’d always been. She shook the box, just to hear them rattle, just like grandpa had always done. The memory made her smile. Flames soon devoured the last year’s news, and then began gnawing away on the dry logs. The heat did little to help the coldness within her.

She sat there, staring at the flames, listening to the fire crackle and let the memories wash over her. The good. The bad. The beautiful. The ugly. Emotions ebbed and flowed until it became too much to take. It was a bad idea coming here alone. She should’ve waited for the rest of the family.

Fuck it, she thought and stood up, strode over to grandpa’s cabinet and took out the bottle of old faithful Jack. Not bothering to get a cup she drank straight from the bottle. The whiskey burned its way down her throat, but failed in taking the edge off her anxiety.

She grabbed the bottle and walked over to the armchair grandpa always used to sit in. She sat there, in his chair, drinking his liquor, feeling like an intruder. An intruder in the house she had spent all her summers growing up in. An intruder in the house she had now inherited. An intruder in a place she hated, almost as much as she loved it.

Sighing, she pulled herself together. Enough wallowing, she told herself. He’s in a better place now, no matter how much it hurts to admit it. She closed the cap and placed the bottle on the floor.

She opened the curtains, bringing much needed light to the abandoned cabin. Dust swirled in the air as the house sighed; life had finally returned.


I really don’t know why I’m going with so sad story-lines for these prompts. Maybe next time I have to try to write a comedy.

Writing prompts and flash fics

Long time no see my friend! So, I joined the Free Writers and Readers site just in time for a flash fiction challenge. The prompt was this picture and here is what it inspired me to write.

Getting closure

Worn down sneakers thud against the wet road at an even pace, the monotonous rhythm broken only by the occasional splashes when her feet land in a puddle. Her breath comes out as a fog; her hair, glued to her face by the drizzle. She knows, that she should be freezing by now, but she’s too numb to feel it. She’s too numb to care.

She crosses the creek slithering its way through the valley and the tightness around her chest becomes unbearable. She stops, and leaning against her knees she takes a moment to catch her breath. Come on Beth, you can do it. Do it for Nick, she urges herself. She swallows a sob and forces herself to continue. The closer she gets to the place where they found him, the harder it is to fight back the tears burning in her eyes.

Finally, she sees the stone by the side of the road, and a chill fills her heart. It was here. She slows down, and then stops. With her arms wrapped tightly around her body, she just stands there looking at the spot where she saw him for the last time.

She hasn’t been here since. The place looks different than before, the trees have grown, and a new pavement has been laid. Gone is the blood, gone are the traces of the tragedy that happened, gone are the remains of the love of her life. When she closes her eyes, she can still see him laying there, his beautiful blond hair splayed out against the dark ground, his eyes wide open looking into the skies as he took his last breath. The dam, that she’s been fighting to keep together, bursts and she falls to the ground sobbing. A year has gone by, but the pain still crushes her, crumbling down the fragile walls she has built to protect her heart.

“Why, Nick?” She cries into the dark night. “Why did you have to leave me?”

She sits on her heels, and turns her face up towards the clouds, the tears on her cheeks now mixing with the rain pouring down. “Why did you have to take him away from me?” She closes her eyes and prays for an answer she knows that she will not get.

The rain fades, and a ray of light sneaks its way past the clouds, bringing light to the stone laid down in his memory by the side of the road. In silence she looks at the sight in front of her and gradually warmth wins over the painful chill in her heart. She walks over and brushes off a few wet leaves clinging to the surface. A sudden gust of wind dries off the last teardrops from her cheeks. “I know you are there looking over me, Nick,” she says with a wistful smile. “I’ll never forget you either.”

————–

So, what do you think? Let me know 🙂