Flash Fiction, Shorts

The Fall

The city burned, fire lighting up the night sky.

Some tried to run. Some panicked and screamed as they were caught or crushed or burned. He watched them running from above, high up on a ledge. The were so small from up here, and looked like little ants to him.

He felt the wind blowing through his hair, and breathed in a deep, refreshing breath, paying careful attention to the air as it filled his lungs. It tasted metallic and stale. Dust caught in his throat and he coughed, wincing. He looked around from his vantage point and watched as the city crumbled from the blasts. The whine of approaching bombers reached his ears, and he saw their shapes in the distance growing larger.

Without another thought, he launched himself in the air and spread his arms wide. He wasn’t long for this world, and wouldn’t give them the satisfaction.

The wind tore through his hair and clawed at his face, and he wore a grin the whole way down.

 

 

 

Flash Fiction, Shorts

The Old Hag

I can’t sleep. If I sleep it will come again.

Three nights ago while sleeping, I woke in the middle of the night to find that I could not move a single muscle on my body. Paralyzed, I could only inch my eyes around the room and hope that it passed. The night was hot, and had left me sweating, but as I lay there, an icy fear gripped me. Suspended in a state of shock, fear, and a slight curiosity, I tried to call out, but my voice failed me. It wouldn’t have mattered anyhow, as  I live alone.

Still, I felt that there was some other presence in the room with me, though I couldn’t put my finger on it.

I didn’t have to wait long for the nighttime visitor. It came with a very heavy and very solid weight on my chest.There, crouched in an animal fashion, was the grotesque shrunken form of an old woman, dressed in rags with a large warty nose and lank, greasy white hair. My heart stuttered. Still held in the firm grip of sleep paralysis, I could only watch as she sat there, moving her head ever so slightly, as if listening for something.

Not wanting to fall asleep with this thing on my chest, I tried to stay awake, but sleep reached out its comforting arms and took me against my will. I woke the next morning with memories of the old hag still fresh in my mind. It had not been a dream.

I haven’t slept since then. I know it will only happen again if I do, and I feel as if I am steadily losing my mind. My eyes become heavier each day, and I know that I cannot hold out much longer.

I dread the old hag.

 

Flash Fiction, Shorts

Waiting by the Lake

She saw him laying out on the side of the lake. There was a strand of seaweed stuck in his long brown hair, and his muscles shone as he stretched them from swimming. She had seen him there every day for the past week while walking home, and every day he was sitting on that rock. She still didn’t have the courage to approach him.

The day was hot and her dress stuck to her as she walked. She wiped the sweat from her eyes. Around the far side of the lake, the man dove into the water and started swimming towards her. She noticed how fluid he looked, and how comfortable and natural his stroke was, like he was born for the water.

He stopped before reaching the shore, treading water and watching her. His eyes were a perfect blue-green that matched the waters. He smiled, and she smiled back. Then, after running a hand through his hair, he gestured  for her to join him.

The water was cold and wonderful on her hot, sticky skin. She had made him turn around before taking off her dress and sliding in. When she told him to turn back, he dove underwater instead. She felt a pull at her feet and was dragged under.

She opened her eyes underwater, expecting to see him wearing  a silly grin. Instead, a monstrous being faced her, half horse, with a long scaly tail. She gasped and swallowed water. Then the kelpie was on her. Its front hooves landed hard on her chest and she was pushed down. Water filled her lungs and her vision clouded at the edges as the kelpie took her deeper.

She was not the first. Nor would she be the last.

Flash Fiction, Shorts

The Bridge

The bridge was long, and stretched out over the icy black waters hundreds of feet below them. They wore masks for the deadly particles in the hazy air, and their clothes were ragged and tattered.

They had been walking the bridge for two days, and had yet to glimpse the far side. Every hundred meters or so, great stone posts dove deep into the ocean floor, anchoring the bridge in place. The winds were furious and unrelenting. Every day was a miracle. Every step a struggle.

The oldest in the group, a bent man with white hair and beard stumbled at the back. Another man went to help him, but heard an echoing howl from behind. Then another, closer. With a lingering, sorrowful look at the old man, he turned and pressed on. A weak link in the chain could not be repaired.

They could only hope that there would be shelter on the other side of the bridge. That’s what all the rumors said. If there wasn’t, that would be it. It wouldn’t be so bad though. At least it would all be over.  No more fear or pain. No more running.

The group of men walked along the bridge, and the howling followed.

 

Flash Fiction, Shorts

A Perfectly Ordinary Day

Greg Thompson was a perfectly ordinary man who lived a perfectly ordinary life, and he liked it that way. He had no idea that his morning on June the 14th would bring such strange and wonderful things. If he did, he would have gone right back to sleep.

Greg relished his morning time. When he woke up he slipped on his rust-colored bathrobe, grabbed the current book he was reading, and started a pot of coffee.

Thirty minutes later, there was still no coffee. Greg walked over to the stove and began to cook some bacon and eggs. While they were sizzling, he looked at the coffee-maker and fiddled with the buttons, trying to fix it. When nothing would work, as a last resort, he unplugged it.

Time stopped.

He could tell that something was wrong because he could no longer smell bacon, and the sizzling sound had stopped. Everything was quiet and still. When Greg realized what he had done, he panicked. He didn’t want to be caught up in any sort of fantasy tale, those were only things to be read about. He plugged the coffee-maker back in, and time started again. Just to be sure he wasn’t imagining things, he unplugged it one more time. Sure enough, the stillness returned.

He plugged it back in, and left it that way.

 

 

 

 

 

Flash Fiction, Shorts

Pangur Ban

There is a cat that hides in the forest by the name of Pangur Ban. He is ghost white and hides in the spaces between the trees.

Just outside the borders of the forest is a small village. The people there warn their children to not wander into the forest at night, for there are dark and dangerous things in there.

One night, a boy named Aiden sneaks out from his home after his parents are asleep. He has always been a curious one, always doing what he is told not to. The moon is full and bright, and Aiden’s shadow follows close behind as he slips behind the trees.

It isn’t so bad in here, he thinks. Certainly no dark or dangerous things that will kill or eat me. The trees are thin and tall, and grow close together. The cool night air is soft, and a breeze whispers through, kissing the leaves.

A twig snaps, and Aiden jumps. He listens for a full minute, scarcely breathing, and finally relaxing when nothing comes out to nab him. He wanders deeper into the woods, and the hour becomes late. When he finally decides to turn around, he finds that he has lost his way. In a panic now, Aiden turns wildly trying to find the path he took. Too scared to take a wrong turn, he sits himself down against a tree and hugs his knees close to his chest.

A bright white light causes Aiden to lift his head. In the distance a white cat seems to be giving off its own light. Aiden stands up and takes a hesitant step towards it. The cat darts behind a tree and the light is gone. Aiden chases after it, not knowing exactly why.

He keeps following the white cat through the forest, only ever catching a glimpse of its tail as it turns behind another tree. It leads him all the way back to the border of the forest where his home waits.

As Aiden walks away from the forest he looks back at the line of trees bathed in moonlight. The little white cat sat just at the border, not passing beyond the cover of the trees.

Aiden sneaks back into his bed without his parents noticing and waits for sleep to take him, and on his lips are one name.

Pangur Ban.

 

Flash Fiction, Shorts

Fun with Food

I went to the grocery store yesterday and tried to steal seven packs of gum. My record was only four, but I was feeling confident.

The grocery store is perhaps the best place to steal from, since no one pays any attention when you’re picking things up and looking at them. And with the self-check-outs  now, its like they’re just asking for it. Its really too easy.

Anyway, yesterday I walked into the store and immediately snagged two packs of gum from the checkout lines. I put them in my cart and walked toward the produce isle inconspicuously. I grabbed an apple from the organic section and switched it with one of the cheaper ones. I tried to imagine the look on the customer’s face when they paid organic apple prices for just a normal apple. It was too funny. I put some spinach and bananas in my cart and kept making my way through the store.

By the time I was waiting for a self-check-out machine I had managed to leave a gallon of milk in the freezer section, poke holes in several yogurt cups, and stashed eight packs of gum in my pockets, one more than I had even planned. It would have been my most successful shopping trip yet.

And now you want me to pay for it all? I see your point with all the food that I ruined, but don’t you find it funny too?

Can’t I at least keep the gum?