Flash Fiction, Shorts


“Humph,” the man grunted as he crossed his arms. Nothing was perfect as long as people were involved. They had a surprising knack for mucking up what they tried to fix. The man walked away from the thatch-roof huts and watched the inhabitants of the ‘intentional living facility’ — as they called it– bathe naked in the river.

He was skeptical when he first found the hidden paradise. He had been walking along a well-known path that ran along mountain ridges and through the woods when he saw a deer trail veer off into the trees. Feeling spontaneous at the moment, he followed it, and came across a small valley at the end of the path. A river ran through the middle, and there were huts crafted from twigs and branches and grass on the edge of the bank.

They seemed nice enough when he approached them. Welcoming him with outstretched arms they invited him to sit, eat and drink with them, and told him he could stay as long as he wished. He would only need to contribute in some way.

So he stayed at the edge of the water and helped with the fishing. But while he did, he kept his eyes and ears open. this was one of those supposed ‘utopias’ he had read about. People who thought that an alternative society could work. He scoffed at their pretensions of superiority and looked desperately for an opportunity to expose their selfishness and pride.

He stayed there for weeks. He became much better at fishing, and even built himself his own little hut. Despite his efforts, however, he was unable to find a single thing that was wrong with the place. On the contrary, he found that he liked it very much. The people were nice. They worked for their food in the mornings, and had time for themselves come the afternoon. It seemed a magical place to him.

Then one day they came to him while he was sleeping in his hut. They told him that he could no longer stay. When he objected, they turned him out of his cot and pushed him to the edge of the valley. They gave him no explanation. It simply seemed as though his time were up.

The man left grumbling and grumpy. He found his way back to the familiar mountain path and began to walk back home.

The man walked on the mountain path every day until his knees couldn’t take it anymore. Each day he looked for the old deer trail, but he never saw it again.



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