Friday, June 19, 2015

Flash Fiction

This is different from what I usually put on here -- very different.  
Someone challenged me to do a Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction thing.  Who's Chuck Wendig?  Well, he's a lot of things, but what's important for now is that he's a writer with a blog, and he periodically puts up 'assignments' for readers of his blog. Here's the link to his blog. This week's assignment?  Write a story of no more than 1000 words  (super short stories are called flash fiction), and the story MUST begin with a dead body.
The story isn't my best effort, it's been a very busy week, the sun was in my eyes, and I had to walk uphill both ways, in the snow.  Excuses out of the way - here's my submission.

I’m Ready

         Magda poked at the lump of clothing and flesh, but it didn’t move.  With a determined look on her face, she poked again, harder this time.  The result was the same.  Frustrated, she stomped her foot, although there was no one around to either see or hear her.
“I can’t believe this has happened again,” she muttered.  “But at least this time there were three.  I wonder where the other ones are.”
Taking her time, Magda explored the area, inch by inch.  Back and forth, she went, taking care to inspect every possible hiding place, every resting spot.
“Aha!” she said, as she found the second body beneath a pile of old newspapers.  She took care to remove the newspapers without disturbing the body, but as she pulled away the last few papers, she could tell that this body wasn’t alive, either.  Nonetheless, she poked at it, in the hopes that she was wrong.  Perhaps it was only sleeping or even just seriously ill.  But when she poked at the lump, it was definitely old and mushy, and it had a bad odor as well.  She didn’t bother poking at it a second time. 
Magda chewed on her finger nail, as she considered.  “Let’s see… they always say the third time’s the charm, and good things come in threes, and all the stories give you three wishes.  Well I did begin with three of them.  That’s probably good enough.”  But after a moment’s hesitation, Magda closed her eyes and clicked her heels three times, snapped her fingers three times, and then blinked her eyes three times.  If that wasn’t enough threes for good luck, well - she was out of ideas and didn’t know what else to do.
She continued her slow, thorough examination of the area. As she neared the end without finding the third one, she had to resist the temptation to rush.  She refused to consider what she would do if her search came up empty.  And finally, in the last corner she was searching, she found the third one, curled up into a tight ball.  Holding her breath, she reached over and gently touched the body, prepared to jump back if it moved.  There was no movement.  Not yet ready to give up, she gingerly tried to uncurl the body.  And that’s when she realized that this body was as dead as the first two.
        “Mom”, she called again.  Still no response.
Magda sighed.  When her mother was in the middle of project, you had to get in her face to get her attention.  She headed for her mother’s office and walked in without bothering to knock.  She walked over and waved her hands in front of her mother’s face, and her mother finally looked up.
“Hello Magda. Do you need something?”“Yes, I do.  I need you to come with me.”
Her mother smiled, stood up, and took Magda’s hand.  “Ok dear, let’s go.”
A few moments later, they were both staring at what Magda was starting to think of as ‘the scene of devastation’.
“Look.  There.  Just like last time.”
“All three of them?”  Her mother peered closely at the nearest body.  “Are you certain?”
“Of course I’m certain.  I poked all three of them.  None of them moved, and one of them smells really bad.”
“Well you know what the pet store owner said, dear.  He warned you that earthlings are the most difficult pets to keep alive.  That’s why your father and I tried to talk you into starting off with martians, or even neptunians.”
“But I wanted earthlings!”
As Magda began to wail, her mother put a comforting arm around her.
        “I know you’re sad, dear. But these things happen.”
The wailing grew louder.
“Hey, how about a tropical fish?”
The wailing stopped.
         “Maybe one of those fish that has black and orange stripes?”
Her mother laughed.  “Yes, one of those.”
Magda clapped her hands.  “Oh goody!”  She picked up the small aquarium and ran into the bathroom.  A moment later the toilet flushed, and Magda came out of the bathroom with the empty container in her hands and a big smile on her face.
“I’m ready!”

1 comment:

  1. This is different for you - usually your dead bodies are at the end! Great story!