Have you ever written a flash fiction piece?
In general flash fiction is a story that’s less than 2000 words. It can be any genre and topic, of course. Every month for #writestuff I create a flash fiction prompt. This year, stories written with the prompts in mind could possibly be published in an anthology next year. Join the fb group and learn more.
Here’s a flash fiction story that I wrote. It’s not from a prompt, it was just a scene I saw. Hmm…I guess now you get a glimpse into my head. My apologies.
She grabbed his hand and held it for a moment, looking into his eyes. The normal sparkling green were murky, like a meadow in fog choked twilight. Beautiful but dark.
“What’s happened to you, Joseph?” she asked, voice barely a whisper. He shook her hand off and just looked at her. Through her.
“What did you think, huh? You could leave out, no call, no nothing, and all hell wouldn’t break loose? When’s that ever been true?” She reached out to flick that stubborn bang out of his face, but his face stopped her. Habits.
“I didn’t think it through,” she admitted. “I know that. I’m sorry.”
His laugh was short. Grating. This isn’t how she wanted things to be. This isn’t what she’d come back for. Everything was off. It was too quiet here. It felt like a mausoleum in the Ivory Tower. Voices spoke in hushed tones as the servants hurried past his room. Nobody stopped in to chat like they used to. His phone wasn’t getting texts every other minute. He didn’t have some hip hop blaring in the background. He hadn’t been out of there in weeks and it felt like it. The air was musty and heavy. She got up and opened one of the picture windows, letting in some air.
“What are you doing here?”
“I wanted to see you. See if the Great Joseph had really been brought so low. What are you doing with yourself, eh?” She reached out and yanked the blankets from his legs. She ignored how thin they were. Pale. He must not have seen the sun in weeks. She smacked them to see some satisfying color bloom. He jumped.
“The hell, Francine, you come back to abuse me?”
“No, to stop letting you feel fucking sorry for yourself.” She balled her hand into a fist and punched the bed between his legs making him jump again. She took a deep calming breath. “I know, you’re hurting, because of Steve-”
“You don’t know nothin’-”
“But you think he’d want this bullshit? Eh? You think he’d want you to just stay down like this? Wither away to nothing? Look at you. You’re a breathing corpse. Your room looks like a hospital room.” She smacked the IV-bag hanging on the stand beside his bed.
“What’s you got in there? Something to ease your pain? What pain?”
“You don’t know Francine. You don’t know what’s like. You weren’t there.” He rubbed his hands down his arms. “I can’t get his blood off me.” Looking down at his clean arms, scrubbed free of even the hair. “I try and I try, but his blood is always there.”
“It’s always going to be there,” she said. “You gotta learn to ignore it.”
That laugh again.
“You gotta stop running away from life Joseph. You ain’t living up here in the Ivory Tower. Not like this.”
“You can tell me a whole lot about running, Franny, you wrote the book,” She winced even as she smiled a little. Childhood names slipped out easily.
“Oh what, you wanna be like me now, eh Joey? That what you want?”
“You know what I want.” He always knew how to stop her in her tracks. She licked her lips and his eyes followed.
“Whatever either one of us might want, some things can’t be like that,” she said. She took a deep breath trying not to fall back into old mistakes.
“Hey, remember Ambersterdam?” she asked abruptly.
He blinked a few times coming out of the moment, “Who could forget that car crash? You gave us the honor of being international car thieves. Well almost, anyway.”
“I didn’t know cars were so different over there!” she grinned, “The steering wheel was on the wrong damn side, threw me off.”
He laughed this time, a real one. Rusty with disuse, but it sound good. Like the old Joey.
“Remember that time in Brooklyn?” he asked.
“How could I forget? Who knew those after hour parties were such good pickings?”
“We made a mint, going to parties and picking pockets that summer.”
“Yeah, it got us enough money to really do it up. Me, you and Stevie.” They sat in the moment thinking about times they both treasured in their own way.
“You can’t just come here, dishing out memories like chicken noodle soup and then leave like it’s all better. It don’t work like that,” His voice was low, raw. He didn’t meet her eyes.
Her smile disappeared. “I know. I ain’t gonna be gone for long. I’m back.” He smiled a little smile and reached for her hand this time.
Her phone rang from somewhere inside her Louis Vuitton handbag, shattering the moment.
“Naw, the real deal, Holyfield,” she said.
She nodded, while she fished her cell out her purse. She tried to answer it but remembered the notoriously bad reception in the upper levels of the Ivory Tower.
“I’m gonna go down and take this. I’ll be right back up.” She turned to walk away.
“Hey Franny?” She turned back to him. “I didn’t miss you at all.”
She smiled a little sadly, “I didn’t miss you either. Be right back.”
She walked out of the room that had the only spot of color in the entirely whitewashed house and hurried to the staircase. She passed his mother in the hallway. She remembered what today was.
“Happy birthday, Mrs. M,” she said, as she walked past his mother in her adjoining sitting room. Before her husband had died, she was always spoiled with some big party, big ring, always a big thing for her birthday. Franny idly wondered what she was getting this year.
“Oh, it will be,” Mrs. M. sat her teacup down on its matching saucer with an audible click. Franny hurried down the ornate stairs to answer the call. The house’s cell phone reception was notoriously bad.
“You shouldn’t have come back,” the voice said and hung up. She looked down at the phone, felt that sour space in her gut. She turned on her heel and ran back up the winding staircase, skipping stairs, two-three at a time. Something wasn’t right.
The boy looked up at him and smiled. He would always be a boy to him.
“How’s it goin’, Stan? Got any hot tips for the races tonight?”
Stan shook his head with regret. He was going to miss this one. “Sorry kid, Mama gets what Mama wants.”
She tried to run faster than she ever had in her life. She started crying before she reached the top of the stairs. She knew what this was. How could she have been so stupid?
“What are you-?”
He put the pillow on the boy’s face so he wouldn’t have to seem him when he pulled the trigger. Close range like this was risky, but that’s what she wanted it. Low caliber. Silencer. The boy was weak, it didn’t take long for him to stop moving.
“Then we make sure to drop it over here, eh? Gonna miss you kid.”
He climbed out of the window. Opened like a present for him. Shimmied down the side onto the grassway like he’d been doing it for years. He took off at a loping gate, quickly entered the gatehouse like nothing had happened. He took his position there, manning the radio. He grabbed his pastrami sandwich and gave it a good bite. Nice. His old lady had put extra mayo on it, just like he liked.
Mrs. M.’s screams shattered the quiet in the Ivory Tower. She was too late.
“Find that bitch, she killed my son!” Mrs. M’s voice ripped through the intercom system. Franny’s knees were weak. Trying to process. She wanted to go look, see for herself. But she knew protocol here. Shoot first, ask questions later. She turned, jumping off the balcony landing in a crouch on the ground. Two stories, no problem.
She’d been setup. But the only way to avenge her best friend’s death was to stay alive.
And that is the flash fiction piece. Would you like me to write more of these this month? Are you writing any flash fiction for #AtoZChallenge or just in general? Let me know down in the comments.