I lurk every day on several forums, but the one place where I spend most of the time I should otherwise engage in writing is the Writers’ Café on the KBoards. If you write, I strongly suggest you to visit the Writers’ Café and mingle. Even a social media-shy person like me feels welcome there, and the amount of information you’ll receive about the publishing craft is priceless. Maybe a year ago, Hugh Howey launched this crazy idea on Kboards asking indies to write a short and put together an anthology. By general consensus, it was decided the pieces should have been no longer than 1000 words. I wrote my flash fiction piece and asked friends to beta read it for me. I was quite pleased with my short, Eternal Bounds, a daunting love story narrated by a ghost. Meanwhile, the original post started by Hugh Howey had reached mammoth proportions, and the project was put in standby. Several months later, the thread was resurrected and Andrew Ashling offered to help publish the anthology. Stories on the Go: 101 very short stories by 101 Authors is the result. And it’s free because, true to its original inception, the anthology is meant to be a showcase of indies’ talents. So, please, grab a copy, talk about it, and leave a review for us.
Sunday morning, I’ve been awoken since 4:00 AM. Two espressos and two black teas already under the belt, going for the third espresso. Hands shaking, feeling slightly disoriented. Detachment from reality almost complete. Dog’s barking, outside. Rain softly drumming against the window. Green everywhere, fresh air. Summer, but not yet. Today is the day I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
(flash fiction inspired by Alessandro Fiorini’s painting Tradita*)
He’s coming, she thinks, looking outside. The breeze from the shore caresses her face. The sun is rising high in the sky; soon will be too hot to leave the windows open.
He’s coming. The sheets lie crumpled at her side as a sea of stormy thoughts. The perfume she had carefully donned is wafting away. Nearby, a gate opens and closes, rusted hinges breaking the morning silence.
He’s coming. She blinks, once, twice, refusing to move. Her eyes are growing tired to stare at the ever-moving, liquid surface, now busy with colorful boats coming back to the marina. The tempest has come and gone, leaving behind a trail of waste marring the once-beautiful blue. She focuses her attention on a piece of floating wood. Her heart skips a beat. Tears fill her dark eyes.
He’s coming. She knows, joy finally descends upon her. The piece of wood is just such. A familiar shape fending through the crowded water commands her attention. The small boat seems to fly over the waves, sending the debris away in its wake, a bright light intermittingly flashing a love letter.
“I’m coming home,” it says. She smiles and closes the window.
*Although the original title of the painting means ‘betrayed’, while I was writing this piece I thought that the lovely woman in the picture deserved a happier ending. There is something about her and the light surrounding her that compelled me to write something permeated by hope.
I take the glass from the stem, and I gingerly wrap my fingers around it. The dew condensing on the surface makes me shiver.
“It’s only a sip,” he tries again, and smiles while drinking from his glass.
I raise my eyes to look at him. He is beautiful, and young, and full of promises.
“What you feel now it’s going to last forever; don’t you want to be with me forever?” The final question.
“Well, forever it’s an awful long time to be stuck with you.”
*There are two versions of this flash fiction. The picture inspired me twice; this is the first one.
There is a bright light coming from outside. I remember when the sun shone for more than five hours a day. Rome was glorious then. I remember people walking by. Romans were proud and always busy. I remember the smells changing every season. Now, it would be roasted chestnuts on open fires. My body is decaying, but my mind is sharp. I stare at the image framed by the window, and I wish I could get near and read what it says. A school of fish swims by and covers the letters on the billboard. There is more and more of them, marine animals, reclaiming a territory that once was theirs. I watch from my submersed capsule as the light flickers and dies.
It’s that time of the month. I can feel it in my skin, crawling. She has already left to find herself. I don’t want to. I struggle and fight. But, it is stronger than me. I can sense her, around the corner, rejoicing in the power. I hate it. I hate her. I hate myself. I know I am weak, and I’ll succumb to the calling. I’ll do it again, and again, and again, to be with her. The last store shuts off the lights. I shiver. I am alone, defenseless. The Three Moons shine in the dark sky.
There is a moment in life when you had enough and you have to make a stance. It begins slowly, but then the indignation grows unbearable, and you feel you can’t just sit and wait for someone else to sort it out for you. You also feel guilty, because you have already said yes to the other humiliating requests. You did. And, it shames you that you did. You should have said no. You should have rebelled, if not for you, for your kids, and your kids’ kids. Instead, you found an accommodation. So, with great trepidation, and sour-sweet sadness, after ten years, you make the final call:
“Honey, terminate Netflix.”
(Flash fiction piece written for Austin Briggs’ Write-n-Win! 55 words contest)
“Mommy, Mommy! Look up!” Lucille glides weightlessly, skirting rocks and grass.
“The night is bright,” Mom says, closely following her.
“Look at the round light!” Lucille happily somersaults. “It’s so yellow, and so big, and so shiny. Can you catch it for me?”
“For you, my sweet fry, the Moon and the Stars aren’t enough!”