Grey Skies

He stared up at the grey building. Some of the windows were lit, but they did nothing to cheer him up. Craning his neck, he could see the sky above, an even darker shade of grey than the building. His fingers gripped the umbrella tighter. He hoped he wouldn’t be needing it later. He didn’t want his new suit to be ruined.

Taking a deep breath, he stepped into the building. The receptionist took his name with a blank nod, then gave him directions to the room.

It was only on the first floor, but he preferred to take the elevator.

Minutes later, he knocked on the door, then took a step back. He heard a faint “come in” and carefully pushed down the door handle.

Without looking at the man at the desk, he swiftly closed the door again, grabbed one of the chairs and pushed it under the handle.

The man at the desk stared at him as he wordlessly pulled out his gun.

“It wasn’t us,” he said, his eyes locked on the muzzle. “None of us snitched.”

The man took a step closer to him, keeping the gun firmly trained on the other man’s head.

“Don’t lie to me,” he said in a cold voice. “We have the videotapes.”

Sweat broke out on the other man’s forehead, but he did not reply.

The man with the gun nodded slowly. “I thought so.”

Then he pulled the trigger.

When he left the building, it was pouring down with rain, but he kept the umbrella uselessly by his side.

© 2017

Image from free photo stock pixabay.com

Returning

Along with the workshop on “beginnings” I took, which I talked about in my last post, I also went to a workshop that was called “No Place Like Mine”, focusing on the setting of a story.

It was quite an interesting and informative class, where I realised that it really doesn’t matter too much if you haven’t been to the actual place you are writing about. If you do your research accordingly, then you don’t need to get a feel for the place. What’s most important, is how the character feels about the place.

I really found that piece of advice intriguing – since I have never visited the place where my own novel takes place, due to several reasons. Therefore, having done a ton of research before I started writing, I hope I am qualified enough to write about the place!

 

In the workshop, we also did some writing on our own projects, focusing on a specific place that is important to our novel. In the place I chose from my novel, there was a crime committed prior to the story’s plot, which the main character, Olivia, must eventually return to. It happened in her living room with and by people she loved, so I apologise beforehand if it has a rather dark vibe to it!

***

Taking a deep breath, she pushed open the door. The hall was dark and she could smell the dust in the air. Olivia thought she could smell the blood again too, but she knew they had cleaned that up. Taking a deep breath, she stepped forward and switched on the light.

The glow of the lamp barely lit up the space, as always, but there was no need to see things more closely. She knew where the dust was and the spiderwebs that caught in her hair as she moved. She knew where the wall had cracks from taking too many punches. She knew it all. All the little things that haunted her in her sleep.

Olivia moved into the living room, sucking in her breath when she saw the blood. She blinked a few times, until it was gone, but she thought she could still see the outlines on the floor and wall opposite her, even though she knew for a fact it was gone.

© 2017

***

-Fia

They Shoot The White Girl First.

I recently took a writing workshop on “beginnings” and I thought I’d share the outcome of one of the writing exercises we did. We were given a list of opening sentences, which were taken from numerous novels, and were asked to continue the story.

Mine is my usual action-packed dark story, which could possibly be turned into a longer piece. By the end of it, I was somehow reminded of Misery by Stephen King and the scenes where Paul is lying on the bed being abused by Annie Wilkes. And at the beginning I started out envisioning it like the scene at the beach from Little Bee by Chris Cleave. Odd how those two should fit together..

Anyway, I hope you enjoy! And I do hope it’s not too dark.. I think there was a collective releasing of breaths when I finished up reading it out loud to the class. Though I don’t know why – I keep envisioning a happy ending somewhere down the road, beyond what happens in the snippet of the story that I focused on telling.

***

They shoot the white girl first. I didn’t know they actually meant to carry out their threat and so I stand frozen, unable to move, watching them point the gun at the second girl, and knowing that my time will come.

I snap out of my frozen state. I turn and run. I hear the voices behind me, shouting orders. Gunshots follow me, but I have started zig-zagging my way through the trees, so they don’t hit me. I hear footsteps and heavy breathing. My own breaths are coming ragged and I don’t know how much longer I can go on.

Suddenly, I have left the forest behind me and the sun seems to punch me in the face. It is too hot; my skin feels like it is burning.

The footsteps keep coming behind me; then I hear the shot, feel it going through me and tossing me to the ground.

I smell the foul stench of sweat and bad breath, then feel a kick to my ribs.

I scream and my eyes fly open.

Sunlight almost blinds me and I squint. Disoriented, I try to figure out what happened. Had I died? Or was I somewhere between life and death? I didn’t even remember whether I had passed out or not.

All of a sudden, I smell the foul stench again. I scream, feeling nauseated.

“Hey there,” a voice by my ear. “Slept well?” Then, I feel a punch to my already broken ribs.

I scream again and the figure I now recognise as a man laughs. I recognise him as the man who shot the white girl, the same laugh that escaped his lips after the shot.

© 2017

***

-Fia

The Perfect Spot

Carefully, she peaked over the edge of the leaves. The rusty red of the car seemed to shimmer as the sunlight reflected off of it.

She smiled to herself, her eyes slowly scanning her surroundings. This was the place. She remembered it so well.

Deciding that there was no one to hide from, she pushed herself through the leaves towards the car.

Taking in the missing windows from the car, she thought back to when she had first found this place. It hadn’t been that long ago. At least, it felt like it had been only yesterday.

Bending through the window frame, she reached out her hand and stroked the cold hard skin of her mother, taking in the wound in the chest that had gotten bigger since she last saw it.

Her smile froze on her face when she heard a twig snap behind her. Her hand slowly reaching towards the gun in her pocket, her mind spiralled in a million different directions.

“Police,” a cold voice said from behind her. She whirled around, but before she could align the gun, she heard a different shot, then fell down on her knees, her gun dropping uselessly to the floor.

© 2017

Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, Week of March 14, 2017

Photo prompt provided by Tom Livingston with the blog The ForesterArtist

Running

She hated this part of the woods. It was cold and mucky, and the trees seemed to close in around her from all sides. Still, she kept moving, her bare feet finding the spots along the path that were dry. Looking behind her, she couldn’t see him anymore. She wanted to breathe a sigh of relief, but she could still hear the twigs snapping, and she knew she had to keep going.

Her breaths were coming ragged now, but she willed herself to keep going. It wasn’t that much further until the woods ended. At least she hoped so.

All of a sudden, she noticed the absence of snapping twigs. She stopped, listening intently for breathing. She heard a wood-pecker continuing his rhythmic pecking, unfazed by the actions below, but apart from that there was silence.

She took a deep breath, trying not to scream in horror. Where could he be? He couldn’t be that far off. She had heard him coming after her.

Her eyes jumped across the terrain, looking for any sign of movement.

Out of nowhere, he suddenly sprung at her from behind. Caught unaware, she was knocked to the ground.

Her eyes widened when she saw the gun in his shaking hand, then felt it against her temple.

A loud bang made the world stop spinning. But instead of black, all she saw was red.

Then she tasted his blood and realised in a daze that she was still alive.

© 2017

Image from free photo stock pixabay.com

Swamped

She stopped the car and looked around.

“Shit,” she said, hitting the steering wheel. How had she landed in the middle of nowhere? This was literally a swamp.

“Where are we going, mommy?” her four-year-old chirped from the back seat. She sighed.

“It’s a surprise,” she said, trying not to let a despairing laugh take hold of her.

It was his birthday and here they were, camped out in the middle of a swamp. She started the engine again and hit the accelerator. Only the sound of the wheels spinning up mud was heard.

“Mommy, we’re not moving,” her son said, straining to look out the window. “Why are we not moving?”

“I don’t know!” she said desperately. “Why are we not moving? Oh god. Oh no. Please don’t do this.” She kept pushing the accelerator, but nothing happened. “Shit,” she said again, this time it was a scream.

“Is everything okay, mommy?”

She shook her head.

“Don’t worry, mommy. I’m not mad. We can have a party here.”

She smiled at her son through her tears. She wished she could be as young and naïve as him again.

© 2017

Image from free photo stock pixabay.com

Appreciating the Wine

She looked down at the food and wine, and suddenly felt sick. He had wanted to talk to her, that’s all he had said. Excited, she had gone grocery shopping, twirling through the room as though she was getting married. Well, that’s exactly what she was hoping was going to happen. She thought he wanted to finally – finally – ask her to marry him. She had gotten the wine ready, the red one he had always loved so much.

Now she sat opposite him, staring at the cheese, willing him to laugh at what he had just said. There was silence, then she looked up. “What?”

He watched her for a second, sipping his wine, then he replied. “We’re over.” He set the wine down. “I know you dream about marrying me,” he grinned lopsidedly, looping his hand around the wine glass again. “And I appreciate the wine, but I’m sick of you. I know,” he held up his hand to stop her from protesting, while his other slid beneath the table. “I know you would never let me go, so I brought you a little present.”

Grinning again, his hand reappeared with a gun in his hand. She turned white, her words stuck in her throat.

“You’ve never meant anything for me. Except for the money you so kindly gave me, and the wine of course.” He smiled widely. “Goodbye,” he whispered, then he pulled the trigger.

© 2016

Image from free photo stock pixabay.com

Trapped in a Tunnel

Though the tunnel appeared well-lit and recently built, he hated driving his car through it. It was something he had never grown accustomed to. The narrowness of the place had him on edge.

Turning up the radio, he tried to fill the space with music, but he could still feel the walls looming over and around him. He shuddered and concentrated on the end of the tunnel. Soon, it would be over. Soon, he would be out of here.

Beside him on the floor, his prisoner stirred. He kicked him hard, not taking his eyes off the road and got a groan as a response.

Shit, he thought, as he hit the brakes hard. The cars in front of him had all slowed down almost to a stop and from behind, he could hear the wailing of police sirens above his music.

His prisoner stirred again at the sound. This time he kicked him hard. When the cars stopped moving, he shoved the other behind his seat, just in time before a police officer rapped on his window.

He nodded and smiled politely, but then he saw the man’s hand move to his gun, just as a second police officer appeared at his other door.

© 2016

Image from free photo stock pixabay.com

Late

She hated this part of the path. The branches caved in above her head, as though pushing her down. She pulled her hood closer around her head, as the fog grew denser.

She cursed herself inside. She should never have decided to take the walk through the forest. Should have taken the path along the road, illuminated by the street lights. But of course she was late again. Late and too lazy to take the safer path. She hurried faster, knowing that her dad would be annoyed that she was late yet again.

A sudden strange noise made her look sharply to the right. Were those eyes staring at her through the fog? She couldn’t tell.

She picked up her pace.

Seconds later, she was grabbed from behind, a large hand covering her mouth to stop her strangled scream from reaching her lips. She heard a soft laugh, then she lost consciousness.

© 2016

Image from free photo stock pixabay.com