347 Words | Reading Time: About 1:44 minutes
Bild: Joan M. Borràs (ebrenc) CC-BY-SA 2.5
Again a story inspired by an image prompt at the Angry Hourglass
Flash Frenzy, this time the picture was of a young man reading a book on the beach. Reading on the beach is an alien concept to me. When I’m at the beach, I just enjoy the beach and the sea. So I tend to think what book would be so compelling it makes one ignore the beauty of the beach.
This is what grew out of that.
The year had begun lackluster. The next day he was pregnant, which also managed to clear weird off the list. Jovian on the third was hard to pin down but worse, it made Simon miss the fourth day, when he had to talk his way back out of an insane asylum. That would have ruined his project had day two not counted for two adjectives. So far, living every day according to a random word generator selecting an adjective from the dictionary had been a worthwhile experience.
Today he was gullible. A nice word, there was a ring to it and so he committed to it quickly.
He went to a bookstore and selected the book with the boldest claim. “How to breathe underwater” it said and it was a thin one, too. So he sat down low on the beach and began to read, convinced he would have mastered breathing underwater by the time the flood submerged him.
The book was practical, it mentioned how unfeasible it was to grow gills in the little time he had, so it clearly knew what it was talking about. So many exercises, many of the strange beyond imagination, yet he did them all and felt successful each time.
It became hard to read when the tide washed over the pages, but it was still possible and even made the exercises a little easier. When the water reached his nostrils, he inhaled with confidence. Simon hoped the remaining adjectives would work underwater.
Best book ever.
527 Words | Reading Time: About 2:38 minutes
It has been too long, hasn’t it? Well, here I am with a new flash fiction story, this time a result of the competition at The Angry Hourglass. The version of the story posted over there is slightly different because of the 360 words word limit. The story originally reached 420 words, I then edited it down to 359 as posted on the Angry Hourglass site and then edited some new words back in where I felt cutting down had hurt the tale.
Interesting story behind this one: I originally mistook the image prompt preview for a man fighting in a dojo with a lamp in the foreground. When I later looked at the larger version I recognized it was a man carrying a flame on a stick. Both interpretations have found their way into this short piece.
Visit the link above to see the other version as well as the prompt and other entries resulting from it, some of them exceptionally good.
Master of Man
He watched them flee into the darkness. Victory, but how? And why had he fought them? The aggression had been something that suddenly took hold of him to subside once they fled. Somehow not his anger, it was of somebody else.
„Hello“, Josh called out into the empty hall. Only one lamp burned against the night outside. Though dim, it should have been enough to see anybody hiding here. There was nobody.
„Hello“, answered something from no direction at all, feeling like a voice inside his head, „thank you for your assistance. This is my room. I was born here, I live here. And I cannot fight my oppressors, so thank you for taking care of that.“
„Where are you? Who are you? Why did I fight?“
„That was me, I made you want to fight. I can’t fight, but sometimes I can get help when I need it. I am who lives here. There were others living here, but those you drove off came in here. At first they started training as you do in any dojo. But as they got better, they started to become aggressive.“
„You’re not answering my questions!“
„No, I’m making you understand. There used to be more like me living here, one in every corner, but one day, they killed one next to the door, then the other one there. One by one, they climbed toward us, killed my brethren and had the hall grow dark and cold. You came in so I gave you eagerness to fight them. You saved me.“
„You’re not making any sense, who are you? I don’t even see a shadow.“
„That’s precisely who I am, no shadow.“
„That’s no better! Where are you and how do you make me feel like you speak inside my head?“
„Silly boy, that is what our kind does. We live to fill humans with emotions, with ideas, with warmth. To the most receptive, we can talk. I am flame, and fire, and light. And you will now pick me up.“
„Why would I want to do that?“
„Because you want to.“
„Yes, I do“ Josh said when a sudden urge to do so woke in him.