Over this weekend, I’m delighted to share with you the top three stories of the Year-end Special Competition at the Flash Fiction Group I host on Scribblers.
The prompt was The End and The Beginning, with a 1000 word limit.
Here’s story Number 3 by Toppykat:
The smell of autumn but more like musky, warm, rich odors of a bonfire in the distance. I walk miles across an unfamiliar terrain. A twilight sky as black a sky I have never seen before cloaks me. In this world silence is explicit. My breathing reverberates in my ear with a periodic whistle in accompaniment. I’ve been walking for hours now, it seems. However, the theme of the landscape, unchanged. I am without my sunglasses, I am not squinting but more alive than I have ever felt before. Suddenly, my legs are Jello beneath me. My abdomen feels as though a sledge hammer collided with it. On the caked ground; facing the night sky, I am screaming. My stomach crushed. Blood is everywhere.
Startled, I sit up in bed staring into the mirror mounted on the wall before me. I am in perfect form.
I wish to stay here and never return, I whisper to myself retrieving notepad and pen off the nightstand. Noting the specifics of my dream. No change, I write. It has been the same dream occurrence for as long as I can recollect.
People like ants scurry about Grand Central main concourse in lieu of their destinations. I taste the bile in my throat as envy boils in the pit of my stomach. They have their destination in sight. I have yet to formulate a plan to reach mine.
After my parents’ sudden death, I quickly squander my fortune. The new world envisioned in my dreams will require no currency of any kind.
The dream gives me hope and promise for a new life elsewhere. It fuels my days. The end is near for the dreams are becoming more and more vivid with each occurrence. I believe, I have hope!
The homeless shelter at night – a contrast to Café Joe where I spend my days. I sit here now looking out the window at busy Park Avenue. I watch as cars drive into the gaping mouth of the avenue’s underpass. Being swallowed into its wrought iron and trestle mouth, affixed to its diagonal cement wall of a face. Its trestle mouth; slick black and paved surface of a tongue sports brilliant, white double lines down its middle. I hear folks say it is yellow.
I wear sunglasses to protect my eyes from the glares of each day of my miserable existence in this world. My monochromatic vision a birth defect. I see in shades of black, white and grey. However, I can differentiate white from black quite easily. The texture is extreme and dense identifying the blackest shades as black and the lightest shades as white. The grey are other colors in their world I can identify due to minor variations within. I can typically fudge out blues and yellows. All others are lost to me and seen as grey.
The time is soon. The moment near. End life in this world. Spin a new beginning in another is the plan. The excitement of its premise heightens my sensitivity to the glare outside. I turn away sipping my coffee. It is tasteless today. Oh! My bad! It is water and my twelfth cup. Instincts dictate more consumption is necessary today. Re-filling my glass from a now empty pitcher, I gesture to the waiter for another.
I don’t recall vacating my stool at Café Joe because I stand in the midst of oncoming traffic. Cocoon within a bubble of silence, which pops precipitously within seconds of my realization. My body hits the paved road before the underpass, hard. My vision skews. The underpass transforms to an eagle readying for flight. Brought back to reality when the pain in my abdomen registers throughout. Flesh raw to the touch as I am being propped up by a woman. She folds her sweater and places it underneath my throbbing head. A masculine voice of despair pleads to me.
“Sir, what can I do for you?”
Lifting my head, I watch as slick, thick liquid seep from my wound. I am unsure of its color for a mill-second. I ask the man before me.
“It is red? Isn’t it?”
“What is red?”
“My blood … it’s red, right?”
With a look of puzzlement and disbelief in his eyes, he responds. “Yes.”
I smile. I focus on the gaping mouth of the underpass. I am no longer on the roadway but inside my dream. My feet carry the miles along into nothingness. However, this time I witness bright red dots cloaked within fragile moths-like skirts. They are floating through the atmosphere. The warmth of this world touches my heart. I reach for my sunglasses — gone. The trousers I wear a relic of my previous life.
I feel cold, sweaty palm touches my hand. A prelude to a coarse voice like that of a chronic smoker invades the silent night. A singular baritone overture trails upward from the caked and baked earth beneath my bare feet.
“You cannot enter here in your human form? You must be as I am to reside here.”
It is male! Instinctively, I look up to the sky searching the night for its source. A tug to my trouser makes me look down to reveal. A diminutive creature no taller than a two-year old toddler. It snickers. Its head thrown all the way back. Its mouth houses a full set of sharp canines. Its head clearly the size of its body doing a balancing act. Yet it does not topple over.
On my knees, I stare back adamantly, “I must remain!”
The creature tilts its head to the right; then left. Its hollow puncture holes for eyes seem to be blinking at me in delight. A chuckle caught in my throat at its preposterousness. It walks away pensively; stops then turns around, abruptly.
“Ah! Of course! I remember you. Welcome!”
I start to my feet but there is no need. I now stand eye to eye with the diminutive creature.
Toppykat is a regular contributor to the Flash Fiction thread at Scribblers. Here are links to some of her published work:
Moment is My Name
If you wish to take a look at the other great stories of the Year-End Special, here’s the link to the thread:
Or better still, come and join our bi-monthly Flash Fiction thread at Scribblers. Newcomers are always welcome. Here’s the link to the current thread: