Flash Fiction: Terminus

This weeks flash fiction is based around these rather spectacular Russian photos, and some of them are pretty goddamn weird. I advise everyone to have a look at them, and just try to imagine the crazy-ass circumstances that would have led to that photo being taken. Anyway, the Terribleminds.com flash fiction challenge requires me to choose one of those photo’s and use it as inspiration for a piece of flash fiction of no more than 1000 words.

I chose this fantastic image…

russian photo number 17

…and used it to come up with this. I hope you like it, and want to click the little like button at the bottom or even better leave me a comment packed full of free and useful advice. 🙂

Thanks for reading.

Flash Fiction: Terminus

The 9:47 train sped its way through the bowels of the city. Each of the twelve cars filed with a multitude of people, all of them getting on with their entirely unique lives. Although one of the cars on the 9:47 train was carrying a completely different type of passenger; someone who had not taken this train to get to a destination, but with the very important task of collecting a soul.

In the centre of the train car, dressed in black wearing a porcelain mask stood a black-haired woman. Nobody was paying any attention to her despite her black wings and horns. A man in a green coat and jeans continued to read his book while tinny beats drifted out from his headphones, a drunk man in a wax jacket crouched on the floor holding his head, and a young mother held onto the overhead bar and watched a child in a white bobble-hat. Only the child in the white bobble-hat paid any attention to the dark-haired girl in the mask. She wasn’t surprised; people who didn’t want to see her often ignored her. Yet children always seemed to be the exception, they could always see her and the way they used to look at her, as if those innocent eyes could look into her heart and see everything she had done.

She wasn’t proud of who she is or what she does, but she knew that she had to keep doing it, it was her destiny though she never liked thinking about it in terms like that. Everyone should have the power of free will, even her… maybe even especially her.

The muffled and nasal tones of the train driver blurted out the long list of stops the train would be stopping at. The man in the green jacket looked up from his book to listen, he looked right past the masked girl towards the adverts posted above her head. Soon she would have to do it again, and she really didn’t want to. She looked again at the child in the white bobble-hat who smiled kindly back at her.

‘She’s here for you.’ Shouted the drunk, as he attempted to stagger to his feet before collapsing back on to the floor. ‘She’s… for… you…’

The drunk was too far-gone to be able to say anything else. The passengers shifted uncomfortably but the train car was quiet, except for the muted sounds of the reading man’s music and the rhythmic shunting of the train on the tracks.

Suddenly, the lights in the train car went off, and the car was completely dark. Not even the lights on the inside of the tunnel were on but within seconds the lights flickered back to their usual fluorescent brightness.

‘Please come with me’ the child with the white bobble-hat was stood right next to her holding out her small white-gloved hand.

The girl in the porcelain mask looked down at the child. The child was looking back over the girl’s shoulder. As she followed the child’s gaze, she saw a figure lying on her back on the floor. A figure dressed in black, with wings and horns; a figure also wearing a porcelain mask. She quickly looked back towards the child, and saw the sympathetic look on her face, a look that confirmed everything she already knew.

There was no sound. The other passengers crouched over her trying to help but she couldn’t hear anything; not the train on the tracks, not the man’s music, not even the other passengers who were now frantically trying to help her. The girl watched as the fallen girl’s mask was removed, and if more proof were needed her own imperfect lifeless face staring back at her was it. She felt the small-gloved hand taking her hand again, and she looked back at the child.

‘I’m dead’ said the girl.

‘Yeah, I’m sorry you won’t make the party’ said the child. ‘I always loved Halloween. ‘

‘How? I mean what happened?’

‘Brain tumour’ two words that sounded so out-of-place coming from the mouth of someone so young.

‘Brain tumour, eh? I always figured my pimp’d get me. That or a dodgy client’ the girl said.

The child smiled sympathetically back at her and led the masked girl out of the train car, as the other passengers tried in vain to resuscitate the masked girl.


10 thoughts on “Flash Fiction: Terminus”

  1. I like the concept, and there is some really good description in this piece.

    There are a few spots where your verb tense keeps changing, though, so before revising, you probably want to decide on timing – do you want this story in present tense or past?

    I also think the story could be a little tighter.

    Love the twist at the end. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you for your comment. I really must watch that tense switching thing. 🙂

      I’ll revise keeping in mind your suggestions.

  2. Interesting story. One piece of advice I can offer – although it saps productivity – is to read your work aloud. This way, you can catch a lot of issues with the flow of your prose… issues that would otherwise be missed.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. I read your piece and I liked the way you write the drunk–that is well done.

    I participate in a weekly write-in and just came across this one at Terrible Minds. Do you mind sharing what your experience has been with it? Perks and irksome shortcomings?

    I’m thinking about participating.


    1. I say go for it. The challenges are fun and they often have you writing outside of your comfort zone. Also, other writers have the chance to visit your site and offer their thoughts and opinions on your work. It’s also a giant store of different writing styles and ideas.

      Shortcomings? None I can think of.

      You have got nothing to lose. See you over there.

  4. Wow. I always like to see where other people’s imaginations go compared to my own. Just read another where the costumed-girl was death. You twisted it up and the child was the one all supernatural. Nice. Couple of spots where I can tell you were writing fast to get it all out on the page. Even in flash, it’s okay to read over it and tighten it up. Well done.

    1. Thanks. Yeah I just get so excited. Gotta learn to breath, chill and take a moment to fix the little things.

      Glad you liked it anyway though.

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