Well, I’m still trying to get back into a regular writing routine, and the flash fiction challenges hosted at Terribleminds.com are a damn good way of doing it. The challenge this week was to take five from a given list of ten words and write a piece of fiction in which those words are the main elements. This time I can’t just crowbar a word or phrase in, they have to be elements of the story.
I chose the following words:
I’ve gotten a bit out of practice with these flash fiction challenges so if you do read this and have the sudden urge to leave a comment it would be graciously received (providing it is graciously written of course) and very helpful.
Flash Fiction: Cube Route
Isaac took off his glasses and threw them down on to the large book open in front of him. He hated the library. He hated the silence, he hated the smell; he hated the people who worked there who always looked down on him when he left without checking out any books. It’s not as if he had any choice, medical books are expensive and if he could afford to buy them he wouldn’t need his part-time undertaker job. But he did need his job. He needed to spend much of his revision time applying makeup to dead people, this is why he was the last person in the library after midnight.
Isaac rubbed his eyes, through another headache. He was so close to his exam, and once he’d passed it he could worry about the head-pains but until then he would just have to manage. They weren’t that bad anyway, he thought just as his head felt as if it was being crushed in a vice.
When he opened his eyes there was something on the desk in front of him. It was a greyish-blue cube about the size of an apple, but there was something else about it. Something that took him a few seconds to spot, he could see through it. Isaac tentatively reached out towards the cube but where his fingers should have made contact they passed through without resistance. A flash of lighting and a rumble of thunder made him jump, and he instinctively draw back his hand.
It was dark outside and rain was starting to pitter-patter against the windows, an event that would normally have triggered a diatribe against the weather although his attention was unsurprisingly elsewhere.
Isaac watched the cube for a few seconds. He moved his head around the object as if it would give him a better view and more understanding of the strange artifact. With no further obvious clues, he tried to touch the cube again but like last time his fingers passed through the surface. Except there was a difference this time, he could feel some resistance as his hand passed through as if the cube was made of water.
The storm outside was now becoming much worse, the rain hammered against the windows and the trees outside swayed dangerously in the strong wind. One of the windows flew open, forcing him to walk over to the window and struggle against the winds to close it.
He looked back at the cube that was still innocently waiting for him on the desk. What the hell was it and where did it come from? He hated cliché’s but he had to suspect he was just working too hard. Isaac sat back down at the desk, and slowly brought his fingers towards the cube but this time his fingers made contact and the cube moved. He retracted his fingers cautiously, and then gently picked up the cube as solid as a child’s building block. As he held it, he felt an odd tingling sensation in his hand.
Suddenly the windows of the library were blown in as lightning cracked louder than Isaac had ever heard. Glass sprayed throughout the library, and rainwater poured through the openings. The tornado strong winds cycled through the library, blowing the papers around the floor. The timbers creaked, and cracks began to appear in the whitewashed walls of the library. He looked around for somewhere to hide. He had experienced several earthquakes and the odd tornado in his life, but there was something that felt very different about this storm. Quickly spotting a broom cupboard under some stairs, He rushed for safety still carrying the cube with him.
There he waited, listening to the sounds of devastation and praying that he would be safe inside his cupboard. He tried to distract himself from the sound of the library being blown down around his ears by trying to feel his way round the cube but he could still get nothing more from it.
When the noises had died down, the silence was eerie. He opened the door and slowly pushed it open. He couldn’t believe what he saw. There was no library, in fact the town as he knew it had gone. Isaac stood on a long beach of white sand, the sky was bright but he couldn’t see any sun in the emerald blue sky. The cube had gone from his hands. He was sure that he hadn’t put it down but he was having a hard enough time dealing with the last few minutes and wasn’t sure about anything anymore.
When he turned round he saw two people sitting at an old carved wooden desk no more than five meters in front of him. On the left sat a blonde haired woman dressed in a long summer dress with flowers in her hair. On the right, a man with dark hair and a goatee dressed in a black suit. They both looked at him for a few seconds without saying a word. Without saying anything the blonde woman smiled sadly and shook her head, as the dark-haired man snarled and looked angrily back at him.
Isaac lifted his head off the table. He was back at the library, but it was how it should be. How it was before the storm. The sun had come out and was shining brightly through the large windows.
‘Holy shit’ he said as he walked over to a large window ‘What the fuck am I on? Was I dreaming? ‘
Isaac turned round and saw someone in his chair. Some rude fucker was actually asleep in his chair, slumped over his books. As he got closer he noticed two things that he would never forget. Firstly, that the body’s eyes were locked in a frozen deathly stare, and secondly that the body’s eyes were his.
If you want to read more of the flash fiction I’ve written, you can check out a whole page here.