Flash Fiction

I woke up this morning thinking I might try something new. New to me, that is. I’ve read about flash fiction, but never gave it a thought. I just thought the stories would be nothing more than mini short stories. That’s easy to say. Writing the thing is not quite that easy.

If I understand it correctly, flash fiction is a story of somewhere in the neighborhood of just a few words to something not greater than around 2,000 words. I get the feeling that the fewer words, the better. I’ve seen some contests that put a 300 word limit on submissions, so that is what I sat my goal at. Then I wrote.

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He arrived on a Thursday, exactly thirty days ago. He’d been extremely busy the past month, and had not kept track of the time. He was well aware, though, that today was the final day. That message had been delivered with breakfast.

At this particular artists’ retreat a person was to live a secluded life, away from outside influences while they created a masterpiece. He was just minutes away from sharing his work with the others: writers, artists, sculptors, musicians.

Each day, the guests had received their meals at the door of their cabin. They mostly ate alone in their room. Occasionally, two or three would get together for dinner, but never to discuss what they were each working on. He always ate alone, not once seeing or speaking to another person.

The presenter before him was an artist. She had produced something that looked like a glob of green paint surrounded by smaller globs of other colors of paint, all of it smeared on a canvas of red. He wasn’t quite sure the effect she was after, but it definitely grabbed his attention. Not in a good way, either.

He had classified himself as a writer, having published two unspectacular philosophical works. This past month he spent his time deep in thought, and then transferring that thought to paper. It had been a tiring four weeks for him.

When it was his turn he stood behind the podium, reached into his coat, and pulled a notecard from an inner pocket. He cleared his throat, looked intently at the card he held in his left hand, reading what was written. He then lifted his head to stare at the crowd, and hollered, “WHY!”

He dropped the card on the podium, then turned to his left and marched off stage.

###

Good night, Mrs. Jackson, wherever you are.