Here are the rest of the flash fiction entries in the order received:
Untitled by Chris Ludke.
How did I get here?
Being lost is normal for me because I move around so much. I often wake up and ask myself, “Where the hell am I?” It’s not a scary feeling. I’m also lost when driving.
One time I was trying to find my way to a friend’s house and had to stop to look at a map. A man with the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen was suddenly outside of my car and asked me if I was ok. I said, “I’m fine. Is there a place I can get lunch around here?”
He looked at me like he was afraid of me! Then I saw a lot more people behind him just standing there, not moving. I had the feeling I didn’t belong there.
I said, “Darn it, I’m in the land of the dead again.” They don’t have any fast food places.
What about the bells? by Michael Raven.
They tell me I must not speak, which is fine because I don’t want to speak.
I want to scream.
But I can’t, of course. Their drugs made sure of that.
“None of that, Sarah,” they’d said. My name is not Sarah. It is Clint, but they wouldn’t listen to me when I told them that. They laughed in one of those professional we’re-not-really-laughing-but-we’ll-humor-you laughs. “We’ve been over this before Sarah, you’ve never been a Clint. Please calm down.”
But what about the bells? I scream.
Then came the injections and I found I couldn’t scream.
My name is Clint. I insist on it, even though I’m told I’m confused after the accident.
There was no accident. None that I can remember, anyway.
I remember the door behind the wall in the house I was looking to renovate and flip. This was the third house I’d bought for the expressed purpose and was getting so I was doing more than breaking even this time around.
It was an absurd door — opening to another brick wall with strange diagrams that seemed to bend geometries all wrong, painted with something the color of dried blood, but no amount of scrubbing would remove the signs, no matter the solvent. I tried to measure the angles but never got the same measurement twice. I’d thrown up my arms in disgust and decided that I’d frame it with a couple of studs and cover the damn thing back up, though the brick was more in tune with the decor than the gypsum board. I went to bed that night with those exact plans in mind for the following morning.
But then… the bells started.
It was a little after two a.m. when the bells began. I tossed and turned at the discordance they sang into the night, but became obsessed with the source to the point I couldn’t slip back into a much-needed sleep. After determining the source was not outside the house, I search each room, thinking I’d left a radio on, but found nothing until I came upon the room with the useless door.
It was there the bells were loudest and seemed to come from the place the door had hung behind the walls.
The glyph the refused to be removed was aglow and, as I walked closer the bells rang louder and more discordant to the point of pain.
I reached out to touch the painted symbol and…
…Woke strapped to this bed. And they call me Sarah. I am Clint.
I ask time and time again, but they ignore me when I do:
What about the bells?
Lost by Harsh.
It was a cloudy evening. Heavy wind blew dust and tried to blind everyone. It was difficult to see around. Bob was hurrying back home from work after he received a call. It looked like Bob was competing with the wind. As he was driving, a bright light flashed in front of him, nearly blinding him. His car went off the road and he drove into a pole.
He got out of the car. He was hurt. He was bleeding. But he was too dazed to feel anything. He was scared. He couldn’t understand what had happened. He saw the bright light again, at some distance. He started walking towards the light. It seemed like he was attracted to it.
When he got close to the light, he was shocked by what he witnessed. He saw his wife and his 6 years-old son lying there, their bodies bleeding from everywhere. He couldn’t believe it. He thought this was not possible. He went near them, taking their bodies in his hands, screaming out loud and crying inconsolably.
Then he heard some murmuring and buzzing in the background. There were sirens wailing. People whispering. Someone approached him.
“Hello? Can you hear me? “
Bob was still crying. He didn’t respond.
“Hello, sir? Where is your reality? Do you know where you are?”
Bob was lost. And then suddenly he fell unconscious.
The person who approached him was a paramedic. Bob was involved in a serious accident and was heavily injured. Earlier he had received a call that his family was involved in a crash and they couldn’t survive it. His wife had gone to buy a few necessary things for the house, taking their son with her. After hearing this, he was heartbroken. He couldn’t believe it. So he was speeding back home to check before he crashed his car.
Bob couldn’t survive the crash either.
Dying Inside Yourself by PatBunny.
I don’t know where I am, but I know for a fact I’m living in a world of disarray.
But for you to understand, I’ll have to start at the beginning. The very beginning, where I must have lost my marbles, loosened some screws and been a bit mental.
I had no experience, only a strong, determined, mindset. I wasn’t going to give up. This was going to bring me back to sanity, and it was quite the adventure, but I was willing to take it on. After all, who wouldn’t want to achieve self-satisfaction and die knowing they can rest in peace after accomplishing such an important mission?
Don’t answer that.
But it was definitely the adventure of a lifetime, and one I would never forget.
Let me tell you, I must have been stupid to think that I could get away with redoing my whole office room. DIYs are supposed to be easy. Just tear down the walls, peel off the carpet, stick some new stuff on, repaint, and done in a jiffy.
All I needed was some good, concrete, expert help from YouTube. Well, and my vintage tool kit I got from my grandparents’ shed, duh.
The first day was quite nice. Everything came down, apart, loosened, or lost by the time the sun set.
But getting it all back together, better than before? Easier said than done.
And here I am, sitting in a disheveled office room, wondering what I am going to tell my parents when they come home tonight to the “organizing project” I was doing. Boy, are they going to be disappointed.
I’m telling you, I’ve lost their set of antique marbles, loosened the screws in the shelving, and been a bit mental about this mess.
I mean what idiot tries to DIY their whole office room at the same time?
Umm, don’t answer that either.
My reality sucks.
Shadow to a Constellation by Matt P.
“I can’t do this anymore. But it’s not you. It’s just- it’s not fair to you, but I have to go. Happy birthday, buddy!”
He turned his back to us- to me. His back that I thought would protect me. But I see myself as a constellation etched to it- a distant memory. I was seven, old enough to understand, but I was just seven.
I’m 15 now- well, 16 in a few minutes. But I hate birthdays. I lay on the dew-covered grass. I look up the night sky to see arcane pieces, I try to understand why. Where am I in this sea of lost stars? But ancient is the flicker of light.
A flash unveiled from the shadowed depth. And I was reverted to a boy with irreversible happiness.
…I see the sky where my dad is. The dad I could never have. But the next I know, the universe takes him. No! The sky cries in misery, and the bleeding air suffocates me.
I woke up drowning in sweat. I reach for the surface. Air! But waves crash on me and smash me further to darkness. I close my eyes. Breathe. One, two, three- an old melody. One, two, three- a repeating harmony.
Once I grasped some air, my body caught fire, and my head hurts. I don’t feel so good. So I take some meds. I still don’t feel better, so I take some more, more of it, and more. And crawl my way to escape where my dream sky descended unto me.
I saw dad and reunited with my constellation. “Dad!” I hugged him. I don’t want to let go. I won’t.
But life happened. I woke to the blinding lights of a hospital room. Where is that reality? Why can’t I have it? And why do I have to cry over it?
I furiously wiped my tear-clouded eyes. My mom is sitting with her head on my bed. I know she’s awake by the sound of her sniffs. I felt a pang of guilt. I’m a disappointment.
“Hey, mom,” I whispered, “What if you lost me?”
“I lost him (you) long ago, baby.” She flashed me a tired smile. Disappointment.
“But I know he’s trying. He tries so hard to find his smile and snatch back his life. And what hurts me is he keep pushing me away. He doesn’t have to be alone, you know? But he feels like he is; I’m here, but he feels like he is.” She held my hand. “I’m here.”
If only I know how to be not a shadow.