Message Waiting…

I’ve been doing some house cleaning on my blogs, and I came across this story again. It was my very first piece of flash fiction. Funny, but when I wrote it, I never figured how much it would change the direction I was going in. My love of flash fiction (reading and writing) plus the “campfire” are both direct results of it. It remains one of my favorite stories which I have told. So for those of you that may have missed it (or feel like reading it again) here is…

Message Waiting…

She had been warned, but now it was too late! The text messages were all the proof needed. Alone on the rain-soaked front porch of the house she stood frozen, trapped between fight or flight. Staring at the doorknob and fiddling with the keys, Sara replayed the events of the last half hour over in her mind. It was a nightmare come to life.

It had been a good day at work, and she had felt quite pleased with herself that nobody had figured out her “little secret”. Smiling, she had shut down her computer when her cell phone alerted her to an incoming message. Checking the ID she didn’t recognize the number, so she opened the text. “I know” was all it said. A cold shiver ran down her spine. She snapped the phone shut and quickly looked around. Not a soul in sight. She took a deep breath and flicked off the desk light.

By the time she exited the elevator, she had convinced herself that it had been a wrong number and was nothing to worry about. Shoes clicking on the foyer floor, she walked past the guard at the security desk.

“Night Sara” he said as she came along side the counter, “any big plans tonight?”

“Nope Dave” was her answer “just a nice quiet night. See’ya.”

The guard smiled as she left the building, then picked up his cell phone. She was unlocking her car when the text alert sounded again. The ID was the same number, and this time the message said “I’m waiting”. This can’t be happening she thought. Quickly she got into the car as she scanned the parking lot. No one was visible. Frightened she jammed the car into gear and speed off towards home.

Her breathing had slowed down by the time she had pulled into the driveway. She was resting with her head on the wheel when the phone chirped a third time. The same number, and this time the text said “soon”. No this wasn’t real, this happened to other people not her! Looking at the street she saw nobody around, so she bolted from the car to the front door where she stopped.

Finally Sara thrust the keys into lock, and pushed the door open into the waiting darkness. Her hand found the light switch, but it didn’t work. Slowly she edged down the hallway towards the kitchen. From the darkness of the living room she heard a bump followed by a low curse.

“Hello, is there someone there?” she challenged, as fear twisted in her chest.

Suddenly the lights blazed on revealing her friends and co-workers.

“Surprise! Happy birthday Sara!” they shouted.

Sara screamed and fainted.

A few hours later as the sounds of laughter spilled from the house, no one noticed the uniformed man standing in the backyard shadows. He opened his phone to check the clock. Oh well he thought, I have time and besides, she had been warned.

Photos: (Top left) “Street” by jijis (Flickr), (Bottom right) “Stormy Night” by Christina Welsh (Flickr)

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Escape

I’m starting to get back into the swing of things. Not only have I been learning the finer points of Tweeting, I’m also starting to let the stories out of my head. The piece below is in answer to Billie Jo Woods Twisted Freedom Flash Fiction Challenge. At first I had a bit of a time coming up with something for it. then I remember the practice of parole (not like now-a-days) and the story fell into place.  Hope you enjoy it.

Escape

It has been too many years now. In the last few weeks I’ve come to the conclusion that there will be no attempts to rescue me, exchange me, or pay off any ransom. Therefore I feel that I must try to free myself from this captivity.

Still my time here has not been that terrible, for once I was moved from the original high security facility to this smaller prison I have done well. After only a brief time I was allowed to be out of my cell for good behavior. Though I know a few words of their language (and they know none of mine) my captors made it clear that I was being paroled and could move freely throughout the building as long as I didn’t try to escape.

Foolishly in the beginning I ignored these terms and several hastily planned bids for freedom were foiled, each landing me back in the cell for punishment. Slowly they broke me, and in the end I agreed to their terms. I hope that others do not judge me for that choice, for I’m certain that my critics would capitulate eventually too.

While honor binds me to that parole, my nature now forces me to renege on it. For too long now I haven’t tasted the glory of independence. It is with that goal in mind I have started to plan my attempt.

So these past few weeks I have watched, hoping to spot the weak point in their barriers. The obvious first choice was during my exercise times in the fenced enclosure outside. Sadly after a casual inspection (I dare not linger too long for fear of discovery), the high fences which end well underground simply are not an option.

I also considered trying to make a break during transportation for medical examination, but feel that I am too tightly restrained and guarded for that idea to bear fruit. It was in despair that I happened upon my best chance. I had been staying close to one of the younger guards who gives me extra food when the others aren’t watching. It was pure luck that I noticed that he failed to keep a close eye on me during the times that the warden arrived and left the prison. This is the route I’m going to attempt.

And now once again I am keeping the guard company as I wait for the time when the warden will leave. Ever so slowly the clock inches closer to my date with destiny. Tick,tick, tick. I am starting to wonder if it is running backwards when the sound of jingling keys alert me to be ready. As the warden stops to converse with the guard, neither one notices me start to prepare for my dash. Laughing the older man turns and leaves, as the younger man watches from the now open doorway. This is it! I spring into motion. Shoving past the startled guard I’m outside and running as fast as my legs will carry me. I gain some satisfaction from the look of surprise on the warden’s face as I bolt by.

Give me freedom, or give me death!!!

Far behind me, I hear the younger guard now raising the alarm. “Mommmmm the dog has gotten out again!”

Night Sky

Greetings all,

I would seem that I have made it through the crush of life and found some time back here at the Campfire. Sorry to be so long, and thanks to those that tended the fire while I was dealing with things elsewhere.

Feeling a bit rusty, but here is my offering for Sonia’s July Writing challenge which was to create a story of no more than 500 words of any genre that features the moon. I not sure if I quite got what she was looking for, but after not writing for over a month I’m sure she’ll grant me a bit of latitude.

Night Sky

As always night finds me looking up. No matter where I end up in this desolate place I repeat the hopeless ritual, straining as always for a fleeting glimpse. I’m not even sure when I started to do it. I think maybe it has something to do with hope, though there is precious little of that left in the world.

But then who can blame those of us that survive for feeling that way? Surely not the dead. They had it far easier than those that survived. Living one minute, then erased from being the next. While their loss was tragic, they never suffered like the survivors have. Fighting to make it through another day, and for what? The chance to do it all over again tomorrow? Yes hope is hard to find.

God knows what the date is. Nobody in my group can remember time, and the days have blended together into a never-ending routine. Up in the morning and moving soon as possible looking for food and necessities. Hoping that there is enough to go round to keep the group alive another day. No laughter, no warmth, just trying to make it till the next morning when it starts all over.

No one understands why I volunteer to take night watch, but it is the one time of my day when I can stop and remember. I look out over the dark landscape and recall it wasn’t always that way. There was a time when our electricity lit the night, so much in fact that we had trouble seeing the stars. I guess that proved to be our biggest failure. Not that knowing what was heading our way would have helped much.

Years of worry about nuclear war and in the end most of the human race gets wiped out by a rock the size of New York city. I’m sure there is some kind of irony there though I can’t think of it. When the sky darkened mankind knew it was in trouble. When the animals and crops started to die many gave up.  But nature will always go on, and those of us that could adapt learnt to survive. Those who couldn’t, well I don’t like to think about that.

Still, something keeps me out here each night looking up. Perhaps its the warmth that I feel in the wind these days or that we now see more animals. This global winter can’t last forever can it? The clouds will have to start to break up someday and that is what I keep watch for. A reason to hope again, a reason to do more than just survive, a reason to laugh.

Sighing I close my eyes and feel the wind play across my face. I silently will the clouds to part and give me my proof.  Opening my eyes again I look skyward once more, and there in a small break in the clouds I see the moon.