Tag Archives: micro fiction

Threads

Marie had always been able to see people’s futures. Not the way most people imagined it though. She didn’t see specific events; she did not see scenes play out in her head. No, nothing that useful. If she could see certain events, she might be able to give people useful details or advice. What she saw, instead, were threads. Multi colored threads emanating out from people, thousands, sometimes millions of them. Red, green, blue, all the colors of the rainbow were there.

The colors represented different aspects of their life, she had come to understand. Blue for romance, red for finances, green for family, where blue and green intertwined, marriage. She couldn’t even reliably tell how long a person’s life span would be from the number of threads present. Someone could have a short life overflowing with big events and adventure or a very long, boring life with little variance to cause new threads. The number of threads present was not indicative of life span, merely life events.

The only time it was indicative of time left on earth was toward the end, such as when her grandmother had been dying. Every day that Marie visited her, there were fewer threads and the ones left were faded and harder to see. But knowing someone is dying when they are 70 years old and had cancer was not exactly something you needed her gift for. She still couldn’t predict when that last thread would fade completely away.

Her gift was worthless until it was discovered, quite by accident, that she could spot a murder just before it happened.

She had been standing on a train platform, when a commotion caught her eye, an argument. A man in a tweed coat was standing near the platform when a younger man approached him, yelling and waving his arms around. Marie couldn’t hear what was being said, but as the young man got closer to the man in the coat, the threads started to disappear!

She watched, unaware of what it meant, as the confrontation escalated and the threads began to wave wildly, fraying and snapping and evaporating right in front of her. It was like the time during a storm she had seen live electrical lines that snapped, they danced and twirled and sent sparks flying every direction. She stood frozen, not understanding what was happening until the younger man shoved the older one and she watched the last thread snap as the man fell in front of an oncoming train.

It was only after that she realized what the fraying and snapping threads had meant. She had literally watched his future evaporate, getting shorter and shorter as the younger mans anger hurtled toward homicide.

She drew in a deep breath at the memory as she stood shaking outside the Institute. She had never envisioned a career in law enforcement. She wasn’t at all sure she had the temperament for it. But once word of her ability got out, she was actively recruited. She herself was still unsure how useful her gift would be at actually preventing murders. It would only work right before the murder and if officers knew about an attempted murder in enough time to get her there, then what did they possibly need her for?

Well, there was only one way to find out. She glanced down at the paper in her hand, straightened her back, picked up the suitcase sitting at her feet and marched up the steps to the Institute of Psychic Policing.

 

 

Micro Fiction

I wrote recently about flash fiction, aka micro fiction. Since I’ve been doing it, I’ve noticed that my flash fiction is getting longer. Still not short story long, but longer.

Is it still flash or micro fiction at 800 words? At 600? 400?

I’m thinking about this tonight because I just entered a contest for “micro fiction” and the maximum word count was 100. 100 words to tell a full story. I only mention it because that is hard to do!

I have seen the fact that my stories are getting longer as progress, my stories becoming more detailed or something, but I realized tonight that part of the challenge of micro fiction is the brevity. Can you still tell a compelling story in 200 words? 100 words?

World building is easy when you can use hundreds or thousands of words to create imagery and build scenes. The brevity of micro fiction forces you to strip away everything that isn’t critical to the story. Who cares if your palms are sweating? Get to the thing that is causing the anxiety, you don’t have enough words for sweaty palms!

Does it matter to the substance of the story why a character is in the hospital? Isn’t the fact that you have been summoned to the hospital because a loved one is hurt enough to convey to the reader worry and anxiety?

How do you convey that worry and panic and still get to the conclusion in 100 words or less? That is the challenge. I’d say it’s much harder to convey all that you want to convey in such a small word count. It certainly makes you choose your words very wisely.

 

Adventure

I watched the sun sink down below the horizon.  It was gorgeous, majestic! The blues and reds mingling as the sun grew huge and sank slowly behind the mountain range.

I inhaled the smell of the impending night deeply; this was my favorite time of day. The heat dissipating quickly as the sounds of night overcame the sounds of day. Chirping of birds and the calling of children ceased as the crickets and frogs took over.

Would I ever see my homeland again? By morning we should be well into our journey. The herds were on the move and so were we. For the first time in my memory, food was scare. Packed and ready to go, we set out, traveling by night to avoid the scorching heat.

I gave one longing backwards glance to my childhood home then turned and joined the others as we set out on our adventure.

The Incident

She fumbled for the light switch. It had to be here somewhere she thought as she stumbled along the wall in the darkness, feeling for it. This level of darkness was impossible, was there not a window anywhere? A bit of moonlight or a street lamp shining through a curtain? Seriously.

She felt the primeval panic rising in her throat. She tried to calm herself, to think logically. But every primitive instinct in her body was screaming that the darkness was evil, bad, to be feared. She had to get out of here.

She felt hot tears come unbidden to her eyes and start to spill down her cheeks. Mucous clogged up her throat and her breath came out in ragged gulps. Just as she was about to lose it completely, she mercifully found a doorknob. Turning it, she threw herself through the door and out onto the fair grounds.

All around her sirens blared and the sounds of the shouting filled her ears. Stumbling away from the doorway she suddenly found herself struck by the glare of a spotlight. She froze like a deer, and for the same reason. Going from complete darkness to the blindingly bright spotlight, she was momentarily stunned and blinded.

“Ma’am! Ma’ma!” a voice was demanding.

She looked up, blinking, shielding her eyes, trying to make sense of the words that were being said to her. The words were unclear, muffled, coming from a distance. As she struggled to focus, things began to sharpen, the words became decipherable, clearer, closer, and she was able to make out shapes around her. Police cars, an ambulance, cameras, were those reporters?

“Ma’am, I need you to focus!” the voice was more insistent now. She looked up into the face of a firefighter that stared back at her with a mixture of fear, amazement and concern, “I said, did you just come out of that building?”

She glanced back at the door she had exited through and nodded, numbly.

“My God! How is that possible?” He took her arm and guided her toward the ambulance, a uniformed officer holding the reports at bay.

“Ma’am! Ma’am! What’s your name?”

“Who are you?”

“What were you doing in there?”

“Did you have anything to do with the attack?”

“What’s your association with the victims?”

Victims, what were they talking about?

As she sat in the back of the ambulance she glanced down to notice she was covered in blood, she looked up in horror as the spotlight hit her again, a reporter she realized this time. She tried to remember what had happened, but her memory started with her frantic search for the light switch. Any existence she had prior to that was gone, wiped from her memory.

“We’re going to need to question her,” a police detective was saying to the paramedic that the firefighter had handed her over to, “we don’t know if she’s the only survivor or the perpetrator.”

“After she receives medical treatment.” The handsome young paramedic replied, loading her into the back of the ambulance and closing the door.

“I’m sorry,” she finally managed to speak, “I don’t remember anything.”

As the ambulance pulled away from the crime scene, he smiled at her with red glowing eyes, “It’s ok, all that is behind you, you’re one of us now.”