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The Past | The Future

A Trio of Tragedy

This is a trio of flash fiction that I wrote for a creative writing class a while back.  I've been meaning to post them on here but kept forgetting.  The whole premise of the assignment was as followed: each flash fic can be no longer than five hundred words, there must be an over-arcing theme to the trio, but each story must have a clear beginning, middle, and end and be able to stand on their own.  I believe that I acccomplished that and am really proud of how they turned out.  I hope you enjoy them as well!


Message

Under the harsh work lights, Peter could almost pretend that the sight in front of him wasn’t real, that the blood that was smeared, puddled, and splattered all over the auditorium was just corn syrup, and that the garish yellow crime scene tape being crushed beneath his heavy work boots was for show. All of this was just an elaborate scene for one of these procedural shows.

But it wasn’t. It was all real.

All right, boys. Listen up!”

His boss Bob’s voice boomed from the front of the auditorium, calling all eyes in his direction. He placed his hands on his hips and continued, saying, “I know this ain’t our usual kind of job, so I appreciate the hell out of each and every one of you who volunteered. Now you all got your assignments before we left the shop, so get to work!”

Peter nodded along with the rest of the guys. Their boss was a man of few words who kept things to himself, but he wasn’t made of stone. He hadn’t even lost a kid during the shooting. He was just one of those men always willing to step up and do the right thing. Peter made his way to the front of the auditorium. His job was to unscrew all the rows of seats to be removed and replaced with new ones.

Kneeling down, he pulled the electric drill from his tool belt and placed the bit on the first bolt. At first, it was difficult to focus on the small paint-caked bolts when he kept crawling over spots of dried blood. It stained the floor in cracked rivulets that flaked away under his jeans. However, that difficulty eventually faded in the face of frustration when he couldn’t quite get a bolt to grip and how his back and knees began to ache. Sweat beaded up across his face, and he paused to tie a bandana around his head.

How’s it going, squirt?”

Peter looked up from his position on the floor to see Bob standing at the end of the row. The younger man sat up and wiped at his sweaty brow.

Just dandy,” Peter quipped. “I’ll be done by lunch.”

Bob laughed. “Not at this rate! You’re only on row five. You getting tired already?”

Peter shook his head and was about to resume his work when he saw something that made him drop his tool.

Love U Mom…written in blood on the metal bottom of one of the seats.

Son.”

Peter looked up, the message so jarring and stark that he hadn’t heard Bob approach, let alone squat down and put a hand on his shoulder. He watched as the older man looked at the message then back at him, himself feeling very young and very old all at once.

You need to take five?”

Peter nodded wordlessly and stood. He hid behind the building so the others wouldn’t see him cry.

(Word Count- 490)

Movie

Jessa clutched her bucket of popcorn to her chest as she made her way to the auditorium. The memorial plaque glinted outside the doorway like a new penny and it made her stomach clench. But she continued past it. She would not live her life in fear or shame because of what happened. She entered the auditorium with her head held high. Groups of people filled the rows of seats in patches throughout the space, their heads illuminated by their cellphone screens. She scanned the rows for an inconspicuous spot to sit down. Biting her lip, she chose a seat towards the middle of a row at the back part of the auditorium. The seat was new and squeaked when Jessa sat in it.

“Oh my God, is that who I think it is?”

So much for inconspicuous, Jessa thought to herself. But she didn’t turn to respond to the person behind her. What could she possibly say in return that wouldn’t cause a scene? Instead she took a sip of her Coke and grabbed a handful of buttery popcorn, cramming the kernels into her mouth.

“I can’t believe she actually came here. Doesn’t she realize how fucked that is?”

Jessa’s cheeks started to burn. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. But she was tired of avoiding this place. She had been doing so for the past eight months, and her therapist told her that she needed to get past this block that she had for the theater. But now, with people whispering behind her, she was beginning to regret her decision. Just as she slouched down into her seat, she felt an aggressive tap on her shoulder. Her heart shuttered as she turned to face Alisha, one of the girls in her grade.

“You need to leave,” Alisha demanded, her mouth curled into a sneer. “People are here to have fun, not to be reminded of what your brother did.”

Jessa felt her throat tighten. She looked down into her popcorn. “I didn’t mean-I just wanted to watch a movie.”

“Pretty sure that class wanted to do the same thing,” Alisha snapped, “until your brother mowed them down with a fucking rifle.”

“Stop it, Alisha!”

Jessa’s head snapped up and her jaw dropped. It was Monica Bryant, one of the people to survive the shooting. She gave Jessa a sympathic smile before turning her gaze back towards Alisha. Her eyes narrowed.

“She isn’t responsible for her brother’s actions,” Monica stated, “and you have no right to make her leave. If you have a problem, then you leave.”

The entire auditorium had turned in their direction and watched as Alisha and her two friends stood silently, each giving Jessa a glare before leaving. Monica took the seat next to Jessa and offered her a napkin.

“Thank you,” Jessa said weakly, dabbing at her cheeks and chin.

“Not a problem,” Monica replied, opening a bright yellow box of candy. She held out it out to Jessa. “Sour Patch Kids?”

(Word Count- 499)

Mom

Monica screamed as she felt a bullet slam into her shoulder. She fell forward and slid onto the floor, hearing her fellow classmates took cover. More gunfire cut through the sounds of the movie playing onscreen. It had been a stupid kids’ movie deemed appropriate by the school board despite the fact that a group of soon-to-be high school graduates would be the ones to watch it.

“Bethany! Where are you?”

Monica whimpered as she heard him stomp slowly down the rows and tried to make herself as small as possible. Bethany was one of her friends, and by the sound of the gunman’s voice, Monica knew who he was: Duncan, Bethany’s ex. They had broken up almost two months ago when Bethany started having feelings for a new guy. At the time, she told Monica he had taken it really well, even agreeing to still be friends.

Monica reached into her jacket pocket for her iPhone, biting her bottom lip so hard she tasted blood on her tongue. Her shoulder throbbed underneath her, but she didn’t dare move, not wanting to risk drawing attention to herself. She unlocked her screen and tapped on her texting app. Selecting on the conversation with her mom, she typed out MOM HELP.

She tapped the Send button. Not Delivered popped up underneath her text. A desperate sob bubbled past her lips as she tapped the message to resend it, but again, she received Not Delivered. Her iPhone slipped from her trembling hand at another burst of gunfire and fell on the floor into a mess of blood and popcorn. The combined scents of copper and butter made her gag and she clenched her jaw shut, squeezing her eyes shut.

She could hear more gunfire in the lobby and the faint sounds of her classmates crying around her. She reopened her eyes and saw Bethany on the floor the row behind her through the gap between the seats and the floor. Her face was blotchy from crying and she gestured to Monica’s iPhone frantically. Monica shook her head and mouthed, “Not working.” The two of them froze when the heavy footsteps stopped near them.

“Didn’t think I’d find you, huh?” Monica heard Duncan growl. She tried to make herself so small and pressed herself against the messy floor, squeezing her eyes shut. Bethany screamed and begged Duncan not to hurt her as he dragged her out into the aisle. Monica heard the clicking of a gun’s hammer. She felt sick. He’s going to find me next, Monica thought, horrified. She picked up her phone but the screen was covered in blood and popcorn crumbles. Smearing the blood away with her thumb, she saw her background picture of herself and her mom hugging. With Bethany and Duncan’s voices ringing in her ears, she dropped her phone and dipped her fingers into her own blood, writing hurriedly on the bottom of a chair. She hoped the police officers would deliver this message. Just as she finished writing Mom, a gunshot rang out and Bethany’s voice disappeared.

(Word Count- 510)

My Stars:

A Little More About Me

Random Girl and her Beast
berryblue_girl
Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.

Let me tell you a riddle...

You're waiting for a train, a train that will take you far away.
You know where you hope this train will take you, but you don't know for sure.
But it doesn't matter.
How can it not matter to you where that train will take you?

Because you'll be together.

Inception

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