FLASH FICTION Challenge #2 – try it, you might get addicted…

No, no, the title isn’t the prompt! 🙂

Stories for the first Flash Fiction Challenge  Love Gone Wrong ranged from putting the love-blame squarely on Jane Austen’s shoulders, to Lola’s suspicious mind and where it got her (besides an expensive plumbing bill, and that’s looking on the bright side), to a steam-punk romance where giving your heart takes on a new meaning,  to love in the trenches of domesticity – despite wearing sexy pants, to Curt’s doozy of a limerick.

‘Ma shut the cellar door that led to the bakery. They were always noisy at first,’  can be continued here, as can another tale about love not taking a straight path, even afterwards

Flash Fiction Challenge #2 is –

‘A lone street-light, a person and strange noises coming from the boot (trunk) of a car.’

Please feel welcome to have a go if you’re remotely tempted. Simple guidelines can be found here

I’m going to kick off Challenge #2

roadatnightbrokenhill_0525

Photo credit: http://bit.ly/1zjBfNk

The knocking from the boot hit me hard in the chest.

Thump, thump.

Thump.

Losing concentration, I hit a dead kangaroo on the road. My car bounced, the headlight beams going berserk in the stark, low-lying scrub.

Silence.

I took a corner faster than usual at a railway crossing, rattling over the long abandoned tracks. No sound from the back.

Back on straight, level bitumen, then—clunk.

Fear pricked at my temples—this sound was unpredictable, made with intent. It wasn’t just my hockey stick rattling around back there. I should have tossed the potential weapon in the back seat after training.

The next thud vibrated through to the steering wheel. My hands gripped it tighter, remembering I had no phone reception out here.

The nearest police station was fifteen kilometres behind me. I was on my way to a party at Emma’s property, out of town. My best friend was playing matchmaker, and she’d invited an acquaintance who brewed beer using wild yeast collected from his beard. I warned Emma I wasn’t into microbiology, but she insisted I branch out from my usual type. She was probably right, magnetic but needy guys like Richard, my ex, were no longer on my radar.

Another heart-pounding bang and I spotted a lone street-light at a crossroad in the distance. A minute later my tyres crunched to a stop on the roadside gravel. The warm blanket of the night lay thick and still, and the sweet, childhood smell of dry grass through the open window should have been reassuring. I decided to keep my headlights on and the engine running. As I opened my door, a shooting star joined the dots in a diamond crusted sky.

Snatching a medium-sized rock from the ground, I approached the rear of the car, my hands trembling.

Not a thud now, but a shifting, scraping sound. There was definitely something in there—alive. I crept closer, fear knotting my stomach, panic clawing at my bowels.

Just then plastic cracked, shards of it splintering from a rear brake light after a vicious kick from inside. Leaping back, I knew I would not unlock that boot—not alone, not out here in the middle of nowhere. I was safer driving with this god-awful, terrible thing in my boot, and dealing with it at Emma’s.

Another hard blow sent blood pounding straight from my chest to my head. Turning to make a run for the driver’s door, I froze, detecting movement from my peripheral vision. To my horror the toe of a canvas shoe emerged from the damaged brake light, the lit bulb dangling below like a dislodged eye.

Red-hot-poker anger replaced my visceral fear. I knew that shoe.

I yanked the boot open so damn hard it almost slammed shut again.

Inside—trussed up by the wrists and ankles with nothing on but his shoes and Batman jocks was my ex-husband, grinning despite the gag—as if he’d just jumped out of a cake.

What will it take for him to move on?

(Susan Lattwein)

 

 

This entry was posted in Australian fiction, Australian flash fiction, flash fiction, Flash Fiction Challenge #2, short story fiction, writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to FLASH FICTION Challenge #2 – try it, you might get addicted…

  1. Haha! Loved it. What a dreadful ex to have. I better be getting on to my story I suppose 🙂

  2. The solitary street light shone down on the bonnet of the 69 Ford Mustang parked in the driveway of the lonely house on Hudson Road. If you were to approach the impeccably maintained vehicle you’d hear a steady thumping emanating from the boot; a hopeless, pointless thumping destined to go unheeded until it was far, far too late.

    Dorothy fretfully twitched in the black shroud of darkness. She was hot; the air unbearably stifling. Tonight had revealed itself as the denouement to a long and bitter saga; a saga of insatiability and insidious greed.
    The deceit began about twelve months ago when he’d called around to Hudson Road for scones and tea posturing as a devoted grandson. He’d seemed edgy that morning, Dorothy reflected. The manner in which he paced up and down her slate floored kitchen and pounded his fists down on her wooden table.
    She was to sell the farm, he’d insisted. Since Eric had passed away two years ago, property values had dropped, he’d said. Dorothy knew nothing of financial affairs so he’d look after everything. He was privy to some secret venture capital guaranteed to make dividends. As sure as the eggs in your chicken coop, he’d said with a grin.
    Jason was her only living relative and Dorothy had cared for him ever since his parents had perished in a car accident when he was four. She could trust him to do the right thing she was positive. The farm was sold but she’d been able to keep the little farmhouse she and Eric had lived in for six decades.
    The farm had been a burden anyway.

    Dorothy rubbed her cramping shoulder to alleviate the pain. She thought about how Jason had returned six months later and sat eating her chocolate brownies at the table and painstakingly explained that venture investments were never a certainty. He needed more money and it was crucial she mortgage the farm house, he’d lectured as he anxiously played with the brownie crumbs on his plate. At first she’d refused. The farmhouse was all she had. She couldn’t risk losing it. But he wore her down and she’d reluctantly signed the papers.

    The air closed in around Dorothy as she recreated the happenings of this evening. She’d never expected this. It was late, about ten o’clock and she’d been making the last cup of tea for the night when the taxi pulled up on Hudson Road. Jason had stepped out of the taxi and walked straight over to Eric’s Mustang glinting in the moonlight. The silver Mustang had been Eric’s baby. He’d restored it lovingly in the farm shed and Dorothy had often joked he adored it more than he did his wife.

    Jason had opened the boot by the time Dorothy shuffled out to the front yard. He stood there pale and agitated. She knew what he was going to ask of her.

    She was fairly certain he didn’t know what hit him when she brought the shovel smashing down onto his skull. If only he’d fall unconscious again. The infernal thudding was keeping her awake.

    Thanks for the prompt Susan. You’re making me think I want to be a writer! xx

    http://www.pinkypoinker.com.au

    • Do NOT tell me you wrote this just this morning, Michelle. It’s wonderful—compelling and dark.
      A twist at the end WITH a hook,
      Well, Marigold is getting ideas about a free flash fiction e-book at the end of the year (with writers consent of course). If this idea blossomed, this story is a definite contender, sure as eggs!

  3. I did write it this morning Susan but I’ve been thinking about it for three days. Thanks for your encouraging words 🙂 I’m looking forward to reading other contributions!

  4. You’re on a roll, writing like that so quickly. Where is that emoticon with the tongue sticking out? 🙂

  5. Marigold says:

    Ookay, a little late, I know. Had a busy day 😉

    No matter how much I kicked, no matter how much I screamed, no noise was loud enough to attract any attention. He must have parked in the middle of nowhere, or else the enclosed boot of the car was muffling everything I did. No one was coming for me.

    The minutes ticked by, my ears settling to catch even the faintest noises, but there was nothing to hear. The inside of the boot stank like old meat. I wondered if I should try kicking again, maybe trying to focus my attack on the lock? I rolled over and tried to finger my bound hands across the lid, trying to locate something I could target. The crunch of footsteps on loose gravel froze me. I managed to take a deep shuddering breath before the boot popped open and harsh yellow light blinded me from above.

    I snapped my eyes shut as he grabbed my elbow and wrenched me out of the car. Somehow, I managed to stay on my feet as I was half-dragged away from the solitary light. The fresh air brought the smell of salt and humus. I opened my eyes.

    A road overgrown with weeds led to a little pier jutting out over the mud bank. It reminded me of the boardwalks I used to take when I was a kid, looking for guppies, frogs, and toadfish. This was a proper lake though, not just a little billabong. The water had to be deep.

    There was no doubt in my mind why I was here. My whole life had been innocent, inconsequential. I’d made sure to anger nobody, learning from mistakes long past. The man didn’t speak, but I knew what he wanted.

    “You want revenge.”

    He took no notice of me, his gait unchanging. My shoes hit the wood and he pushed me in front of him, holding me at arm’s length.

    “Look, you’re either just a psycho-killer, or you remember as much as I do. Which is it?”

    Ever forwards, unrelenting.

    “Okay, let’s say you do remember. That was the past – I can’t do anything about it now!”

    We got to the end of the pier. I turned to him and opened my mouth to speak, but he just dived in, dragging me along with him.

    Salty water rushed into my mouth, eyes, and ears. My hands still tied behind me, I was helpless to fight against him. This was exactly how it had gone. He was weaker than me back then, our roles reversed, and I had held him under until he stopped moving. It hadn’t even been anything personal – he was an old man who was taking too long to die, and he was making the country sick because of it. Everyone had turned a blind eye.

    Before I lost consciousness, I wondered vaguely if he’d kill the others too, for what we did in our past lives.

    • You and Michelle are definitely showing your darker sides this time. I’m appreciating how much can be inferred in so few words in FF. Some parts I need to go back and read again.
      Do you realise you have one character saying nothing? That’s clever. 🙂

  6. Marigold says:

    I did read your story before I went to bed last night, but was too tired to think straight. Anyway, I have thoughts again (after working on an assignment for seven hours straight so…)!
    What a weird ex! The story ended on a surprisingly light note after all that build-up, it was sort of a relief! Sort of. The ex is a bit ew 😉 lols

  7. livelytwist says:

    Hahaha ! What a desperado!

  8. Brilliant piece, Susan. I slurped up every delicious, gripping moment. It was one of those heart-palpating stories where I find myself racing through the words as fast as possible to get to the outcome. I needed to know and I dreaded the knowing. Well-crafted, and truly enjoyable.
    Kudos!

    • Hi Shelley. Kudos to you too, for your usual kind words and generous spirit .
      Are we getting an update of your publishing adventures? 🙂

      • Totally in the thick of it currently. There’s so much to do in the last 6 months before publishing. The release date is August 4th. It’s up for pre-orders now. And egads, the behind the scenes bits are sometimes nearly overwhelming. But so exciting too. I must say one thing, I have a massive amount of respect for the many, many people who I now realize are involved in getting a book to press. It is no longer ‘my book,’ it is ‘OUR book.’ And I’m humbled.
        Thank you, Susan, for asking me about it. It means so much. Cheers!

      • Sounds hectic but exciting Shelley. Pardon my ignorance, but is it fiction or non-fiction? And if fiction, what genre?

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