Flash Fiction Day 2018

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By The-Inkling   |   Watch
3 9 144 (1 Today)
Published: June 16, 2018
20:43 - 22:23 - 513 words (Slowest writing in the world)


“You go ahead, I don’t need to sleep.” Milton lied, fingernails digging into the palm of his hand until they drew blood.

Their ‘subject zero’, Ariadne was lying catatonic, and heavily restrained on the examination table. Logically there was nothing more that Qara could do. Only one of them needed to be there to keep watch, and after 32 hours on high alert he knew Qara needed the rest. But she still hesitated. Clever Qara, always alert, always suspicious, looking at him in that way she had - like she could see the inside of his skull and all the thoughts that were crawling around in there.

Smart girl, he thought, maintaining his most convincing impression of professional concern, while he secretly pictured what it would be like to crush her pretty neck with his bare hands.

The moment built, then teetered, and at last Qara’s shoulders slumped with weary acquiescence.

“Thanks Milton.” She said, the relief in her voice palpable as she dragged herself towards the medbay hatch. “I just need a couple of hours, then I’ll be back to take over your shift.”

She paused on the threshold and flashed him a grateful smile before disappearing down the corridor, and for a moment Milton was thrown. It was the first sign of genuine warmth she’d shown towards him since they were first introduced five weeks before in Corusan, and he felt a shadow of guilt pass over him. But the pain in his hand kept him focused, the pain kept him strong.

He waited until he could no longer hear her footsteps before finally unclenching his hand to wipe away the bloody half-moons from his palm with the bottom of his shirt. Then he turned to the med-cabinet affixed to the back wall, punched in the access code and removed the red box with the emergency doses.

The latches opened with a satisfying click, revealing the seven small syringes nestled inside. He stroked them with his fingertips, leaving bloody impressions on the plastic.

Seven doses. Enough to keep Ariadne under for three more days maximum, and that was only if the virus remained static. They could wait, and hope the next resupply vessel arrived on schedule to save them all, or they could act. But no one else was prepared to take that step. Milton was the only one with the guts to do what needed to be done. Milton was the only one who saw the truth.

On the examination table, Ariadne stirred fitfully, her eyelids flickering from some drug induced dream. Or perhaps it was the virus, worming it’s way through her bloodstream, into her brain, into her very thoughts.

Milton undid her restraints, half expecting her to leap up and attack him. A silly thought, she’d be under for several more hours at least, and by the time she woke up it wouldn’t matter anyway. By then it would all be over.

Once more Milton counted the syringes. Seven doses. One for each of the remaining crew, including himself.

It would be better this way. Milton was sure of it.

22:33 - 23:15 - 439 words

By Tooth and Claw

When all was said and done, Eve didn’t find the monsters half as frightening as she’d thought she would.

They waited for her on the forests edge; bright of eye, and black of claw, their broken backs and jagged limbs blending into the backdrop of the winter trees.

If she tried she could still just make out the edges of the town in the distance. Little houses pressed into the fold of the valley, all neat streets and painted fences, the first lights flickering to life in peoples living room windows as they tried to stave off the darkness.

She swallowed back bile, and settled for spitting at the dirt instead, her face twisted with something like anger, or grief. Fuck them all. She hoped they all burned to death in their sleep.

She removed her backpack, her shoes, and the yellow raincoat her mother had bought her for her birthday, leaving them in a heap at her feet. Then walked towards the treeline without a second glance. Where she was going she had no need for them. She didn’t know what would happen exactly, but she knew she wouldn’t be back, not now, not ever.

When they took her hands their claws dug into her the soft skin of her palm, drawing blood. But it barely hurt at all, and neither did the thorns that scraped at her skin as they burrowed deeper and deeper into the wood, nor the jagged stones that pressed against the soles of her feet.

Every step of the way the monsters stayed beside her, beckoning, cavorting, whispering, their broken branch backs twisting to and fro in the moonlight. And when at last they reached the door, she didn't hesitate. There wasn’t any pain. If anything it came as a relief.

When the search party found her body a week later, Eve watched from the shadows of the trees. Her family came, and they cried, and they swore, and they gnashed their little yellow teeth, but they couldn’t touch her. She had escaped them. She was free.

They took her body from where it had fallen against the rocks at the bottom of the gorge, all broken like a handful of pale twigs. They took it away from the forest, away into the world outside, and as they passed beyond the woods Eve felt a small tug as though something had been severed inside.

Around her the monsters gathered, eyes bright, and claws sharp.

Eve smiled, unafraid as she swayed back and forth upon her jagged limbs.

She was one of them now, and nothing could touch her. Not now. Not ever again.
© 2018 - 2020 The-Inkling
Done for Flash Fiction Day 2018, where we attempt to write as many flash fiction stories as we can in a single day.

I got a late start, and... I have no idea. This years results turned really dark and twisted in record time. Obviously these were written in haste so hopefully they aren't too awful, and the errors aren't too numerous. I'll check them in the morning when sleep is less of a pressing concern.
anonymous's avatar
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KiriHearts's avatar
Oooh, I really like these. Dark and twisted and so good.
The-Inkling's avatar
Thanks, dark and twisted are my default settings. :lol:
squanpie's avatar
squanpieHobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow, these got dark indeed!
"they gnashed their little yellow teeth" - I love how immediately this conveys her change from being one of them to something other. 
The-Inkling's avatar
Thank you! It was one of those bizarre impulse lines that somehow just worked out for the best, glad to hear it worked. :D
WindySilver's avatar
WindySilverHobbyist Writer
I think these were good stories. Nice work! :D
WindySilver's avatar
WindySilverHobbyist Writer
You're welcome! :D
GDeyke's avatar
GDeyke Writer
Oh, wow. Her family came, and they cried, and they swore, and they gnashed their little yellow teeth, but they couldn’t touch her. She had escaped them. She was free. Powerful stuff.
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