I've always found flash fiction to be very compelling because the stories are often brief and impactful, typically consisting of only a few hundred words. It may sound strange, but flash fiction is often more challenging to write because you must use concise language to convey an entire story in a short period. I've written four flash fiction stories that are available to read below!
DEATH COMES FOR US ALL
He locked himself away for years; hiding from the one thing he feared most, Death. William Robert Emerson turned his back on everyone he ever knew and isolated himself from the world. Emerson thought if he escaped the things that caused death, he could in turn beat the Reaper. Unfortunately, Mr. Emerson is dead wrong, because one thing he can’t escape is time.
A gigantic Grandfather clock is the centerpiece of Emerson’s living quarters. The dust-covered pendulum’s dreadful tick-tock can be heard throughout the house. That wretched sound seems to grow louder with every second. Tick-Tock. It grows louder still. Tick-Tock. It’s even louder now. Tick. The sound is unbearable. Tock. It thunders through the halls. Tick. It’s horrible. Tock!
“Enough!” Emerson screams, tearing out his hair from the unrelenting madness. The clock towers over Emerson, tormenting him. “Why must you mock me so?” Emerson easies himself into an oversized bed and lets out a heavy sigh. “You’ve taken everything from me.” He speaks only to a dark vacant room. “I’ve spent my life hiding.” He coughs violently into a ragged handkerchief. “Instead of living, I’ve been waiting to die. “
A rogue tree branch thrashes impatiently at the chamber window. “My time is running out.” Outside the bedroom, a loose floorboard shrieks. “Death is surely at my door.” Emerson is overcome with dread. The hairs on his neck stand on end. His pale wrinkled skin turns cold. “Please, let death come swift.” He trembles with fear. Emerson can feel a presence just out of reach. “Alas, I meet thee face to face.”
William Robert Emerson tried his best to beat death. He gave it the old college try and lost to the Reaper. He came close, closer than most, but no one can beat the clock. It was weeks until they found him. Those who knew Emerson thought he died years ago. I guess that’s the price for a few extra years; a life alone.
BRIGHT ARE THE STARS
Anyone who has ever had a dream has wished on a star. At some point in your life, you’ve looked up at the night sky, and out of the infinite number of twinkling wonders, you found your special star, and you made a wish. Stars are unique in that way; anybody can wish on a star.
I find myself in constant awe of the night sky’s elegant beauty: a perfect arrangement of patterns upon a velvet backdrop. Each star has a specific place and personality, shining with the colorful distinction of its age. I could watch the stars for hours and let my mind just drift away.
The closest star to Earth is light years away and yet its radiance still reaches us. I look up at the night sky and see a brilliance that cannot be explained or ever fully understood. The heavens hang over us like a chandelier of random elements.
Long after we’re gone the stars will remain, forever displaying their magnificence. Where would we be without their light? We ask so much of the stars; they ask for nothing in return. They simply shine up in the sky and give their light to you and I.
SICK WITH LOVE
I was young, living in the city. It was raining, and I was sick with love. I stood outside her window for hours in the pouring rain. I nearly caught my death of cold. But I was already sick, utterly contagious with romance. It was like cupids own umbrella hung over me, keeping me dry.
I had taken this woman out on a date that night. I made arrangements for an evening walk in the park. Of course, the rain had other plans for us. We took shelter beneath an old oak tree. It was such a beautiful tree, right in the middle of the city. I instantly felt miles away from the people, the cars, and the congestion. I kissed her for the first time under that tree. That was our special tree and no one else’s.
Later, I walked her home. With promises to see each other again, we kissed on her doorstep. I remember dancing in the streets that night. There was music in the air. The city was somehow different, draped in a divine brilliance. On my way home, I saw it so clear. My future with her: a big house, children, family vacations. I even knew the kind of dog we were going to have. I thought why wait? I raced back to her apartment floating on cloud nine; love was my vessel.
When I reached her apartment, I rang the bell furiously. Banging on the door, I nearly woke everyone in the building. I stood outside her window for hours in the pouring rain, waiting and wondering what happened to the love of my life. I never got my answer. Its funny, I can’t remember that young woman’s name. I was so in love, sick with love.
I was caught in traffic and stuck behind the public bus at a red light. I didn’t mind so much. I wasn’t in any hurry to get back to work. It was one of those perfect Florida days that people often speak of but very rarely have the pleasure of enjoying. There was a warm penetrating sun with a cool, soothing breeze and not a cloud in sight. The seagulls were smiling, and the palm trees danced in the wind. On that day, I was reminded just how beautiful the world can be. I should have been outside taking advantage, but instead, I had to work a double shift. The only enjoyment I had all day was getting trapped behind that bus.
That’s when I saw him. He stepped off the bus dressed in what must have been a formal issue military uniform. His clothing was neat and disciplined. The jacket he wore was a deep navy blue with gold trim around the collar and cuffs. The sunlight danced off his carefully shined shoes. With him was a small army issue duffle bag. His back was to me, but when he reached the sidewalk, he paused and turned revealing himself. I saw several fascinating medallions displayed proudly upon his breast. Each piece seemed to stand separately from the others. There were gold stars, silver hearts, and ribbons of various color and design. Each award was a decoration of his devotion, honor, and bravery to his country. I’ll never be quite sure of what they all meant.
He removed the service cap from his jar head exposing his entire face. I was surprised to see that this soldier was not much older than me. He could not have been more than twenty-five, and already he was a recognized war hero. He stood tall and held his chin high. His actions were finely tuned and routine. It was clear to me that he did not yet know how to be a civilian. Here was a man who was trained to kill. He was conditioned to look at life as disposable; to be indifferent toward death. Following years of dedicated service to his country, he is then placed backed into general population and expected to live as normal.
He surveyed the perimeter. He looked as though the surroundings were foreign to him. I must have caught him at a moment when he was most vulnerable. If I had been the enemy, he would surely be dead. He stood there vacant with no expression as if he hadn’t any place to go. I remember he looked so lonely. I saw the indecision on his face. I could feel his insecurity. And in him I saw the true face of America that day.
His moment of vulnerability was just that. He quickly took the face of a soldier once again, tightening the cap to his jar head. He tossed the duffle bag over his shoulder, made an about-face, and started down the road. The light was green, and the bus made a grunt as it picked up speed. I too grunted at the thought of returning to my less than advantageous life. I reduced my speed to a slow crawl as I drove past. I admired his graceful movements. He carried himself with such pride. His walk still held a subtle march. I watched in the rearview mirror until he left my sight. He never broke stride.
I knew then that the world’s beauty had nothing to do with the people who live in it. Years have passed and even now I still think of him. I often ask myself what he was fighting for. Was it for his country? Was he fighting for his family? Maybe he had no family. Perhaps his family was a band of brothers, those he fought with on the field of war, soldiers who have sworn to protect each other and their country. I have so many questions. What was so dear to this man that he would give his life?
I would like to believe that just around the corner he had a family waiting for him: a wife and child, parents who love and care for him. I would like to think there was someone to share those brilliant medallions with; someone to help bear the burden of being a soldier. But I’ll never know.
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