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A Bit of Flash Fiction


In the past month, I entered a contest. It was not something in my general wheelhouse — it was sci-fi writing. It was flash fiction. In all honesty, I don’t think I’ve read much sci-fi since Ender’s Game, but the genres so often blur and overlap. I have a slightly difficult time telling certain kinds of fantasy writing from sci-fi. It completely boggles my mind.

But that’s not the point. I wrote two very different stories for that contest and only submitted one. The one I didn’t submit was the weaker of the two. Since I can’t fnd any current use for it, I’ve decided to share it with you all.

                The boy is dreaming, again. He’s been asleep ever since the Accident. But no one talks about that. It was, they said, the end of the world.
                Me? I don’t think so. I think it is the beginning of the end, which is a very different thing. It means there’s still time. Still hope. Some way to stop the madness.
                But the boy is dreaming, again. And we are all very frightened. There are only twenty seven of us, now. We started out with fifty, even. But the wolves have become bolder.
                The sun didn’t go out like everyone claimed it would. There were scientists who insisted that the world would end in fire. Others, ice. The truth is that it began to decline into darkness. It wasn’t nature that did it. It was us. We were too careless. We wanted too much. Someone crashed a rocket or a bomb into the sun. I don’t remember. It all happened so fast.
                Now, it’s dark and freezing. We live by firelight. Bonfires. No one can tell when it’s day. We don’t even keep calendars anymore.
                And the boy, he dreams. But how can he dream in the middle of this? I don’t know. I wish I did. Perhaps he’s more resilient than the rest of us. I haven’t been able to tell him, though, about his parents. About what…happened. My fiancée was with them. They’d gone out to find food. Only one of them returned. And she had died very quickly.
                The wolves have become bolder. Still, the boy is dreaming. Tossing in his warming bag, edged close to the fire. He looks so peaceful. Serene. Full of hope.
                I don’t think I am full of much hope. I don’t…
                It doesn’t matter. He shouldn’t have to live through this. He should be able to play and run – not worry about what lingers in perpetual shadow.
               It would be a kindness to end it. He wouldn’t have to suffer. He’d be able to dream forever.

  1. November 22, 2010 at 9:24 am

    This is very good, Ali – in a bone-chilling creepy sort of way. It definitely gave me goozebumps.

    • Ali
      November 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm

      Thanks, Maria! 🙂 That was the intended effect. *grin*

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