Friday, May 20, 2011

Flash Fiction Friday: Wake Up

Jason Deeds, a member of the local writers group I participate in, has been in the habit of providing us with weekly writing prompts which he dubbed Flash Fiction Friday.  I have not, however, been in the habit of making use of those prompts, as I have never been particularly pleased with my ability (or lack thereof) to write fiction.  In my continuing efforts to push my writing out of my comfort zone, I decided to start joining in.  I decided I will also share my ham-fisted attempts at fiction writing here, hoping to receive feedback from you good readers.  Is it any good? Is it crap? Should I spare you further attempts in this genre, or should I keep going?

This week's prompt was: "The morning you woke up and everyone was gone, no family, no friends, no one that you can find. The Rapture happened and you were left behind. What do you do?"  Here is my take:

Wake Up

You know that briefest of moments when you first wake up but you haven't yet opened your eyes?  I clung to that moment, happily existing midway between sleep and consciousness.  I buried my head into my pillow and squeezed my eyelids even more tightly, let myself feel the weight of my body against the mattress.  It was so perfectly comfortable, not unlike what sleeping on a cloud must feel like.  Through the open window by the side of my bed, a cool summer-like breeze carried the sounds of children happily laughing and playing, and the excited chatter of neighbors.  A lot of chatter and a lot of neighbors, I thought, but I wasn't annoyed by the noise.  In fact, it was almost melodic.

I lay there for a moment more, feeling absolutely joyful.  How wonderful to start the day in such a great mood! Then, another of my senses awakened: the familiar, homey aroma of bacon, eggs, hotcakes and fresh-squeezed oranges wafted through my room from the downstairs kitchen.  I sat up, stretched and yawned, threw on my robe and went downstairs to investigate.

My grandmother stood at the kitchen stove whistling happily, and when I appeared in the doorway she turned, smiled, wiped her hands on her apron, and greeted me with outstretched arms. "You're here, Little One!" she exclaimed, calling me by the familiar nickname she had always used for me.  I rushed to her and embraced her with overflowing happiness.  "Nana!" I cried, "what are you doing here?"

Then, in a moment, the realization: Nana had passed away five years ago.  I tried to speak, but she seemed to anticipate my question. "Don't worry, it will all make sense soon enough.  Now run along outside with everyone else. Breakfast will be ready soon."  And with that, she shooed me out the door just as she had when I was a child.

The fresh air nearly took my breath away.  The neighborhood never looked so vibrant; the sky never so blue and the grass never so green.  And people! People everywhere, laughing, chattering, was utterly joyous.  I spotted my family congregated over by the neighbor's fence, and I went to join them when I was stopped by a hand on my shoulder.

I turned to see who it was but the light was so bright, as if a thousand halogen lamps were being shined directly at me.  My eyes squinted shut in self-defense, and then a voice I did not recognize spoke.

"We really must apologize.  It's not often that these kind of mix-ups happen, but today has been a particularly busy day.  It's been easiest to bring entire families, and in most cases that accomplishes it.  But in your case..."  The voice hesitated for a moment.  "Again, we really apologize. There's no easy way to put this other than to simply say it: You're not supposed to be here."

Again I tried to speak, but the voice continued: "Fortunately, this can be corrected relatively easily. If you'll just step this way..."

I felt a sudden exhaustion, a sudden need to go back to sleep as the bright light enveloped me, and again I found myself in that odd purgatory between sleep and consciousness.  I quickly shook off the bonds of sleep and sat bolt upright in bed.  I rubbed my eyes and looked around at my room, shrouded in the grey of yet another rainy May morning.  I looked out the window and saw not a soul; heard not a sound other than an ominously long, low rumble of thunder in the distance.  The sky looked awfully dark, as if there was about to be one Hell of a storm...
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