I love flash fiction! It’s a small glimpse of an unwritten story that usually (for me anyway) comes out of no where and leaves me just as curious as to what happens next.
The lovely Emmie Mears is currently running a contest called the End of the World Flash Fiction Contest. Naturally I was intrigued by this, especially when Emmie mentioned that the short 500 word piece is supposed to show the day before the end of the world. The characters aren’t supposed to know it’s their last day on Earth. Cool huh? So I entered and below is what I came up with. Hope you enjoy!
The Europe Thing (499 words)
“It’s so quiet out.” Vaughn whispers.
Kallie raises her cigarette to her lips with one hand while the other transforms the sidewalk surrounding her feet into a pretty piece of art with a chunk of blue chalk she stole from a neighbor kid. Her Perky Pink polish is already chipped in several places revealing her discolored toenails; a reminder that cheap nail polish is never a good idea.
“I know.” She exhales slowly on purpose, like they do in the movies.
Vaughn grabs the smoke from Kallie’s fingertips and takes a quick puff. He’s not a fan of smoking but the silence is creeping up on his nerves. His fingers tap relentlessly on his bent knee.
“Somethin’ gonna happen.”
He passes the smoke back allowing both hands to drum.
“Oh yeah, like what? The end of the world?”
She laughs and stubs out the butt. Normally she has no desire to feed into Vaughn’s paranoid, delusional rants. Worldwide pandemics, flash floods, killer bees; it’s always something with Vaughn.
“I’m serious, Kallie. It just feels – different.”
He stands; the ritual of pacing commences. He kicks up chalk dust from Kallie’s street art.
“Are you sure it’s gonna happen?”
She leans back, stretches out her cramping legs and tries not to trip Vaughn up.
“No. I mean not officially 100% sure, but this feeling…”
He lets his words disappear, unsure how to describe a feeling.
“Can we go look?”
Kallie smiles knowing his answer before he gives it. She’s being an ass but it’s so much fun taking the piss outta him.
He stops pacing and bends down in front of her, grabbing her shoulders and inching his face so close that their noses touch. Kallie thinks of the Eskimo kisses she learned about in grade school.
“You know it’s too dangerous.”
Vaughn’s brows furrow giving the appearance of one large fuzzy caterpillar. She almost chokes on her laugh.
“Oh yeah right…I forgot.”
She wiggles out of his grip and lights another cigarette. Vaughn paces. She wonders if he really knows something the rest of the world doesn’t. Maybe the doctors just need to up his meds again.
“Do you have any regrets? You know, since it’s the end of the world.”
She shouldn’t be encouraging him; it’s no good for anyone to get Vaughn riled up but she’s bored.
“A few,” he sighs, squinting at the sun waiting for some unknown threat. “not much can be done now though.”
“The Europe thing again?”
She asks picking at her toes, only half listening for Vaughn’s response. It’s a tradition between them now; he gets a feeling and she humors him. She knows her part.
“Yeah. I’m sorry.”
This time he sounds genuine. Not just an empty apologize born from a fear of the end.
“Oh. Well….it’s okay.” She means it this time too; surprised by his naked emotions.
He stretches his hand and she mirrors him. Their fingertips brush just for moment before she lets her hand drop.