Flash Fiction: Timeline by Kay Pal

Timeline

There was a violent shift in atmosphere. Nothing in the room moved, but the sheer momentum of it woke Andrew from a dead sleep. It felt as if he had been flung across the room by his belly button. And yet, everything was the same. Nothing had moved and he remained tucked into his bed. He turned to glance at his bed-side clock. 2:12AM. Even though it was the middle of the night, he knew he was never going to get back to sleep. Not when his skin felt like it was vibrating. A sense of impending doom made Andrew decided he would get online. He opened his laptop and navigated to check and see if there was anything new going on in the world. He felt as if something bad had happened.

At first, he couldn’t quite pinpoint what was wrong with the web page. There was nothing new, but the page looked different. It was off somehow. After a while, his eyes landed on the ticker at the bottom of the screen that was usually moving. It remained still, clipping off the end of a sentence that began with “Thousands of bees were found-” What had been found? he wondered to himself, moving the laptop to the foot of his bed and reaching for the TV remote. He turned on the television and punched in the number for CNN. Wolf Blitzer appeared on his screen, frozen mid sentence. Nothing was moving. Andrew let out a frustrated sigh and flipped through the channels. Each appeared frozen mid-stream. Something odd was going on. He had felt ‘off’ since he had been violently woken by that strange swing of centrifugal force. It had felt as if his guts had been swung around and placed back into his midsection backwards.

Andrew padded barefoot down the cold hallway, headed for his room-mate’s bedroom. He knocked softly at the door and waited a few beats. No answer. Timidly, Andrew pushed open the door. His room-mate Steven was asleep in bed. Andrew walked over to him and gave his friend’s shoulder a shake, or at least, he tried to. It was as if Steven was made of stone. There was nothing Andrew could do to move him. More worrisome still, Steven wasn’t breathing. At least, not really. There was a steady stream of air coming from Steven’s nose, going on and on without end. There was no inhale, just air, like a leaky tire with infinite supply.

With his heart in his throat, Andrew ran down the hallway and burst out the front door of his home. He tried to scream but no sound came out. In fact, he hadn’t heard a sound since the moment he had woken up. Not a cricket, not a car alarm, not even the sound of wind blowing through the trees. It was like a crypt. He tried knocking on his neighbor’s doors and windows. No dogs barked, not a one. He tried running down to the busy street at the end of his cul-de-sac. Cars were at a stand-still in the middle of the road with open-eyed drivers that were completely un-moving. They took no notice to him pounding on their doors and windows. After what felt like hours, Andrew wandered back into his home.

He sauntered back into his room defeated and flopped down on his bed. He hit his head against his cell phone that had been buried in the covers. He attempted to dial 9-1-1, but he wasn’t expecting it to work. Just like he thought, the call wouldn’t even connect. Andrew navigated to his email, but there was nothing new on it. His last email was just a notification from Facebook confirming with him the decision he had made before he went to bed. Absentmindedly he re-opened it. It read “Your decision to deactivate your profile will go into effect in five hours. We have frozen your time-line, so if you ever want to come back, you may always reactivate and stay connected!” Realization came over Andrew like a tidal wave.

With trembling hands, he navigated to Facebook. He tried to re-activate his account, but no matter what he did, he was unable to effect change. He glanced at his bed-side clock again. 2:12AM. The time-line was stopped. Frozen. The phone fell from Andrew’s hands to the ground, and he took a few deep breaths. ‘Calm down’ he thought to himself. ‘You just need to calm down. You will figure this out eventually.’ After a few steadying gasps, Andrew reached down and picked his phone back up and navigated to his email. He noticed a google document he didn’t remember making next to the message from Facebook. He opened it. Inside were three lines.

2:12AM+3 Days: I will figure this out. -Andrew

2:12AM+8 years, 42 days: So alone in the frozen world. Will anyone know I was here? – Andrew

2:12AM+ 900+ years: There is no end. -Andrew

Flash Fiction Lori F.

 

It’s been 15 years, but I still regret what happened at the lake that night. It wasn’t supposed to play out that way. All I had wanted was to fit in. To be more than a nobody. Experiencing the aftermath of that night though, I realized more than ever that I would always be the odd one out. It started out as a dare. Something to prove that I could be as “normal” as all my other classmates. And it ended with me taking the life of the only person that had ever tried to befriend me. A freak accident caused by me, the freak.

Darcy was the only other one at our high school that looked like me, other than that we were polar opposite. She would always smile at me as I walked down the hallways. I hated school so there was never a time when I didn’t look like a zombie wandering the hall seemingly hungry for brains. That never held her back from waving at me and saying “Hey!” every time she saw me. It came as no surprise that she attached herself to my hip on that stupid overnight field trip. I remember it like it was yesterday…

Darcy tried to make eye contact with me as she walked down the aisle of the school bus. I sank lower in my seat digging my earbuds deeper in my ears hoping to avoid conversation.  She must have considered that a challenge because before I could blink she was scrunching in next to me on a seat the size of a baking pan. She knew that we were the odd ones out on that field trip. In a sea full of jocks and cheerleaders we were the only outcasts at our school. Both of our haircuts were chopped short and matched our wardrobe consisting of all black, with thick eyeliner surrounding our eyes, the studs in both of our noses and our pale white skin shone bright in contrast. As you can imagine, in sunny California we both stuck out like a sore thumb. My mom used to scold me saying that I wore “too much make up” and said things like “honey, if you took some of that junk off I’m sure more people would want to be friends with you. You would definitely get more dates!” I knew that Darcy went through the same thing…I heard her mom yell from the car once as she was dropping her off at school, “see if you can make friends with some of the popular girls!” There was no question that we were both considered the outcasts of Newmont High.

I shook my head as if trying to dismantle the thoughts of so long ago that seemed lodged in my head like a bullet that if removed, would kill me. I pulled the mail that had been stuffed tightly into my apartment mailbox and headed up the 3 flights of stairs to my apartment. I had been gone for the last week attending my mother’s funeral. It was no surprise that she had taken her own life. She had made my life so miserable that I can’t imagine how she felt about her own. Frankly, I’m surprised it hadn’t happened sooner. That thought brought me back to my previous memory. Unlike me, Darcy always seemed to enjoy life. She never seemed to care what people thought of her. Despite her own mother that must have been just as overbearing as mine. She chose to be happy. She chose to be kind and trusting. And that was how it all began… and why her life ended.

“Hey, Lana..Laaaanaaaa, “ Darcy stuck her hand in front of my face waving it around as several skull bracelets around her wrist jingled in unison with her chipper tone. The annoyed expression on my face didn’t phase her as she flung her “Seconds After Death” backpack underneath our seat. I was impressed that she even knew that band. I didn’t let that deter me from rolling my eyes and doing my best to scoot as far away from her as possible on the tiny bench we shared. It was nothing personal I just wanted to be left alone. She shook her head at me, “lighten up will ya? I don’t bite.” Just then Kathryn Jones, captain of the cheerleading squad peered over the bench in front of us and sneered “or do you!? Freak..” She giggled as her friend sitting next to her high fived her. She flung back her long blonde pony-tail and it shook from side to side. Oh, how I would have loved to grab that pony tail and give her a piece of my mind. Ignoring her, Darcy grabbed her backpack and dug around in it for what seemed like minutes. She smiled as if she had pulled “The Sword from the Stone” and revealed a pack of Dubble Bubble gum. “I can’t get enough of this stuff”, she said stuffing a piece in her mouth. “Wa some,” she offered chewing loudly. I shook my head and turned away from her as I turned my music up full blast. I hoped she would get the hint. I sighed with relief when she shrugged her shoulders and sat back humming to herself. I felt kind of bad but couldn’t help it. I liked to be alone no matter where I was. Blame my strangely overbearing parents, or my pest of a little brother who didn’t know when to quit.  To me, music was the only thing I could stand listening to.

As the bus pulled up to Camp Trodger a cheer let out on the bus as everyone began talking about heading to the lake. To me just the thought made me shudder. I hated the water. I think Darcy could sense my uneasiness because she playfully shoved my shoulder and said, “what, are you afraid of the water?” I shrugged my shoulders and quietly admitted, “I don’t know how to swim.” I tried to step past her to get off the bus before the herd of teenagers came stampeding through the campground like a bunch of imbeciles. Darcy blocked my path and excitedly said, “Let me teach you how!” I just shook my head and pushed past her. Did she not understand that I didn’t want to be on this trip to begin with, let alone make any friends. I had thought to myself then that if I made it back alive from this field trip it would be a miracle. That thought now filled me with chills and a deep longing for the life of my would be friend. She had been the one who didn’t make it out alive.

A knock at the door drew me back to reality and I sighed deeply as I flung several bills into the trash can and grabbed a Dr. Pepper from the fridge. It was most likely the superintendent letting me know my rent was overdue. I didn’t care and didn’t bother answering the door. I sat in my favorite big comfy chair and put my ear buds in. My favorite song from Seconds to Death blared in my ears. I closed my eyes and a single tear rolled down my face looking for an escape I knew it would never find.

Flash Fiction: Sacrifice by Tenaya Jayne

Sacrifice

By Tenaya Jayne

The pain woke me. I clenched my hands on my stomach, the shredding pain made it hard to breathe. I stood up, heat running down my thighs. The heavy moon pushed its light through the window. The blood blossoming on my nightgown looked black in the pale moonlight. I understood what was happening to me. I was a girl no longer. Life would change when the sun came up. Fear gripped me harder than the pain.    

Mother never cried, yet her eyes were bloodshot as she held up my new dress.

“Do you like it?” her voice shook and her bottom lip trembled.

I nodded. The lace on the skirt distracted me from her behavior. I’d never seen anything so fancy, not even on any of the other, wealthier girls in the village.

“Put it on then.”

It slid on over my head and mother laced up the back. Her fingers trembled as she combed them through my hair and braided it.

“What’s wrong?” I whispered.

“Nothing…You didn’t tell your father did you?”

I shook my head.

“Good. That’s good…You’re ready. We need to pick some red flowers. The ones that grow in the forest.”

“Why?” I asked.

“For the tea. It’s important your drink it tonight before you go to sleep.”

Her hand was icy as she laced her fingers through mine and led me out of the house. We moved swiftly through the village and out into the forest, not speaking to anyone as we passed.

“I love you. You know that don’t you?” she asked.

I nodded. “I know, mother. I love you, too.”

We walked for an hour in silence.

She huffed in agitation. “I don’t see any flowers. Maybe we should split up to look for them, otherwise, we might not get home before dark…I’ll go this way, you go that way.”

“But what if we lose each other?”

“Just sing. I’ll hear you.”

She kissed my cheek abruptly and turned to the side. I watched her back as she wound through the trees. I scolded myself. I was a woman now, childish fears must be put aside.  

I stopped in a bright sunbeam and closed my eyes for a moment. The sunlight pushed through my eyelids, scorching black dots in my retina. When I opened my eyes again, all the color of the forest was gone. Everything was black and white. I blinked rapidly as I walked, trying to force my vision to readjust. Against the colorless landscape, bright red flowers began popping up like smears of blood on the ground. A sense of relief washed over me. I’d found the flowers.

I leaned down and began picking them. Mother didn’t tell me how many we needed. I moved on to another place and picked more. “I found some!” I called out. I listened for her to call back. Nothing. I inhaled, about to sing as she’d instructed me, but my breath stilled in my lungs.

Silence. I’d heard quiet before, but never true silence. I hadn’t noticed the singing birds or the whispering, gentle breeze until they were gone. The flowers in my hands fell to the ground.

“Mother?” I whispered so quietly I barely hear it myself. “Mother, please…”

I turned in a circle. I was surrounded by red flowers. My eyes locked on the tree in front of me. The symbol carved deep into the trunk caused my heart to still and tears to slick over my eyes.

“Why?” I screamed.

I wasn’t lost. I’d been left. Offered. I was the sacrifice and the beast would be here any second to claim me.

His growl vibrated through the silence. I backed up until my back hit a tree. He shifted through the shadows as he came to me. I pinched my eyes shut. I didn’t have the courage to look upon my death. His breath fanned hotly across my tears. All my muscles braced. The moment stilled in time, dragging out mercilessly. From a great distance, I heard my mother, weeping. It was the last sound to touch my ears.

 

 

 

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Reading my bio, huh?
Real life sucks. I bet you feel like that sometimes, maybe even right now. That’s why I write fantasy. I need to escape depression, bitterness, bills, illness…18838836_1162581987181410_2581988992898486333_nI could go on, but you get it. In the pages of fiction, I can slay the dragons, triumph over the bad guys, be immortal, and never struggle with love handles. For a short time, I can let it all go, and be everything I can’t be in real life. Maybe you’re hurting right now. Maybe you’re in the waiting room of the hospital, or just stuck in traffic. I’ve brought a portal. Come with me…Let’s ditch this crappy popsicle stand and go somewhere great, where we can forget all this, at least for a while.

That’s why I write. I’m not an author, I’m an escape artist.

New Beginnings: Alyssa P. Kelso

Wow! Hey guys! How cool is Aubrie for letting me guest post on her blog? I’m ecstatic to be here! Hmm, where to start?

Well, since the topic is “new beginnings” I think it’s appropriate to talk about my daughter who is really quite “new.” I recently mapped out my calendar for the month of April and when I had to write down my daughters first birthday on the calendar, I completely lost it! Oh one second, here I go again. Just kidding, it’s totally allergies………..alright FINE, it’s not allergies. My daughter’s turning ONE!! *Sob.*

Up to this point I’ve been in absolute denial about it. But sadly it’s time to face the facts. Nearly 365 days ago an ominous cloud of uncertainty and “what ifs” followed me into a white room where I was to have an emergency cesarean. I wasn’t prepared to deliver my baby that way. I really wasn’t. The only thing that I “did” have prepared was how I wanted my husband to distract me if the need arose. So there I was, scared out of my wits about the unknown, when my husband took me to my “happy place.” “Just think about how fun our first family trip will be,” my husband had said, “think about taking Jade to Hogwarts, about Universal Studios. Think about drinking butterbeer. Think about how incredible this new chapter in our lives is going to be.” I swear I saw him holding a wand at this point because sunlight started to break through that ominous cloud above me. These really were magic words from my sweet muggle man.

Then it happened. Birth. The most incredible new beginning of all. Only thing was, my daughter wasn’t breathing. She was rushed from the room before I even got a chance to see her. After several long drawn out minutes my husband finally brought her to my side. A beautiful (breathing) baby girl, weighing in at 8 pounds 2 ounces, with a dark head of hair that even Harry Potter would be jealous of.

Now as the days pass by I think about what kind of example I wish to set for my mini me. What do I want to teach her? Well, I want her to know that it’s okay to believe in places like Hogwarts. Even when her hair is grey. I want her to always believe in the power of Magic. I want her to know that anything is possible. I want her to have an imagination that allows her to fly on a Nimbus 2000. I want her to know that when a phoenix dies that they are born anew from the ashes.

I have had a series of new beginnings in my life. Some have been scary. Some have been exciting. In the case of welcoming my daughter into the world and learning how to be a mother, it was and is both….Okay, seriously? Who is cutting onions over here?! Grrr.

Whoever you are and whatever new beginning you might be going through, I just hope that it is one of magic. I hope that you may face your life with the belief that anything is possible. Let your hearts and imaginations free, hold out your hand and claim your new beginnings and your dreams as if you’re catching a Snitch. And please remember in times of doubt that you are a phoenix who can and will rise from the ashes. New beginnings are endless. Some are scary. Some are exciting. Sometimes they are both. Whatever the case may be, this is your life to live so make the most of each chapter!

With love, Alyssa P. Kelso

P.s. My daughters first vacation was to Hogwarts last October. She got to experience her first Halloween in Hogsmeade dressed as Hedwig. Also, a HUGE thank you to J.K. Rowling for creating a world that I love with all of my heart.

 

 
Alyssa P. Kelso resides in Utah with her husband, daughter and the family dog. At home she enjoys wearing her Hogwarts sweatpants, throwing her hair up in a “mom bun,” and goofing off with her family. 17577757_10154245564276510_1373846530_nShe is currently revising the manuscript for her first novel and hopes to have it published in the near future.

You can find her on social media here.