First off, I want to start out with a few unrelated topics. Number one: Naps are awesome. I woke up yesterday morning feeling like butt and, even though I wanted to get some work done, I decided I’d sleep in a little bit, something I very rarely did. I napped for about half an hour and woke up feeling awesome. This could also be a great testament for just listening to your body, because that half hour made a huge difference, yet I still had time to do stuff. All is well! And, two, the plan to cut out coffee is a failure, too, as I’m sipping on a nice big cup of it right now. It’s the damn withdrawal headache. I have to work today, and I don’t want to go through work in the blur that I did yesterday from caffeine deprivation, with a caffeine headache on top of it. ‘m thinking of calling the experiment failed. The fact of the matter is that I love coffee, and life is too short not to enjoy the things you love, even if they’re expensive habits and you put way too much sugar in it.
I fully intended to get this post done yesterday, but time caught up with me, so we’re having another Flash Fiction Friday on Saturday. Below is a photograph from the marvelous PhotoBotos, meant to inspire a brief little flash of fiction, as well as my own contribution. Feel free to take the picture and run with it and share your work! I always love seeing what other people come up with if I get the time (which I don’t, not always, which makes me sad). But it’s always good to work our writerly muscles, and here’s my work-out for this particular prompt.
(Image from by Scott Wood)
“There it is!” Her voice lifted as best it could over the thumping sound of the helicopter’s blade, pointing out to her companions as though they might miss the spectacle opening up below them. Though the sun was about to set on the horizon of the cloud-scattered sky, it was enough light to catch on the rushing waters, spilling over the great cliffs that towered over the sprawling jungles. She didn’t bother to register her companion’s reactions; she smiled to herself and leaned toward the window eagerly, wanting to soak it all in. “We finally made it.”
Across from her, David smiled, shaking his head faintly. “Like a kid on Christmas morning,” he said, admiration dancing in his tone, but he knew that this was big for her. This was the moment she had been dreaming of ever since they heard about the caves beyond the waterfalls, and the vast amount of knowledge held within. She had been buzzing about this project ever since it broke, and she had been deliriously happy ever since she got the news that she would be a part of it. He could only hope to push back the niggling little feeling of disappointment that he had never been able to make her feel like this himself.
No one was surprised when she was the first one out of the helicopter, bounding to the ground and hurrying forward with her pack slung over her shoulders. “Okay,” she announced, as the other followed her at a more cautious pace, “let’s set up base and be quick about it. We only have a little bit of light left, and then we’ll head into the caves. Once the sun goes down, doing anything out here would be pointless, so it’ll be forward and onward. Let’s go. Pascal, you’ve got the equipment, right?”
Ushered by her eager urging, the camp was set up at what David was sure had to have been a record speed, and she spent no time hesitating to rest afterwards. She was strapping on her gear before the last task was even completely finished. “Good job, guys,” she burbled. “Who’s going with me on the initial entry? Margot? Sean?” Her eyes danced to him, and a smile lit up her face. “David?”
She knew she didn’t have to ask; David dutifully stood up with the rest of those who hadn’t groaned at the prospect of anything other than relaxing after the long flight. He strapped on his gear, and they followed her into the caves beyond the curtain of waterfall, the pouring torrent echoing loudly in the long tunnels that disappeared into the darkness of the mountainside. Their gear lit up the black passageway as it became more narrow, steeper, more treacherous the more they descended. David put his hand to a wall to steady himself, and he could swear he felt the rocks vibrating. It unsettled him immediately.
“Maybe we should come back later,” he suggested.
“I’m going on ahead,” she said.
“Wait–” David said, but he was too late. Swift as always, she had slid through a very thin gap between two rocks, scouting ahead. This time, David was certain he felt the vibrating beneath his feet, and several heads turned toward the sound of rumbling deep and distant in the caves. He called out to her. “Come back! I don’t think it’s safe!”
David stepped forward, but a hand held him back. The whole cavern seemed to shutter before the rocks came tumbling down, filling in the gap through which she had slipped. He shouted her name, but more hands held him back. “We have to get out of here!” someone shouted, and the shaking grew, it threatened to throw them all off their feet, but David still struggled against those dragging him back toward the entrance. She was lost, they said, it was too late. They would go back when the earthquake had settled, but he had to go in there now and get her. The others overwhelmed him and the next thing he knew, there was the roar of the waterfall and more rocks were tumbling down, closing off the entrance, sealing her into the place she’d always dreamed about, and he half wondered if she had slipped away from them intentionally, with full knowledge that she might never leave again.
There you have it! Much longer than my usual flash fictions and definitely something that could develop easily into more. How will this picture inspire you? I hope it does. Happy writing!