Okay, so, I’ve been thinking about doing a “themed” post like this for a while and, as I struggle to get my coffee maker to work again (why, why, why is it not brewing? Why are you doing this to me, coffee maker? What have I ever done to you except use you to excess?), I figured I might as well give it a shot. I know I sort of blew it on my last attempt to do a flash fiction thing last year, but, hey, that was then, this is now. It’s a new year. Time to turn over a new leaf. And try a different approach.
Instead of doing a flash fiction contest that will most likely get lost in the cracks, I figured I could just throw out a prompt in the form of a picture from the amazing Five Minute Get Away and anyone who wants to write one, can write on. If not, ah well. I myself will write one and, to keep up with the five-minute part, I will set my timer to five minutes and just write. I figured it would be a good little exercise to hone my skills. Let me know if this idea is kind of lame. Or if you like it. Or if you know why my coffee machine is still not brewing.
(picture credit: Mike Warren)
Jane almost couldn’t hear him over the sound of the roaring waterfall. “What?” she called out, leaning heavily against the rock face to keep from falling. The stones were slippery with the splashes from the water, making her glad for her comfortable shoes.
“We’re almost there!” Sean shouted back, looking over his shoulder and smiling at her. Any tension or concern she had melted away with that smile, and Jane felt a crooked smirk surface in return.
“This better be worth it!” she informed him, mostly teasing, but she was already feeling her t-shirt cling to her body as they got nearer and she knew he was going to make her go through it. Whatever was on the other side of that waterfall, they were going to get soaked trying to get to it, which was probably his plan all along. They’d have to take off all their clothes to let them dry, but her heart thumped to think that perhaps what was behind the curtain of water was something to make her want to take off her clothes.
It was exactly the sort of elaborate scene he’d put together for something like a proposal, too. One of their first dates had been traveling this forest trail, and they’d fallen in love with each other making speculations as to what might be on the other side. Hidden pirate treasure, a tunnel to China, passage into Narnia, you named it.
Sure enough, when it came time to go through the falls, Sean leaped through without hesitation; Jane was a little more reluctant. It was a warm day, but the water spraying on her was cold, almost icy, and the thought of a diamond was still not enough to make the icy chill and the clinging clothes worth it. But Sean’s hand emerged through the curtain and, smiling despite herself, Jane reached out to take it. He pulled her in, through the icy blast, and into a cool cavern where the thunder of water was louder than it was outside, and there was nothing but wet dull rocks and….something else. Sean knelt down in front of it, his head hung. He took off his battered adventurer’s hat, placing it against his chest.
It was the same hat on the corpse in front of him. The same khaki button down shirt, weathered jeans, hiking boots, and the same face as Sean’s, but faded, decaying, diminishing to bone. Jane stared, not sure of what she was seeing at first until Sean started to explain.
“Jane,” he said, shaking his head. “I meant to tell you sooner. I’m sorry, but I just didn’t know how to tell you.”
It seemed to impossible to believe, but it hit Jane like a brick, and she dropped her mouth open and let out a scream. It echoed in the small cavern space behind the waterfall, but she realized it was pointless. Even with Sean right there, there was no one alive around to hear her.
Technically, this took me longer than 5 minutes to write, by the way, but I hadn’t finished it yet, so I kept going….Your turn! Share your own 5-minute flash fiction prompt from the picture, too, or just admire the pretty some more.
And thanks to Carl for subscribing to the blog! I hope you’re as entertained by my ramblings as I am by your cartoons!