Here’s my entry in Chuck Wendig’s Irregular Creatures flash fiction challenge. I’m used to 1,024 character (1kb) fiction (read my Ficly stories that meet this constraint) so I didn’t quite fill 1,000 words, but I’m happy with what I wrote.
I call it “Three”. Enjoy!
Warning! Warning! Warning!
The mechanical voice didn’t sound all that concerned so why should I stop my work? Progress marches on; Down the hallway and to the left.
In between the triune and untroubled transmissions a siren sounded, whirring an alarm like a lost ambulance ambling and echoing down each corridor.
Didn’t stop me, wouldn’t stop me, couldnâ€™t stop me.
I round the bend and there are lab coat rats – regular science folks – rushing in the exact same direction as me.
Paying me little to no attention.
They donâ€™t know me and I donâ€™t know them. Weâ€™ve only ever seen the backs of each others heads bent over rows upon rows of microscopes or glowing terminal access screens or, heaven help me, grading papers. We might as well all be numbered samples, vials of this or that, locked away in a storage freezer waiting to be viewed in close-up detail, sliced into pieces or presented before a throng of jubilant onlookers.
But that allusion is too literal, too cold, too much like a craven killer collecting bodies; counting coup.
A guard or three now race past me, in what would appear to be full-on riot gear, going the opposite direction. Theyâ€™re joining the fray and Iâ€™m just trying to get out of the way, get away (getaway).
Itâ€™s a stark contrast between the uniforms of the regular janes and joes in our long, white coats and the dark black body suits of the guards. Iâ€™d say they were military but there are no patches or insignias, no identifying marks or chevrons, save for a simple, rectangular text box over each left breast: NuMove Research.
Thatâ€™s our unifying characteristic, us and the guards, we all have that same phrase on our personage. Iâ€™m headed for the parsonage to pay the patronage.
Will the people even notice me?
Will the people ever notice me?
Will the people never notice me?
I kinda hope not.
Thereâ€™s screaming up ahead, sheer terror, and for what? There isnâ€™t smoke streaming or rubble rabbled to rouse us from our work. There isnâ€™t even any blood or gore or horror anymore. Itâ€™s all just a fake thriller to disguise the real surprise.
People stop to stare or pointedly point at some part of the structure, unseen, where something (anything) must be happening. But it isnâ€™t. Not now anyhow.
I turn back to shake my head, make it seem as though I care as well. Share the shock, feel the pain.
I manage to avoid the gazes as most folks are too busy ogling nothing to bother with me. I maintain my momentum, working my way toward the back of the crowd. I feel the fringes and take a turn one last time to make sure I remember my home, my birthplace, and fix it in my mindâ€™s eye.
My mindâ€™s third eye. The one that winks at the little boy who has seen me for who and what I am.
Heâ€™s pointing to the place I used to be when he finally has his fatherâ€™s full frontal attention. Neither of them really want to believe that I was ever there at all.
Iâ€™ve made my escape unscathed and now I get to see.
See what all the fuss was about.
See what I was missing.
See the sea and beyond.
See, as three, as I was meant to be, when and where they canâ€™t hold me.
I hope you liked it. If you want to contribute your own “Irregular Creatures” Flash Fiction story, you have until tomorrow, March 11, 2011.
For good measure, here are some eBook, internet fiction & general writing links I’ve been saving up for a post. Draw your own conclusions.