It’s been a productive week. I have finished and sent off Grist, my ‘stab’ (sorry, too easy) at Industrial Horror Fiction. It has undergone some major overhauling since I posted the previous excerpt so click here to read the updated teaser.
Fingers crossed for some feedback from Spectral Press, though I fear Grist may be too short for their anthology. But what will be will be and it was great fun, and a good exercise, to write all the same.
For this week’s #FlashForFriday (my fortnightly exercise of producing a piece of flash fiction) I asked for challenges from everyone. I got a few really interesting responses and have filed a few away for consideration in the future. However, the simplest one was the one that got its hook in my brain today, as is so often the case.
It was tweeted to me by Patrick of Dodge Fiction. His challenge was simply the word ‘dry’. Here’s where I went with it. Enjoy!
‘Did you ever imagine it would end like this?’
‘It’s just an expression, Ena.’
‘I know. But it was still a question. And my answer is yes.’
‘How could you possibly predict you’d end up here?’
‘Well, maybe not here specifically. But somewhere dry, desolate and isolated? Yeah. Sounds about right.’
Al raised her eyebrows. ‘That’s uplifting.’
‘You’re the one that started the conversation about death.’
‘I did not,’ Al snapped. ‘I was all for hedging. General musing. Not bloody well spelling it out.’
‘What’s the use of sugar coating it now?’
Al threw the empty canteen into the sand. ‘Fair point.’
‘I do sometimes make them.’
They sighed, lying back with their arms behind their heads to stare up at the endless blue.
‘It is peaceful though, isn’t it?’
‘Yeah,’ Ena replied. ‘I guess that’s all most of us can hope for, in the end.’
‘You never know, if we’d made it home, we could have ended up in a horrific car crash. Or a house fire. Been paralysed for life, caught rabies. Anything.’
Al shrugged. ‘Anything’s possible.’
‘I don’t think rabies is all that possible.’
‘Stop being so literal, it’s getting annoying.’
‘Only if you be a little more literal. You could mean anything sometimes.’
‘I mean,’ Al said slowly, ‘if we got home, who’s to say we’d meet an end as peaceful as this one?’
‘So we could be grateful.’
‘Perhaps going a little far,’ Ena murmured. ‘But I take your point.’
‘I think you’re wrong though…’
‘About you being pre-destined to end up somewhere dry, desperate and alone.’
‘Hasn’t that prophecy kind of self-fulfilled a little already, Al?’
‘No,’ Al turned her head toward Ena and smiled again. ‘You’re not alone.’