Summer of Super Short Stories Week Ten!

Welcome to the final week of Luminous Creatures Press’s first Flash Fiction contest! Beth is back to judge this week.

You have until 6 pm (PST) on Saturday to submit a 500-word story based on the prompt picture below. Post your story in the comments section; include your name, a title, the word count (not including title), and your Twitter handle if you’ve got one. Only stories submitted before the deadline will be eligible to win. We’re on San Francisco time; check the world clock if you have any questions. Good luck!!

Photo courtesy of Dave Peticolas

Photo courtesy of Dave Peticolas

14 thoughts on “Summer of Super Short Stories Week Ten!

  1. Karl A Russell

    One Lunchtime

    It was the fag end of summer, and the South Bank was heaving. Even the bookshop was packed, which was unusual, what with being a bookshop and all… Tel served his final customer, then snuck to the back door. Jules was already waiting, checking her watch.

    “Don’t think we’ll get to the Mexican truck.”

    “Sorry, stuck with a Yank who wanted The Mersey Sound. He was looking in Music for ages, wouldn’t accept that it was poetry. Pizza?”

    Jules shrugged, linked his arm and started for the promenade. Tel felt the warmth of her bare skin against his own and wondered if today would be his day to speak up. Then Jules started to talk about her boyfriend, and Tel kept quiet, as always.

    They headed for the gardens to eat their pizza, passed a busker playing Waterloo Sunset. Tel glanced at Jules, smiling, then looked away when he caught her looking back. They found a space on the grass to sit and eat, talking of partners and other inconsequential matters, watching the tourists and dog walkers and children, until the man with the gun appeared.

    He had a tank on his back, a flamethrower, weedkiller, backpack affair, and he screamed about love and regret and counting every moment as he sprayed them all with a cold, clear liquid. It burned their sinuses, raised their heartbeats and slowed time to a crawl. Tel staggered to his feet, shouted as the man raced towards the promenade, then looked back at Jules. She was laughing at a dog writhing in the grass, his sudden horniness clearly apparent. Tel understood what was happening to them all and pulled Jules to her feet.

    As the crowd scattered and screamed, or fell together and fell silent, he watched a bead of sweat trickle down inside her shirt. He traced it with a trembling fingertip, looked into her pale blue eyes and wished that for once, she could see into him and understand.

    She smiled, took his hand and pulled him behind the food trucks.

    And then, blue eyes sparkling, heads swimming, police choppers roaring overhead, they kissed.

    And then, hearts pounding, skin tingling, deaf to the screams from the Waterloo Bridge, they sank to the damp London soil.

    And then…

    And later, grass stained and embarrassed but alive, they heard the news filtering through the crowd;

    The Southbank Centre’s Festival of Love.

    Guerrilla advertising.

    Amyl Nitrite spray.

    These fragments arrived as they looked for their uniforms, peering intently at the sewn in labels, to check which was which and whose was whose.

    In bruised, giggling silence, they binned their pizzas, returned to the bookshop and pretended that it had never happened, at least until the following Friday, when they snuck out together again.

    And again.

    And again.

    And Tel never admitted that he’d recognised the “attacker” from the start, from a dozen lunchtimes at the Centre, and just saw it as an excuse to finally give in.

    But that was okay, because neither did Jules.

    500 words
    @Karl_A_Russell

    Reply
  2. Image Ronin

    Return Ticket

    “Number 11232242, please go to desk 48.”

    Felix lifted himself up from the plastic orange chair that had adhered itself to his skin. Legs complaining, he set off across the vast room, past rows of bright orange chairs, each occupied by a resident clutching a numbered ticket. Envious glances marked his progress across the hall. Felix didn’t care, he was just glad that his number had finally been called.

    Behind the polished glass of the cubicle was an attractive young woman. Felix felt his heart sink as his nemesis stirred in his trousers. They were always attractive and young, no matter his self-delusion he knew they saw him only as the balding overweight middle-aged man he knew he was. Her attention was focused on a computer as he approached, Felix went to cough politely but a raised manicured finger halted him mid intake.

    Her fingers danced over the keyboard, she was blonde. Why always blonde?

    Fucking hell he felt so horny.

    “Boarding details?”

    “Ah, somewhere and please, call me Felix …”

    The look back, a marvelous combination of disdain and boredom stopped him midsentence.

    “In the chute …”

    “The chute?”

    Another malevolent glare, a finger pointing to the brass tube beside the glass.

    “Take a tube, put your documents inside.”

    Felix clumsily stuffed his documents into the small canister, then watched it disappear up into the ceiling.

    Moments later and with an elegant whoosh it dropped onto the desk in front of the girl.

    “So …” She perused his documents, “ hmm, you’ve requested a return.”

    “Yes, well when the gentleman at arrivals had explained my options, to be honest a return seemed a great deal.”

    “Gentleman?”

    “Tall, beard … very helpful … handing out brochures.”

    Another raised finger; Felix dutifully fell silent as she picked up her phone. Her voice cheerfully melodic as the other person answered.

    ‘Hi, this is Claire from processing. Sorry seems Peter’s at it again … I know its just we’ll never hit our quotas if he … excellent okay, yeah and you.’

    She put the phone down, her warmth fading immediately.

    “Well if it was me you’d be getting the standard eternal darkness package, yet seems my hands are tied, so what were you after?”

    “Well I was hoping for something a bit more athletic, sporty, I mean it’d be great if I was into running maybe?”

    “”Sporty … well lets see, ah yes seems I have something suitable” her eyes lit up at the information on her computer screen, “if you could just place your hand firmly within the square etched on the glass.

    Felix lifted his hand. The glass was cold.

    “Will this hurt?”

    “Probably.”

    She hit a button.

    White light.

    Felix was running across a field, tongue lolling, heart racing, four legs sprinting in unison. He sped through the thick grass that brushed against his fur, a perfect blue sky above him.

    A young blonde woman waiting for him, leash in hand.

    Maybe this was going to work out after all.

    @imageronin

    500 words

    Reply
  3. zevonesque

    A Meeting of Pasties
    by A J Walker

    The chemical white baguette should have been enough but the regular battle of wits with the potato and meatless pasty was no contest. Ben’s shirt was flecked with greasy pastry and guilt was hitting him faster than the calories.

    Every day he came here to this green postage stamp park. It was not like he had a choice, the dog pulled him there. So the dog got exercise and fresh air, whilst Ben got Gregg’s and got fat. It was easy to see who had the upper hand in this relationship.

    Karl. How could he have left like he did. How could he make me promise to look after his dog. His dog.

    He looked at it depressed, it didn’t suite Ben. He was a labrador or border kind of guy, not a breezeblock with teeth kind. Why did Karl have to call it Ronin too? He hated shouting down the street. Ronin! Ronin in!! Ro nin!!

    Suddenly two attractive legs appeared before him blocking the white laser reflection from the office building behind her, which gave her an electric halo.

    “Mind if I sit here? There’s not much room here at lunch.”

    Ben shrugged, “Of course.”

    Behind her was twenty metres of empty park.

    “Your dog?” she said before biting into a Cornish pasty.

    “Err, this yeah. I suppose so.”

    Ben’s angel replied, “What kind of answer is that?”

    Ben surreptitiously dusted some of the pastry from his shirt, ‘Some people would call it denial.’

    “Isla, nice to meet you. And your dog,” she said holding out her hand.

    An awkward moment passed as Ben struggled to decide; shake or kiss? A limp handshake followed.

    “Isla, not Angela.”

    Ben regretted saying it immediately.

    ‘Why Angela?’

    “I don’t know why I said that. I get nervous. New people and all that.”

    “Can I stroke him?” said Isla.

    “Bit early in the relationship for that isn’t it?” Ben said. ‘Oh! the dog.”

    It had been a gamble, but the humour hit.

    “Yes. The dog.”

    “You’d better ask Karl first. He needs to give his permission.”

    “A dog called Karl?”

    “Sorry, the dog’s Ronin, Karl is his real owner.”

    Isla looked around, “Where is he?”

    Ben pointed at the dog. His legs paddling through the air as if he was getting invisibly tickled. “I think he’s here. He died a few months ago. Used to always bring the dog here. Now Ron only ever really looks happy here.”

    “So, you believe in ghosts then, tickling dog loving ghosts?” she said.

    Ben laughed. “Not really, not at all. But the dog likes it here for some reason.”

    Right now as Ben talked with Isla he was liking it too.

    “You going to ask Karl then?”

    “Think I’ll leave it,” she said getting up and wiping pastry dandruff from her dress. “Back to the grindstone.”

    Ben’s heart sank.

    “Can I ask Karl for a stroke tomorrow?”

    “You still talking about the dog?”

    Isla smiled.

    “I won’t be asking for Karl’s permission for anything else.”

    (500 words)
    @zevonesque

    PS couldn’t compete with Karl or Ronin this week. Ever. So thought I’d pay a bit of irreverent deference.

    Reply
  4. C Connolly

    Ceremonious Goodbyes

    “Is she here?” Edie whispered, whilst the music continued to play softly and they waited, strategically seated a couple of rows from the back. A number of black suited backs were turned from them beyond the gaps between the chairs. The cloth covered rest at the front was empty, waiting for the bearers to bring the soon to be occupant in, shoulder high.

    “What d’you think?” the other woman responded. “Would you be in the circumstances? I couldn’t face it, personally. Or that face. ”

    “Closed casket, Rose, remember?” Mary said. “That was definitely how they wanted it. You know that. And, no, she’s not here. Not that I’ve seen, anyway.”

    A slight pause. “There you go then.”

    “Wouldn’t have put it past the family to tell her to stay away, to be honest.”

    “Surely not!” Edie protested. “Wouldn’t have thought they’d have the balls.”

    “Edie! Really? Did you have to?” Rose questioned.

    “Because you weren’t thinking it at all, were you?” Edie shot back quickly.

    “Just keep your voice down!”

    “Exactly.” Edie’s mouth quirked infinitesimally.

    “Well attended, isn’t it?” Mary said, voice sharp. “Lots of folks here.”

    “Guess they wanted to pay their respects. One way or another. After they heard.”

    “That’s one way of putting it,” Edie said, eyebrow raised.

    “Don’t let’s get into that, hun, – that’s what’s got us here, after all, isn’t it?”

    “What? The where, how and with who?” Edie asked, eyes wide, mock innocent.

    “God!” Mary hissed, stopping suddenly. “Not The, obviously. Now the two of you have me blaspheming when it’s you who can’t behave properly! Give it up!”

    “Ahem,” Edie said, looking towards Mary.

    “You really can’t help yourself, can you?”

    “Guess not. Not when you’re making it this easy, anyway. Which it is, let’s be fair. You’ve got to admit, it’s slightly different to your average send off, surely?”

    “Try and forget.” Mary said, voice hard. “The family are making the rounds. It’s hardly their fault, is it? They’re just the ones left dealing with it. In fact, I should say hello really before the ceremony starts. Let me out, will you?” She waited as the others shuffled along to give her room to reach the aisle, brushing creases from her skirt suit briskly, before moving towards the doors at the back.

    “Has anyone heard from her?” Rose asked.

    “Not that I know of.” Edie replied. “Think she’s taking some time out, to be honest.”

    “To try and live it down?”

    “More than he did, unfortunately for him.”

    “Not the way I heard it, I’d have to say.” Rose commented.

    “Sorry?”

    “As in, he wasn’t. Sorry, that is. Not with the way of it.”

    “I bet! See, now, I had heard some rumours about Carol before but, really, Rose, you shouldn’t..”

    “You are incorrigible, missus!” Rose interrupted. “Although he did used to joke about his grand exit stroke.”

    “Wish granted, I guess – randy old dog! Though a heart attack wouldn’t be my choice, I’d have to say..”

    (498 words)

    @FallIntoFiction

    Reply
  5. Mark A. King

    When the mailman chases dogs
    by Mark A. King

    Horse Chestnut Avenue was awash with activity; the prim residents were in a state of unbecoming panic, uncharacteristic chaos and pantie-twisting kerfuffle.

    The imported German cars were safely harbored under the corrugated armor of the garages, protected from the miniature mines that rained down from the trees. Those bombs born of the soil and the sap, were as damaging as their spiky maritime brethren. Unlike the cars, the residents were vulnerable, to something entirely more terrifying.

    Her picket fence was red, not white. Like razor wire; it was a demarcation line, an unwritten don’t mess with me warning sign. Molly approached, tentatively, and rang the doorbell.

    “Yes,” Mrs Redmond said, curtly, “what do you want?”

    “I’ve come here about Butch,” Molly replied, defensively, “is there anything I can do?”

    “I think you and your husband have…done enough,” she growled, her hands placed on her hips like a diva; a look she might have pulled off three decades ago, “now, if you don’t mind, I have to protect my family.”

    The door slammed in unmistakable affirmation of a reputation, ruined. The neighborhood echoed with the sound of drills boarding up windows, scuttling ration gathering and hunkering down in the basements. Molly just wanted to kill him. All these years. All that car washing, house-painting, perfect hair, nose-job, implants, anal bleaching, face-filler – all for nothing – ruined in a moment of unhinged rule-breaking.

    Butch was never…butch. She wasn’t entirely sure he was straight. He simply tried too hard. She hated the cringing declarations of undying love, like the time he said he’d walk over broken glass for her, once, she made him do it, never again – oh, the mess.

    He’d walk his mail round, in his tight-fitting uniform, with a theatrical skip and Tigger-bounce. The Jackson kids, teased him, but it was the dog that was his nemesis.

    She hated it when he came home, always the same…

    “I freaking hate that dog-” he start, expecting her to ask which one, but she stopped playing that game long ago, he couldn’t even cuss like a real man, “-you know the one…Tyson, the Jackson dog. It’s always out the front rolling around, mutts nutts on show, grinning like a psycho. He took a chunk out of me today. I tell you what, Mols, one day…one day”.

    The CCTV footage showed Butch sitting outside the R & D labs, out on the Obama Business Park, opening a secure parcel. It took him an hour. Then the mail van windows sprayed red.

    The TV new reported an incident. Social media said he died and was reanimated. Butch, the zombie.

    The rumors said he went after Tyson. Then he ran off into the woods, giggling like he was on hippy-crack.

    The rumors said he was last seen eating rodents and bats. If social media is to be believed, the animals have started to rise again too.

    The Special Service agents and snipers have been tracking him, but why? She sits there, knife in hand…Just wait till he gets home.

    @Making_Fiction

    500 words

    Reply
  6. David Shakes

    Unleash the Dogs of War
    David Shakes
    @TheShakes72
    500 Words

    That infernal dog has got through the hole in the fence again. I can see it writhing ecstatically on the patch of lawn it likes to defecate on.
    He sends it to torment me.
    At least he’s had it emasculated. I shudder to think of that brute roaming the neighbourhood looking to procreate.
    Those teeth! What if it were to bite a small child? Too late for ‘I told you so’ then.
    Not that anyone will listen.
    Council won’t help. Told me not to interfere. He’s broken no laws and what I’d consider ‘noise’ was within acceptable limits. He’s all sweetness and light when they’re around. They don’t see how he snears when I peek at him from behind the curtains. They don’t care that my pulse quickens and my arthritic hands tense whenever I hear his door go.

    I know he’s going to hurt me.
    I have no proof of course. There are no records from that time, no paperwork was filed…

    When he first moved in he’d been helpful – lulling me. He’d a plausible story – bankruptcy and divorce, rehoused next door to my own ‘two up, two down’.
    There was something familiar about him even then.
    It was in the eyes.

    ‘Bought you some bits,’ he’d said that first time. I invited him in for tea. It’s only in hindsight I remember how his eyes darted between photos on the wall.
    ‘No wedding snaps?’ he’d asked feigning innocence, but he knew.
    I’d told him no. I’d told him I’d loved once, that it would surely have led to marriage had he not died in the war.
    ‘Shame,’ he’d said, his intonation more questioning than sympathetic.

    That night I’d dreamt of things long buried:
    Illicit meetings and stolen kisses.
    Smart uniforms and broken hearts.
    Black news and swelling bellies.

    I was back in that stuffy low-lit room. Sirens’ wailing and dogs’ barking percussion to my agonised screams. The uncaring ‘midwife’ impatient for both payment and the safety of a shelter. My own screams joined by the high pitched wails of the newborn.

    When I woke up I knew. It was him. It was in the eyes.

    I was naive. Thought he’d tracked me down to make contact, to know his birth mother. He teased details from me. My hatred of noise. My fear of dogs.
    I was so lost in the chance to connect I realised too late I knew nothing of him.

    Was it with relish he told me about his upbringing? Of his years of abuse and torment at the hands of people he believed to be his parents, only to find out he’d been sold to them for a pittance during the war? That his real mother had condemned him to a childhood of unspeakable cruelty for a few pounds?

    He left before I could speak. We haven’t spoken since.

    The next day the noise started.
    The day after he got the dog.

    I know he’s going to hurt me, it’s in his eyes.

    Reply
  7. Wisp Of Smoke

    Unbound

    Travis watched her gather the ceramic elephants that sat emotionless on the oak mantel. She delicately wrapped them in tissue paper and placed them in a cardboard box marked fragile. Amir, a name they borrowed from the Kite Runner, was by her side as always, panting and twitching like a fiend chasing the dragon. His wet eyes seemed to be longing for something: Reconciliation? A bowel movement? A bowl of meat? Travis could never decipher the stories hidden in body language or eyes or a smile that was all sharp angles.

    Jennifer had gained a bit of weight over the years, Travis thought as she continued to pack memories and artifacts with the speed and efficiency of an assembly line worker, her pink nylon sweats nothing more than a blur of function. He didn’t mind the crows feet, the heft in the middle, the dusting of grey around her temples. She was still pretty in a broken way, as if his condescending snark throughout the marriage had excised her youthful glow

    For the first time in months, he looked at her with carnal urges. Maybe it was because she was leaving, maybe it was because her new lover had access to something that used to belong to him. He thought about tossing her some charm for old times sake but Travis chose to remain silent and sip on his beloved sweet tea as she and Amir worked in tandem at uprooting all the good things.

    “Do you want to keep this?” she asked, holding a brushed-metal picture frame.

    He glanced at the snapshot indifferently. Their sojourn in New Orleans: crawfish, jazz, draft beer, jungle humidity, and a ferocious argument the entire way home.

    “Take it all, babe. Take everything.”

    She rolled her eyes, sighed and proceeded with the evacuation.

    “Hey, maybe you could place my heart in a cardboard box and write FRAGILE in gigantic red letters across the front. Just a thought.”

    “Not today, Travis. I don’t need your drama or your mouth. I’ll be gone soon enough, you’ll finally be free of me.”

    When all her belongings were stuffed into the Jeep Cherokee, she smacked her leg and Amir walked towards her, giving Travis a throaty yelp as he passed by. A goodbye? Contrition? A middle finger from a furry paw?

    He went to the blinds and peeked at them as they drove away. No heads swiveling, no doubts lingering. Travis stood there for twenty minutes, unsure of what happens next. He told himself that he wouldn’t miss them. He told himself that they weren’t happy anyway, things had been unraveling for years.

    He thought about that picture from New Orleans. A night of drunken lovemaking that made him feel energized and vibrant. Reborn. He regretted not keeping that one memory. Too late now, he thought.

    He plopped down on the couch, flipped on the television, swallowed a gulp of tea and stared at the looted, beige walls. He tried desperately not to ache for them.

    497 words
    @Blukris

    Reply
  8. emilyemily

    @EmilyJuneStreet
    499 words

    -Posted just for fun, not for contest consideration-

    Ralphie’s Itch

    Ralphie’s back itch had begun when he had been searching behind the taqueria for soggy tortillas. A man had caught him and smacked him on the back with a rolled up newspaper, just for lurking near the trash can.

    A few days later Ralphie had gotten picked up by animal control, and the back itch had only gotten worse. No matter how he squirmed he could not reach it.

    At the pound his cage stood last in a long row. None of the humans ever got all the way down to see him because of the litter of puppies next door. Eleven puppies, every one cute, wiggly, and charming to humans. Ralphie always heard the humans:

    “Oh, look! Puppies! Perfect!”
    “We’d prefer a puppy.”
    “Isn’t it better to get a puppy?”

    Ralphie tried to use the cage bars to rub, but he still couldn’t reach that itch.

    The few humans the puppies could not seduce generally took one look at Ralphie and said:

    “He looks like he has pit bull in him.”
    “Isn’t it hard to find places to rent with pit bulls?”
    “Aren’t pit bulls aggressive?”

    The hall door squeaked. Ralphie hunkered down, determined not to get his hopes up again. After all, four puppies remained unadopted.

    “What kind of dog are you looking for?” the volunteer asked.
    “We’re not sure,” said a woman’s voice.

    Ralphie rested his head on his paws and tried to ignore the furious itch between his shoulder blades.

    “We have lab-mix puppies—”
    “Puppies?”

    Soft footsteps approached Ralphie’s cage. He lifted his sad brown eyes and met the gentle gaze of a slender man with glasses. But his back still itched.

    The man read the placard on Ralphie’s cage. “Hey there, Ralphie. I’m Dave.”

    Ralphie thumped his tail on the concrete.

    “Beth, come look at this guy,” Dave called.
    An elfin woman peered around the man. “What a face!”

    Ralphie perked his ears. Dave fetched the volunteer.

    “Hi, you sweet boy,” Beth said, reaching through the cage. Ralphie approached warily. He had been hurt many times by humans. He ducked under her hand. So darn close…

    She patted his back. He leaned in. She scratched. Ralphie grunted in deep satisfaction, closing his eyes.

    “I like him,” Beth said as Dave and the volunteer arrived.
    “Why don’t you take him into the yard?” the volunteer suggested, unlocking Ralphie’s cage.

    Ralphie wagged tentatively as he followed them outside.

    “Do you like the name Ralphie?” asked Dave.
    “It suits him,” Beth replied. “He’s so noble.”

    Ralphie ran onto the lawn, threw himself on his back and rolled in unadulterated joy, scratching that insatiable itch.

    “Look how adorable he is!” Beth cried. “Can we get him?”

    Ralphie leapt to his paws and shook out. The itch was almost gone, only one little niggle remained.

    “He’s the one,” Dave said. “He’s our dog.”

    Ralphie padded to Dave, who knelt to welcome him. As Dave stroked his back, Ralphie’s itch disappeared as if it had never existed at all.

    Reply
  9. voimaoy

    I am a Cat
    @voimaoy
    499 words

    The dogs are out, I can see them from the window, rolling in the grass like animals. I can’t wait for the dog days to end. The sidewalks are melting, and all the people are out at the block party. Oh, the unfortunate clothing choices. The laughter and burnt-meat air.

    The dogs are running with all the kids. Just look at their sweet and innocent faces. No I won’t come out. I will not roll on the sidewalk for them.

    Now I can hear them squealing in the Bouncy House. What are they doing in there, pretending to be birds flying? “Hey ma, look at me, look at me.”

    Someone’s going to get hurt. It happens every year. I can hear the husbands chatting up the neighbor’s wives. It’s too early for the serious drinking, but it’s already started. This is the happy hour.

    I’m staying out of it. There will be a sprained ankle, a scraped knee, a bruised ego. Sometimes these people are too much for me.

    Besides, it’s Sunday afternoon. It’s time for a nap!

    I am a cat, and I live with a cat person. Insomnia and the moon are her familiars, not these people talking about babies and baseball, home improvement projects, composting.

    But she’s going to the party this year. She’s even combed her hair. That wild mane, tamed. For them. Now, she doesn’t look so much like a witch. It’s a nice outfit she’s wearing, too. I like the black pants, especially. Here, let me rub against them. And why not go with the tropical shirt. Nice jungle print. I can imagine being there.

    I am a cat. I prowl the jungles. I blend in so well in filtered sunlight, and it’s so much cooler in the shadows.

    She won’t stay long. She’ll make conversation with the women, trading recipes for pasta salad. She’ll leave before the men start trading witty banter and fire up the grills. Some excuse, work tomorrow. She always comes home for dinner. What a peaceful life she leads with me! What’s on TV? Let’s watch a movie together. Oh she is lovely, my mistress! I could stare in her eyes forever.

    Yes, let’s wait for the end of the evening, when the coals burn down to cinders. After the laughter around the fire, the sticks and marshmallows. I laugh at the ghost stories they tell each other. Boo! The little kids scream in delight.

    The teenagers who have been eyeing each other all afternoon will find excuses to leave the party. That old song . ” I think we’re alone, now.” Hearts beating in the blood-warm night.

    It’s almost time. They can sense it, too. Already, the first stems of the blooms of the autumn grasses. Longer nights are coming.

    I am a cat. I wait for the night. My eyes are open, watching, mirrors of tigers and jaguars.

    I am a cat. The nights belong to me.

    I can hear the little mice moving in the compost pile.

    Reply
  10. Carlos Orozco

    Carlos Orozco
    @goldzco21
    Curiosity Killed The
    457 words

    He had walked for months now, maybe even years. He didn’t know; he lost track. It was easy to lose yourself in the endless, ever expansive field of green. That’s all there was: green and nothing. Not a hill, not a valley, not a single dry blade of grass. He looked on many occasions for just such a land mark. Anything to indicate he was making progress; but in every direction turned, all he could see was the infinite carpet of green blades. The rustling under his feet and his breathing becoming a maddening drone of stagnation.

    “I’ll be damned if this isn’t Hell,” he yelled. It was worse than hell. The monotony of it could break any man’s spirit faster than any pitchforks, whips, or unholy fires. He would have ended it long ago had he had that option, but there was nothing he could use to aid in that task. So he walked, hoping that maybe someday he would see a change in the hue of the grass or a slight evening tinge in the sky, but what he finally came across was much less subtle.

    “A dog. Ha ha, a dead dog. This is great, it’s perfect,” he said. The dog’s body rested contorted on the bed of green. It looked like it had been hit by a truck, but there were no signs of footprints leading to or from the dog. Just the twisted, lifeless body and a road sign.

    “Danger! Keep Moving,” he read aloud. “This is the first sign of anything I’ve seen in who knows how long. I am not budging until I figure something out.” He stared at the dog from every angle, looking for some indication of where it came from and where it was going. When he exhausted his hope of finding a direction to go, he stooped over the brown dog and examined the collar. Inscribed on a golden circle was the name Kat.

    “Kat—Kat, is this some game. Kat. Out of all the names to name a dog someone chose Kat. The first sign I see in years and it’s a dog named Kat. The universe must have some sick sense of humor to send a man who is past the brink of sanity a dog named Kat. What am I supposed to piece together from this? What spectacular revelation am I supposed to derive from this? Kat. Damn this Kat—err dog, or whatever any of this is. I’m done. I quit trying to figure any of…”

    A horn blared and the man was mowed down as a large eighteen wheeler passed from one wormhole to the next. He lay flattened into the grass next to man’s best friend—Kat.

    Reply
      1. Carlos Orozco

        That’s strange. My twitter handle and word count are showing up blank. Who knows well I’m (at) goldzco21, and the word count is four hundred and fifty-seven

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