Tag Archives: flash fiction

Week Three Winner: The Strange Machine by Voima Oy

And then, one day, the numbers changed. Pi became a pattern, repeating. Then, things got really strange.

Before that, Emi was a model, a face in trendy magazines. In real life, she was fond of red fingernails, black cats and black dresses. She had just bought a rehabbed loft in the warehouse district. She loved the white and empty space, the light from the floor to ceiling windows.

Many artist types lived in the neighborhood, and that’s how Emi met the diLunas, Vasco and Rae. Emi could tell they would become good friends. Rae was charming and talkative. Vasco was more quiet, but she liked him, too.

One evening, they invited her over to their place. They lived just down the street, in an older, less-improved building. They had cats, and lots of room to work in. They made all kinds of unique and useful things.

The space was filled with their eccentric objects. Suspended from the high ceiling was what looked like a skeleton of some strange creature in flight.

“I have to ask,” Emi said. “What is it, a bird, a dragon, a whale? ”

“Yes!” Rae smiled in delight. “It is also a light fixture. I am so glad you enjoy it.”

“Oh, I love your work!” Emi danced from piece to piece. Wood, steel, polished bones. She was imagining these creations in her own new place. She had never seen anything like them. “Do you sell these things?”

“Of course. We do commissions, too.” Rae said, whirling around the room.

“Whatever you would imagine.” Vasco added, his arms outspread, as if he were about to take flight.

“Could you?” Emi said. “Why don’t you surprise me!”

So, that’s how it started, anyway, pleasantly enough. In no time, the three of them were inseparable, doing everything together.

Then, one day, Vasco and Rae delivered Emi’s commission. She had no idea what it was. A towel rack? A time machine?

“Yes, and it is based on numbers,” Emi explained. “Fibonacci ratio. Triangles. And Pi.”

“It is also a light fixture,” Vasco said. “Here are the instructions.”

She should have read the instructions, Emi thought later, after it was too late to change the settings back to the way they had been. She turned the knobs this way and that, again, and again and again. Colors began flashing, repeating, flickering like fireflies.

Vasco, standing in the white room, his arms outspread, as if he were about to take flight. Rae, whirling in the white room, dancing.

Hadn’t this happened before? Now, the numbers had changed.

Patterns began repeating.

Then, things got really strange.

Outside the windows, everything was swirling, like a hurricane or the arms of a spiral galaxy, a vortex of spinning colors. In the center, an eye was forming, a green eye with a black slit, like the eye of a cat. The winds began to howl.

Emi was alone in the white room at the center of the world.

Then, everything went black.

About the Author:

In real life Voima Oy lives in Oak Park, IL on the western edge of Chicago, south of the expressway and the elevated train line.

She has written short forms for years–poetry, prose poems and very short stories. She loves the possibilities of twitter and flash fiction!

She also has a blog, Chicago Weather Watch, where she writes about life, nature and weather.