#flashfiction

Women on the road

It was getting dark, and Ethan was coming back home from a beach near his hometown. He had been there for three days with his dad, a friend of his dad and his son, who happened to be Ethan’s friend too. The 4 of them had spent an amazing weekend and were ready to get back home to resume their ordinary activities. The road trip back home was getting boring, no one was talking and they were all in the middle of the dessert with a long plane highway to go through but suddenly Edgar, the friend of Ethan’s father, came up with what seemed a great idea to kill time, and that was to tell horror stories about highways and weird things that were known about the same highway they were going through. Ethan felt a bit nervous because he knew horror stories weren’t for him but he wouldn’t dare to admit he didn’t like the idea because he didn’t want to be the chicken of the group.

            Edgar started with a story and everything was going alright; Ethan focused on the view the dessert offered him while there was still some light and that way he wouldn’t focus on what the others were saying. Ethan’s father, Carlos, continued with another story and Ethan kept most of his attention outside the window car. But then, when Carlos was finished, Edgar started with another story that caught Ethan’s attention since the beginning and he couldn’t get back to looking out the window because he wanted to know how the story would end. Edgar told them about this woman who once got stranded in the middle of the road and was asking for help. Hours later, after the woman was about to give up, a men pulled up and offered her a ride, but days later she was found dead. Since then, it was said that same woman appears sometimes on the road asking for help and that if you refused to stop your car you would crash your car and die but if you stopped and offered the woman a ride she would kill you anyways.

The story seemed pretty stupid to Ethan but he couldn’t help being a little scared deep down. After that story, both fathers started talking and changed their conversation into something else and Ethan was starting to feel relieved it was over but some minutes later everyone was scared to death when they saw a woman on the side of the road asking for help. They all looked at each other in terror and slowly kept the car going, but after some meters, Carlos, who was driving turned the car around and told the rest he wouldn’t leave that woman to herself only because of a stupid story they just heard.

When they got to where the woman was asking for help, she explained them her car had two flat tires and was getting nervous because it was almost fully dark and she was alone with her two small children. Carlos offered her a ride to where she was going and she accepted.

When they were back in the road, half hour after they had picked the woman and the children up, another woman appeared suddenly in the middle of the road and Carlos stopped the car as fast as he could. It was totally dark now, the small children started crying and the woman who had suddenly appeared vanished. Carlos, Edgar, Ethan and his friend knew exactly what was happening and were in complete terror, paralyzed. The back door of the car opened itself, and no one was standing outside but they all felt a weird presence. The small children were still crying and unexpectedly, the back door closed itself as if the spirit of the dead woman knew that the men had just picked up a mother and his children to help them and get them somewhere safe.

Everyone was still paralyzed, the car standing still in the middle of the dark dessert road until Ethan decided to break the silence and said looking at the woman they picked up, “She spared our lives for helping you”.

 

Carlos started the car and slowly started moving. During the rest of the road, no one said a word. 

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Dinner at 6

It was around 5:30 pm when Howard arrived from school. I was in the kitchen cooking dinner. Pasta Alfredo with chicken, Howie’s favorite. We were celebrating that night because he had gotten accepted into Stanford University with a full scholarship.


Sam got home at around 6 pm with a bottle of chardonnay. We were ready to celebrate. We all sat down at the table, I opened the wine and I poured a glass for Sam and myself. We started eating when out of nowhere, Howard said: “I’m eighteen years old now. I’m leaving to college soon and I think it is time for me to know who my father is.” I looked directly at Sam’s eyes, I was scared to speechless.

 

He had asked us that when he was around 6 years old. Sam and I decided to tell him that he was no longer with us, that he was dead. And he was. At least for me.


Sam said “Howie, you know that he’s dead.” She glanced at me. “We told you that a long time ago.” He replied “I know, but I still want to know who he was, what he was like, what he liked to do. I want to know everything about him.” I abruptly said “You can’t. I won’t tell you his name, I won’t tell you anything about him. Now or ever.” He looked at me with a look of discomfort on his face. “Why don’t you want to tell me? Gosh! I’m a grown up now, I deserve to know! I mean, I have the right to know!” he screamed. “Don’t yell at your mother like that!” Sam replied. “I’m sorry, but, but, I’d really like to know!” he then looked at me, “Mom?”. I was petrified, disoriented. I never thought he would ask me that, not now and not in a million years. But I knew he had the right to know, so I decided to finally speak. To finally tell him the story of my life.


“Look, Howard” I said when Sam stopped me and told me, “Honey, you don’t have to tell him if you don’t want.” “No, Sam, it’s time he knows.” She just nodded at me.


“When I was in college I was seeing this guy named Paul, but it was nothing serious. One day he invited me to a bar near his place, so I went not knowing what would happen next.” I took a small break and then continued. “So we are hanging out and he asks me to come over to his apartment. We get there and we sit down in the couch, he offers me a glass of bourbon and I accept it. We start drinking, and he drinks more than me.” I pause again, but now with teary eyes. I continued, “Then he starts touching me, caressing my head, telling me how beautiful I am. He starts kissing me, and I tell him that I’m not in the mood. After that, things just get violent. He puts his hands around my neck and I can feel the hard clamp of his hands on me. I try to stop him, but he squeezes harder. He finally lets go and tells me, “Relax, don’t be so uptight. We’re having fun! Aren’t we?” I say, “No, please let me go,” but he does it again.” I thought I’d vomit, my body was covered in cold sweat and I could not stop thinking “That bastard, that f**ing bastard.” I kept going, “I try to run away but he punches me on the head and I am left nearly unconscious, I feel that my body doesn’t belong to me anymore. He throws me on the bed and positions me underneath him. ” By then, tears rolled down my eyes. Sam held my shaking hand. “He raped me, Howard. And there was nothing I could do about it,” I cried. “I left the minute I could and it wouldn’t be until days later that I would find out that I was pregnant with you. So I decided to have you, to give you a chance in life. And that has been the most amazing decision in my life, because without that, you wouldn’t be here, making me and your mother proud.”


Howard looked at me, he stood up from his chair, he hugged me and whispered “I’m so sorry, mom. I love you so much.”


“I love you too, son” I replied.

 

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The Cafeteria

 

He comes every day

 

At the beginning, I though he only came to relax, as everyone does

 

-          A black coffee please

 

I give it to him, as always

 

He can stay hours at his laptop, sometimes he brings a camera or a book

 

The weeks have passed and I start to get suspicious, why does he comes every day? To see someone? Me?

 

I received a note at my home the other day

 

At first I thought it was a bad joke

 

Someone trying to scare me

 

Then I remembered him.

 

Could it be from him? It can’t be from someone else.

 

Everything matches

 

Now fear consumes me

 

The fear of seeing him again.

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Sleepflying

 The clock alarm had rung three times and I just couldn’t get off from bed. Today I woke up with a deep headache; one I had never felt before, that made the pain seem as if it spread until it reached the surface of my head. I felt as if my brain was bruised, or as if I was having a never-ending, intense brain-freeze. I was trying to concentrate on avoiding the aching, when I glanced at the clock and saw the bus was coming in fifteen minutes.

 

Light made pain even worse, so I jumped up from bed opening my eyes the least I could to be able to get to the bathroom without any more injuries. I turned on the water faucet and got into the shower. After getting my face wet and pulling my eyes, I opened them to find the floor all red of blood. I was socked, but then I remembered the feeling my headache made me have, so I turned to the mirror and took a look through my hair in search of a cut, and there it was.

 

While I was finishing getting ready for school, I tried to recall or guess what could have been the cause of that cut I had in my head. I just couldn’t come up with anything.

 

It was five to seven and I was running out of the bathroom for breakfast, when I got surprised on finding my window crashed.

 

It wasn’t the first time something like that happened. Yesterday my dad found the roof was falling and the day before the woman next door complained with my mom about hearing bangs on a window as if someone was trying to get into her house.

 

Anyone could feel the tension that built up day by day around the neighborhood. Everyone was just all nervous because of the incidents that had been happening during the week. Putting all the unusual incidents together made people think it was all related to attempted robbery.

 

But when I saw my window broken I felt as if I had something to do with the cut in my head, so I decided to keep it a secret, at least for a little while. Maybe time would explain, so it wasn’t necessary to rush it by giving my parents the news. I thought I was sleepwalking.

 

I had been feeling tired more than normal, so when I got home from school I went straight to bed to have a nap –something I never do. But this time I felt it was necessary. So I slept deeply and even dreamed –something that never happens either.

 

I dreamed that my body rose from the bed and I started floating around my bedroom, so I went out the window and started flying out of control. But after a few seconds I could fly as good as I could walk. Seeing everything from above was incredible. Everything seemed so different when it was seen in the big picture. Everything seemed so real, so detailed… and it began to scare me. It felt so real I couldn’t distinguish between the dream and reality.

 

Still dreaming, my head started hurting. I took my hand to the cut I remembered having, and it was there. I got even more confused because the pain felt as if I was awake. I felt dizzy and fainted, falling unconscious.

 

I woke up lying on the grass of my backyard.  I had been sleepflying.

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Magic Stone

Magic Stone

 

As John walked down the street, he felt tired of being alone. He thought that if people noticed him, they could see he was miserable. He walked slowly with his almost empty pockets. He had no one by his side and no money to spend. He had just what he needed to survive, but he started to get the feeling that it would not be enough anymore. John started to think, that maybe if he had money, loneliness would not be any trouble because he would spend his time traveling around the world, which was his biggest dream. 

 

John liked to spend his time in the park waiting for anything to happen. As he arrived to his usual spot, a bench besides a big tree, he noticed a little paper on the ground. With nothing else to do, he picked it up and read it. It had an address on it and described a store that sold magic stones and other stuff. He was never a belieber in this kind of things but he instantly felt curious. He said to himself, “Well, I can try it, I have nothing left.” John had no idea what those magic stones can do, but stood up and walked his way to the store. 

 

He arrived to the store and realized it was like a small house but it said MAGIC STONES in luminous letters on top of the door. He was not sure to knock or just enter the place. He looked through the window and got scared when a woman yelled him to come in. As he did, he started to look around the store and saw hundreds of stones of all shapes, sizes and colors. The lady asked, “Is there any specific stone you are looking for?”. He thought she looked funny. She was dressed in colorful clothes and was wearing too many accessories. “I really don’t know if I am taking anything.” John replied. The woman suddenly looked confused and told John to tell her his biggest problem and biggest dream. “Why is that important?” he said. The woman took a sit on a tall chair besides one of the trays full of stones and got out a notebook. “My name is Emily and I will try to help you achieve your dreams and liberate you from your problems. You just need to tell me and I will give you the indicated stone for you.” A part of John did not believe in anything the woman was saying but he still told her what she needed to hear in order to help him, “I would love to travel the world and don’t feel alone anymore but I don’t have any money to do that.” Emily took note of John’s words and then stood up. Without saying anything she started to search the place until she found a shinny silver-like stone. She gave it to him and said that with this stone he would not worry anymore and everything would be better. He wanted to put all of his few faith left on the stone but got worried he would waste his money on that. The woman convinced him and told him, “You would no longer struggle with that trust me.” 

 

The next day, he went to the park as his usual routine. This time, instead of a paper, he found a wad of money on the ground next to the same big tree. He looked around surprised, and saw no one around so he picked it up. He could not believe the amount of money he was holding. He felt the stone in his pocket and smiled, he knew his life was about to change. The first thing he thought of, was buying a ticket to anywhere so he could just get out of that sad town. He felt like he was staring a new life and he did. 

 

Months passed, and he felt that same emptiness inside of him. He had everything he had dreamed of; a fancy car, houses everywhere, he could go anywhere he desired. Despite all of that, he was still alone. He remembered Emily had told him she was going to help him, but he felt the same as before so he decided to claim her. When he arrived to the magic stone’s store he entered angry looking for Emily. When she saw John all dressed up, the first thing she said was, “Well I guess the stone has done its job.” “Your stone is fake, it does not work, I am still sad and lonely.” he said. “Well, the stone gave you money, but you should be smart enough to know that money can’t buy happiness.” 

 

(Approximately 750 words)

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Through The Window

Someone is watching me. I’m old enough to notice it, but not old enough to say anything about it. Through my cradle I can feel his gaze. Why does he ignore my sister? Is it because she’s asleep? This happens every night, always in the dark, as if the sun didn’t allow him to look through the window. My mother tries to get me to sleep, she sings a song, she reads a story and eventually manages to put me to sleep. It’s an old house located in a middle class neighborhood. My father chose it because he was in desperate need of a house. By far its best feature was the tree in the front lawn, I’ll always remember how majestic it was. In a way it reminded me that even though we were new there, the tree was a witness of past stories.

Its night time again, this time I’m three years old, and he keeps watching me through the window. I try to wake my sister up but he disappears, my sister is now mad at me. I hear my mother walking through the hallway, I stay silent so I don’t scare him away in an attempt to show my mother who’s been watching me, but again he disappears as soon as she enters.  Even though I’m quite young I know my only chance of getting them to believe me is if they see him like I do. “What’s wrong? Why aren’t you asleep?” my mother says “It’s an old man! “ I say, “But he disappears when you come in”. My mother explains how that is impossible as my room is located in the second floor and no old man could get there. She invites me to the balcony to show me there is no one there and she was right, but only for a few minutes, as soon as she left the room the old man was back. He’s so real I’m sure I can even touch him if I go out, but I don’t, I’m too scared.

It’s late at night and everyone is sleeping except for my dad who is watching T.V. upstairs. We all wake up as the sound of broken glass and cooking utensils hitting the floor travel through the house. “Did you hear that? Was it you? No.” we asked ourselves. My dad went down only to find nothing, there was no sign of broken glass or any mess really. He came back up and told us it was just old house noises. Through the years we got used to it and even laughed at the noises the house made. I’m older now and as I go to sleep I still see him through the window and I stop and look him closely. He’s an old man, he seems educated and wears an old brown suit with shiny shoes, he’s elegant and has quite a strong presence. What caught my attention were his eyes, he didn’t have a threatening look, but instead he looked to be begging for company, he seemed lonely. At school they mocked me and told me to stop making up stories. Eventually I just gave up and kept quiet about it.

26 years have gone by since we left the house, I haven’t seen the old man since. I found myself in a family reunion and was speaking with some ladies who had been in touch with the families that stayed in that house after us. One of them asked me “Where you happy living there for 8 years?” “Yes” I answered. Bewildered they asked if we hadn’t heard any weird noises coming from the kitchen, or if any of us had seen an old man wearing a brown suit?. The previous owner of the house committed suicide by hanging himself from the second floor balcony and some of the owners say that an old man appeared every night just standing outside the window

They say ghosts don’t exist, that they are only a figment of our imagination.

Me, I still keep quiet.

 

 

 

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