Flash fiction is like a game for some writers. We’re given a photo – one shot – and asked to write a very short story about what comes up for us around the photo. Pantsers (those who write by the seat of their pants, rather than plotters – who plan a story out) seem to really enjoy this. Thought I’d share some I’ve done.
Lauren froze at the sound of the man entering her bedroom even as he snatched her up. She was on her own. She should be getting used to that. At least this man wasn’t as big as her ex. The question was, had her ex sent him?
She instantaneously ran over what she had been taught in her self-defense class. Going limp as though in a faint, the unexpected weight caused him to drop her to the floor. That gave her a momentary advantage. She had to use it. No way could she reach the phone even if there was time. What could she use as a weapon? Her hand brushed against the weights she kept under her bed when not exercising and closed around one of her five pounders. No time to dig for something heavier.
He stood astraddle her and started to reach down. She slammed her foot up into his crotch, hopefully rupturing something he held dear and he groaned, sinking to his knees and cupping himself. She sat up and slammed the five pound weight up into his nose. He fell back onto the carpet stunned or unconscious, she didn’t know which, but blood now soaked the blue and white knit mask that covered his face. Good, maybe she’d broken his damn nose.
What had she learned from all those adventure and horror movies as a kid—never leave someone behind that can jump back out at you later? She slammed the weight into his head again, but he didn’t react. A sound out in the main room caught her attention. Two of them?
Kyle was too far away to glimpse the face of the guy racing away, but he had come from her apartment. Approaching cautiously, he berated himself. He should have made his move earlier. Who knew she was in someone else’s sight as well? Was he the only person Dunn had hired to return her? Had she been hurt? The guy had been alone when he ran, the other man who’d entered left behind. Using his elbow, Kyle pushed the door open and listened.
No movement. The guy hadn’t taken her so where was she? If she was injured . . . Silently he moved on to the bedroom door. He saw her then, leaning over the body sprawled on the floor. What the hell had happened here?
A phone was in her hand and he heard voices coming from it. She’d called 911. He didn’t have a lot of time. He stepped into the room, his finger to his lips and watched her jerk back. She was holding one of those little weight ladies used for exercise in her other hand. Probably as good a weapon as any for her. Using his jacket to prevent accidentally leaving fingerprints, he took the phone from her and disconnected it. “I’m not with him. Get dressed. You need to get out of here. We don’t have a lot of time.”
(I really enjoyed this one – I hope it grows into a book like Red Shoes did!)
I was wrong. I want him to stay but how to tell him that? Especially when it would be better for him to leave. I’m not good for him, not what he needs. But could I be? I’m a mess, a total fubar. Could I change that for him? Could I be the kind of woman he needs?
Liam found space on the train and closed his eyes. Lila had asked him to leave. None of his arguments had swayed her. He hadn’t said he loved her, he did, but he hadn’t said it, not after she ordered him away. Would using those words have worked? He’d give her a little time, not much, but he needed to figure out why she wanted him gone and try to get over the pain she’d caused him. Why couldn’t she see what they could be together?
He wasn’t gone forever. Somehow he’d make her see.
Would he recognize her? She didn’t look the same, she didn’t feel the same. Yes, it was risky. But everything about her had changed. She was confident now, on her own financially and emotionally. She’d heard rumors about him, but they were only rumors. Probably started by jealous ex-girlfriends. Women who couldn’t handle him.
He turned slightly and she saw his profile. Even her confidence dipped a little. He looked too good to be true. No, he needed someone like her in his life now that he was going places. She had turned herself into this woman in order to live that role. And live it she would.
She straightened her spine, lifted her chin and moved in his direction. He turned and she glanced in his direction quirking an eyebrow. Then glided past him toward the bar. She knew this man was not used to being ignored and felt him stir as she continued on without a backward glance.
She was not surprised when she reached the bar to hear his voice overriding her own, ordering a glass of champagne for each of them. With long elegant fingers, he extended the second glass to her. “Adrian Montgomery.” He bowed slightly and she took the glass. “And you are?”
She looked him up and down as though sizing him up. “Victoria Grant.”
(Just FYI – this led to my book Red Shoes – I knew what happened after this little snippet and wrote it)
She shook her head. Bad idea. Pain flared, blinding her. What the hell?
“Open your eyes, Sugar.”
It took a second, but she obeyed. She recognized him. He was the asshole from the diner. Had he followed . . . yes! He’d been playing with her in the car. Passing her, then slowing to a crawl so that she would pass him. Making obscene gestures when he could catch her eye. When she’d gotten completely fed up, she’d passed him and refused to glance in his direction. Obviously that hadn’t worked. Shit, he’d rammed her car from behind.
“I may have a concussion.”
“Sucks to be you, babes.”
Where were they and was there any hope of help arriving? She remembered the gentle giant from the diner. Yeah, like he would help out here.
“We need to get out of here before some fuckin’ do-gooder shows up.”
“Not as pretty as it was.”
She glanced over. He was right. She must have climbed out under her own steam. This asshole wouldn’t have helped her, and then passed out at least for a moment.
They both heard the car, no those were bikes approaching. She stiffened as he relaxed. There were four bikes and they pulled up surrounding them.
“Caught a nice one there, Bo.”
“Not sure about that yet. She’s one of them liberal chicks from up north. Got that accent.”
A fifth bike joined them and her eyes widened as the gentle giant stepped off.
The dreams were getting better, more tactile and vivid. The door was even open in this one. It couldn’t be real, none of them were, but . . . it was open. And there was light on the other side.
Was it another trick? If she took the chance and it was a trick, what would be the consequences? But she had to look after herself. There was no one else. She’d seen the red door before but usually fleetingly as she was rushed from one place to another. Hey, she was alone! There was no one watching her, at least that she could see.
Would they pounce if she tried? Possibly, likely, but how the hell else was she supposed to get out of here. Where was everyone? She could hear nothing, not even the rustling of little critters that inhabited this part of the compound.
She couldn’t help it. She stepped toward the door. Nothing happened, no one moved to stop her, so she took another. She could see out the door now and no one seemed to be around. Was that a horse paddock? Well, she was in a barn.
Had everyone left? Was that a good thing? She wasn’t restrained. Abandoned here? She could work with that. She stepped out into the sunlight and hesitated. Her eyes darted in every direction even as they adjusted to the brightness of outside.
Then she saw him, the big one. He put his finger to his lips for quiet.
Zoe looked at herself in the mirror. Chip had done his magic again. Everyone in the back row would be able to see her emotion. The difference this time was the makeup matched her mood.
Mac was gone.
At least she had never uttered the words “I love you” even though it was true. She had that much self-preservation.
She’d spotted him outside the theater at her last gig. He’d had a date and had been very tolerate of the fan-girl the woman had become when Stu walked out. But their eyes had met and she’d seen his amused tolerance of his date. He’d been back the next night, alone, and approached her.
“I’m not a stalker, and I don’t know how to do this, but would you have a cup of coffee with me?”
She hadn’t been able to hide her grin. He was not her type. She usually went out with theater people, men who were built like dancers, and usually were. Mac was more the bouncer/biker type to look at. Those arms, that chest looked intimidating. But he had been gentle, tender with her.
And now he was gone. The favor he’d come to the big city to do over. He hadn’t seemed intimidated by New York, but admitted that being from North Carolina had not prepared him for the pace here.
New York was where she had to work if she was going to make a living in theater. Not that he’d asked her to go . . .