As I mentioned in this blog entry, I entered a Flash Fiction challenge despite a) Not having written Flash Fiction before, b) not really having time to enter such challenges and c) not actually knowing what Flash Fiction was. We’re now well into the first month of the challenge, and at a four piece per week rate, I should be posting the 9th or 10th piece by now,but reality intruded. Here’s the second piece, which I wrote some time ago and discovered I had never posted it. This one clocks in at 362 words, which fits barely in my stated goal of “300 – 500 words, hopefully closer to the 300 end.” So read it, and leave my some criticisms and comments so I can do better with the next few pieces.
As the ocean’s lazy waves retreated, they left a present lying on the shore. Angela spotted it straight away. The Pacific’s gift to Moolack Beach, Oregon was a human head.
Not a severed head, Angela thought, it doesn’t even look damaged, aside from the whole “no body attached” thing.
Some primal urge compelled her to pick up the head and she cradled it in her arms against her chest. The head looked male, and Angela would have guessed he was about a decade younger than her, in his early teens. As she stared the head’s hazel eyes flicked open. The movement startled her and she dropped the head back on to the sand. It bounced, rolled over and ended up on its back looking at her.
“Mom? It’s me, Ryan,” the head said.
Angela balled her hands into fists by her side, and as calmly as she could manage, said “Who the FUCK is Ryan? I ain’t nobody’s Momma.”
“Yeah, you are,” the disembodied head said, “or you will be. What year is this?”
“It’s 1996,” Angela said. I’m talking to a freaking head, she thought, I must have lain out in the sun too long.
“Then I’m five years too early,” Ryan said. He blinked twice and the head disappeared in a beam of amber light.
“Wait!” Angela shouted at the now empty shoreline. Too late, she thought, and what did he mean five years early? For what? Thoroughly discomfited, Angela left the beach and drove to the apartment she rented together with her college friend, Jenn and tried to dispel “Ryan” from her mind and sleep.
A fitful three hours later, Angela woke up at the sound of the apartment door slamming.
“Hi,” Jenn called out.
“Hey,” Angela answered, walking out of the bedroom. “You’ll never guess what happened to me this morning.”
“You met Ryan,” Jenn said.
“Wait, how did you know that?”
“We’re building him at work, and I guess we figure out the temporal displacement routine after all.”
“If you’re building it, why did it call me ‘Mother’?” Angela asked.
“Oh, Angie, where do you think his organic tissue came from?” Jenn grinned, brandishing a meat cleaver.