Samantha’s flesh burned. The flames burned blue as they erupted from her palms. She screamed as waves of pain flowed along her limbs.
The other people in the town square looked at the shrieking, incandescent girl and shrugged their shoulders indifferently.
“What the fuck are you guys waiting for?” Samantha yelled, waving her arms, leaving trailing rings of fire in the air behind them. “This shit hurts!”
An older gentleman stared at her, reflections of fire flickering against his pupils. “There’s no need for that kind of language, young lady,” he said.
“Seriously?” Samantha said, “I’m ON FIRE and you’re going to lecture me about a damned f-bomb?”
“What are you talking about?” the man continued, “Nobody here is on fire. Least of all you.”
Samantha rolled her eyes so hard she was sure she could see the inside of her skull. Surely this guy could see the blue flames consuming her arms. Hell, she could see the flames in his eyes.
It struck her as odd that the fire seemed content to just burn her arms and not spread to the rest of her body. That didn’t stop the pain as the skin sloughed from her limbs in blackened gobbets of flesh that smelled disturbingly like beef jerky.
Samantha found herself salivating at the odor despite herself and tried to scoop up the acrid lumps of her burned extremities with an arm that was now entirely bone and sinew. Skeletal fingers closed upon a fleshy cube and she brought it to her mouth. The meat smelled delicious. As she bit down the old man grabbed her forearm, his fingers digging painfully into flesh and muscle that Samantha’s eyes told her no longer existed.
“Miss, you need serious help,” the man said “And I wouldn’t eat that if I were you.”
Samantha stared at her arm, which flashed between a blackened skeleton holding meat and a regular arm holding a crumpled cigarette butt, switching between the two states as if illuminated by a strobe light.
“What’s happening to me?” Samantha asked.
The old man smiled, revealing a jagged row of yellowed teeth. “Justice,” he said.
Flames engulfed Samantha and the old man, burning them to small piles of fluffy white ash
As followers of this blog are no doubt aware, back in March of this year, I participated in a Flash Fiction writing challenge known as “Four by Flash,” which had the goal of producing sixteen flash fiction pieces (four a week for four weeks) in a single calendar month. However, the full extent of that challenge was to repeat that schedule four times in a calendar year for a total of sixty-four pieces. I had earmarked June as my second month to attempt this feat, vowing to do better than I did in March, where a late start meant that pieces were still dribbling out in April.
I clearly failed miserably on the actual deadline thing, but I’m still determined to get all the sixteen pieces out. This piece is my fourth of the set and I still have ideas for the rest.
My “prompt bingo card” provided the inspiration for this 373-word piece, which combined with my last few pieces means I have three squares marked off. This piece was prompted by the square reading “I remember when the candle shop burned down. Everyone stood around singing ‘Happy Birthday,'” a quote from comedian Stephen Wright. This means my card currently looks like this:
Stock photo courtesy of Andreas Krappweis