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January 28, 2015

Flash Fiction Challenge – Must Contain Three Things

Filed under: flash fiction challenge — Tags: — Eva Therese @ 6:27 pm

Challenge courtesy of Chuck Wendig and can be found here. My three things were Betrayal, Survival and A Bomb.


Ariana scrambled on the floor trying to pick up the money, but her hands were shaking so badly, she mostly just scattered them even more. She muttered every single swearword she had ever heard and quite a few she had just made up herself.

She had misjudged the time and the bomb had exploded before she had expected. It had been shock as much as the shaking of the building which had caused her to stumble and fall down the fire escape. It had been a bloody miracle that she hadn’t broken her neck.

The fall had knocked the suitcase open and spilled the cash all over the ground and now she had to pick it all up. Mr. Slate would have every inch of the place searched and if his men found even one note, he would know that they money had not been lost in the explosion and that someone had made it out. It would put him on her track.

She turned back towards the suitcase, a handful of crumpled papers in each hand, and dropped them all when she saw the woman standing next to it. She jumped up and moved backwards without taking her eyes off the newcomer, but only for a few steps, before she backed into the stairs and fell backwards. She managed herself into a sitting position. After her first panicked reaction running seemed just silly.

They looked at each other.

Cecilia walked over and sat down on the stair next to her. There was a faint whiff of smoke clinging to her.

Ariana pulled back from her. “How did you get out?”

That’s it?” Cecilia cocked her head; a few dark strands of hair made a run for it and got as far as her cheek before they were caught and once again hooked behind her ear. “You’re not going to lie? Say that it was an accident that you set off the bomb and that the door slammed and you couldn’t get it open?”

Ariana reached down and picked up one of the bills, started fidgeting with it “You’re much too smart to believe that.”

I am.” Cecilia sighed.” Although when you look at where I am right now …” Her voice trailed off.

How did you get out?” Ariana asked again.

Cecilia looked at her as if she had for a moment forgotten she was there. “That’s what you want to know? Not ‘what do you want?’ or ‘what happens next?’

Of course I want to know that as well. I just can’t figure out how you got out. Not even now when I know it’s possible. You were always the smart one.”

I’ll trade you an answer for an answer. First, you tell me why you did it.”

Does it matter?” Ariana fidgeted some more with the paper, started to fold it into a small plane.

Indulge me.”

Very well.” Ariana sighed and tried to gather her thoughts. Her reasons, which had seemed to important and clear when she closed the door on Cecilia now seemed rather vague and stupid. “It was a dream. A fantasy. Slate would hunt us down, no matter where we went, and kill us. Not to get the money back, but just to make an example of us. But I thought, if one of us was found dead in an explosion, maybe he would think that it was just one person acting alone and that the money had been destroyed and leave it at that.” She looked at Cecilia, willing her to understand.

Cecilia looked distant, not really angry, but certainly without any trace of sympathy. “You should have talked to me. Told me all this. We could have found a way.”

I …” Ariana shook her head. “I wanted to. But I couldn’t see what good it would do. I didn’t want to die and I couldn’t see any other way. You were always smarter than me.” Tears were running down her cheeks now.

In some ways.”

So,” Ariana sniffed noisily and dabbed at her eyes with her sleeve, “you promised to tell me. How did you survive the bomb?”

Oh, that,” said Cecilia. “I didn’t.” She looked straight at Ariana. “And neither did you.”

What? I don’t understand?”

I wasn’t there, but if I was to take a guess, I’d say that you fell down the stair, broke your neck.” She looked up and Ariana followed her gaze to where a figure she hadn’t noticed before lay like a crumpled heap of old clothes in the middle of the stairs.

I’ll be moving on, but I wanted to tell you first,” said Cecilia.

Moving on? But where are you going? And what happens to me?”

You’ll figure it out. You always were smarter than you gave yourself credit for.”

And as Ariana stared at her, she started to glow like embers and then turn black and start to dissolve into flecks of ashes which then melted away into nothing, leaving an empty place on the bottom step of the stairs and a faint whiff of smoke.

 

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