Falling Free: Short Story

So at last, a short story! It’s been a while since I’ve posted one, primarily because most places I submit to don’t accept work that has been published, even if it’s on a blog. However, at just over 1000 words, Falling Free is shorter than the requirements of those same magazines and so seems like a perfect candidate to (hopefully) entertain you.

A quick note: this story was intended to be the inspiration for a graphic project, which is why it is so heavy on visuals and tone. Thanks for reading, and please let me know what you think below. 🙂 Please enjoy.

Falling Free

From "Falling Man" at www.davidreviews.com

From “Falling Man” at http://www.davidreviews.com

I am nearly dead from running. Stone slaps the soles of my feet, the pitter-patters echoing and filling the surrounding void. A barren land, it’s a world of grey mountains on the left, black mountains on the right; a slate-grey sky above. Not a tree, or shrub, or blade of grass anywhere. White clouds straggle across the sky. Or are they ghosts? I can’t tell.

I hear him behind me, the madman who drove me to this place. Once across the threshold, I’d tried to block him out, had thrown the locks and bars in place. But he is stronger than me, smarter, too. I’d jumped aside and hit the road running just as the door burst open and the first traces of his sickness swept into the void. That smell—the sickness—I know it well.

I hear him beating the path. He’s furious and fast. He comes on with ease, as though a native of this world and immune to the pain burning my torn-up feet; not afraid of this land with no roads or any living thing. Just greyness and stone. And…

Wait, there’s something up ahead.

Skidding, I change course, take the corner around a boulder. I head for whatever it is.

Maybe a way out?

He’s angry. Bellowing, he too rounds the corner, spitting rocks in his wake as he takes the hairpin turn. I sense his eyes zero in on me. He’s coming.

The ground suddenly gives way to a valley. I speed down the slope, putting my hand down when I almost tumble to the bottom where a collection of rocks wait to tear me to shreds. Once over them, I scale the other side. Streaks of blood stain the surface. Hands shredded, knees bleeding, it doesn’t matter. I can’t let that madman catch me.

I haul myself over the edge. Safe in the other side, but don’t know for how long. I pause to catch my breath. The dark spot in the distance is closer. Nothing between me and it.

“Hello, my name is Constance. Do you want to play?”

It’s a little girl about seven years old. She wears a pink dress, and her wavy brown hair is tied back with a white bow. She smiles. I’m shaken by her innocence. A single white light in this darkening grey world. She holds out a hand. I take it.

What’s a kid doing out here alone? I look around but there’s not another living soul anywhere.

“Uh…where’s your mother?”

Constance crumples to the ground. Blood pools on her candy-pink dress. She coughs once, smiles again, and then is gone. Cackling trickles into my head.

It’s the madman.

He always ruins whatever he touches.

I take off, heading for the spot in the distance. The closer I draw to it, the more the world changes. Ghosts spring out of the ground, each one bright and bursting with life and hope like the girl, caricatures of ‘the good life’:  a mother dressed in a blue and white dress and a flowery apron holding her baby. Her name, Aviva, and the baby, Elan. But upon taking my hand, they too collapse having succumbed to scarlet blotches spreading like weeds across their chests. Others, Hope and Mercy, two frolicking puppies, also fall to jagged, red polka dots. Each death triggers the maniac’s laughter. It pricks the inside of my head like a million fingers running nails across a blackboard. It’s too much. I’ll crack.

I fear…

…he’s changing me…

…making me like him.

Other ghosts appear, this time familiars. Friends, family, colleagues. Girlfriends.

‘Get your lazy ass off the couch and get a job!’

I remember that one:  Lucy. My last and greatest love. But like the madman, I have a knack for drawing out the worst in those around me. To this day, I doubt she knew that her presence had kept the Darkness at bay, or how much thicker and deeper it became after she left. I’d tried to block it out. It still took everything I’d had not go mad. And now, here she was in my world of grey, still hateful, still angry. Yelling.

Like the Madman. He screams at my back, his fury pushing me towards the quickly approaching spot. The black patch looms–yawning like an open mouth. Now I don’t want to go. I want to run back to the valley, through the mountains, all the way to the exploded door and, finally, into the world of color and caricature beyond.

Just what am I doing here?

At the spot, the madman pulls back. I drop to my hands and knees. His laughter fills my head; it’s rapid, hitting hard like a Gatling gun. The stone is cold under my hands, chilling me like I’m kneeling on an ice rink. Gasping and hacking, I can barely breathe.

God, I’m utterly broken.

The chasm’s on my right. The madman on my left. He stands so tall I can’t see his face.

He squats. I can’t look at him. Shaking takes over my arms, then my torso and, finally my legs. He leans in so his lips are against my ear.

“I never meant to catch you,” he says.

“Wh-what?” I lick my lips. Maybe I can talk my way out. “What do you want?”

He stands. Puts his hands in his pockets. Sighs.

“No!” I’m screaming now. “I don’t want to—“

“Die.”

He nudges me with the tip of his foot.

I fall.

Am struck by the fact that now there’s no need to run. No need for strife.

No Darkness trying to drive me insane.

I realize

The madman did me a favor.

Crazed,

He did the thing I could not.

I am free.

Falling

But falling free.

I laugh, only a little surprised by the rising notes—bordering hysteria.

I laugh harder, the sound becoming familiar, as though it had been hiding so deeply and for so long within me that I’d forgotten it was even there. Until the madness pried it loose, setting free a raging, powerful beast.

I want to see the face of my killer.

I look up

As I fall down.

Through the gathering mists

The haze of oncoming unconsciousness opening the door to

The Inevitable.

The madman looks down.

Our eyes meet.

I smile in recognition.

For that man on top

Who watches me as I fall down;

The one who pushed me over the edge

Is me.

Copyright@ 2015 by Dyane Forde

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Butterfly: New Short (Short) Story

Who said Flash (super short) fiction was easy??!! lol 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a story, mostly because I decided to take a break from smaller projects as I am actively writing the last book in my fantasy trilogy. But I felt I needed a change of pace and to look at subject matter other than what’s going on in the world of my fantasy novel. What follows is a reduced version of a full length story idea I’ve been toying with in my head for a while but just never had time to write. I decided to write a short version so that it can exist somewhere other than my imagination. I thought, ‘Well, it’ll be short so it won’t take so much time’. Mercy! I forgot how challenging this is. People, never underestimate how hard it is to write short fiction! For the time it took to write, revise and edit, I’m kinda pissed that it only amounts to 446 words! lol But here it is. Let me know what you think. 🙂

Butterfly

It’d been a while since the red cloud had blossomed under the bathroom door and pooled into a morbid patch on the worn hardwood. When I came in from school, Aunt Augusta had screeched from the cramped kitchen and come barrelling down the hall with a cloth in hand. Its white tail fluttered in the stale apartment air. Unsullied and bleached to purest perfection, this was what she used to sop up mother’s mess.

That stain will never come out.

Everyone watches as I stand in front of the closed door; I couldn’t yet move. The gelling pool rests inches from the tops of my scuffed sneakers, and I think it odd that it’s shape resembles a butterfly. Suddenly, it doesn’t seem so scary or gross only the family can’t see what I do. Stricken, they continue to murmur amongst themselves.

“She shouldn’t be there!”

“For God’s sake, someone take her away!”

But no one moves. No one dares touch me. I may be poisoned, not all there. Crazy, like her.

I’ve always known what they thought of my mother. Afraid of ‘a sickness’ they didn’t understand, they’d shunned us my whole life. Maybe that fear is what ate away at her. It took pink, yellow and sometimes blue pills to numb it away followed by bottles of clear and amber gross-smelling ‘water’. Then she would sleep, sleep, sleep to forget, forget, forget and when she couldn’t do either, she’d cry. She’d often talked about going away and leaving it all behind. Until today I believed she planned to take me with her.

I understood then that kids, even older ones like me, know nothing. And because of it we believe anything.

Somehow, I’d found my way to the living room. The sun’s rays are warm and heavy in the window seat, like a blanket. Buddy is in my lap, and my fingers play absently with his fuzzy arms and legs and then his shiny black, button eyes. His blank stare is kind. I hug him tight and whisper ‘thank you’ into his deaf ear because his is a look I can stand.

I look beyond the window pane and watch as white, puffy clouds trail across the sky. They are so far away; too distant to touch.

She’d left me to fend for myself. But if I was honest with myself, I’d have to say mother’d abandoned me long, long ago. I wonder if she’d sat in this very window seat and seen in the sky the hope I now see: salvation in the distance, hidden by massive, fluffy cotton balls.

So pretty…

So pure.

Maybe…

Maybe that’s what had given her the strength to shed her skin and fly.

Copyright@ 2014 by Dyane Forde

Mad Mac — By: Dyane Forde

Check out this story whose prompt was provided by David Kent. My goal was to see what kind of story I could come up with without planning, which is the complete opposite to how David approaches his. So this is what flowed from my fingers after one hour and one edit (in order to keep the story as true to its original form as possible–pride and perfection be damned!)

Mad Mac — Quick Story by Dyane Forde.

My Face-Flash Fiction

I wrote this mini-story in support of a friend who’s going through a hard time. It’s inspired by the following prompt:

The Prompt
Your character wants to find the source of a strange noise they can hear. Tell the story of how they find out what that sound is…



MY FACE


I can hear it running around inside my head. An incessant scratching. Or raking. Like fingernails over a blackboard. Shouting andscreaming don’t drown it out; it just gets louder, swallowing my voice. Beating my head with my hands can’t shake it out; they are sore from trying.

And then I look down. Clumps of hair rain down to the black and white bathroom floor from between my fingers.

The noise is a drone. It squeezes out thought and reason.

I am afraid.

Something shatters. Flecks of reflected silver splash against the wall. I’ve broken the mirror. Half a refracted face looks back at me. My face.

Mine?

The phone is in my hand. A warm voice pours out of the receiver. ‘Hello?’

‘Mom!’ I’m shouting but I can’t stop. ‘I-I–’ The sound blares, a mushroom-cloud of toxic thought exploding in my head. My fingers spasm but I manage to cling to the phone. ‘It’s happening!’

Again, warmth floods towards me, poking a tiny hole in the darkness. ‘Stay where you are. Don’t move. I’m coming.’

The phone beeps when I shut it off. I see the red-tinted broken pieces of mirror lying beside me on the floor. I close my eyes, stick my fingers in my ears and wait.

D. Forde (May 2013)