Today on the blog, I'm introducing a new type of reading material for you—flash fiction! Flash fiction is an extremely brief story form, usually between 300–700 words. It's an incredibly succinct way to tell a story, and an even better story creation exercise for writers. I'll be featuring my original flash fiction works on this blog every once in a while; I hope you enjoy today's selection.
You’d think that, after being dead so long, Gerard would have just left him alone.
Francis sat in the basement, hiding behind boxes of musty books. He thought that, if he sat down there long enough, perhaps Gerard would lose interest and go away.
“He always was a stubborn thing,” he thought coldly.
Upstairs, items shifted as the dead man bumbled upstairs. Francis heard the shatter of his decorative plates falling to the floor—crashing, one after the other.
How Gerard resumed animation baffled him. Once the dead were dead, they ought to stay that way.
Gerard’s rotting feet shuffled across the boards of the kitchen floor, inching closer to the cellar entrance. Francis thought he heard Gerard call out, but the voice was too muddled by his molding throat.
“The least he could do is speak clearly,” Francis said to no one in particular. The books looked at him silently.
Their relationship had not always been so contentious, back when they were both living. In fact, they’d been best friends growing up—playing together after the school bells chimed, spending weekends chasing stray dogs around Gerard’s family farm. They seemed inseparable.
Francis smiled warmly for a moment, and then frowned when Gerard’s green fingers appeared beneath the cellar door.
“Honestly, Gerard, can’t we discuss this like adults? Once you’ve calmed down, I think you’ll realize how silly you’re being,” Francis called out.
But Gerard didn’t consider this. For Gerard was dead and without a functional brain. The worms had gone after that first.
Francis rolled his eyes toward the ceiling and crawled to the farthest corner of the room. He supposed that, even without a soul, Gerard had every right to be upset.
Not even a week after his dear friend’s death, Francis awoke in the bed of the dearly departed’s wife.
“Gerard, I didn’t want poor Elise to be left alone once you had…well, once you had gone,” the shaken man explained, “It wasn’t right, leaving her in that drafty house. Someone had to look after her. So, you see, I think we can agree that this is quite a misunderstanding.” Stuttering, Francis looked toward the cellar door, where moments before, the Corpse tried to pry it open with disintegrating fingers.
The air shifted, moving dust particles along with it.
Francis heard nothing. The hearts of dead men no longer beat.
“Gerard. Come out and talk like a man—enough of this foolishness!”
The dead man looked around the room with one good eye, and upon seeing his traitorous friend skulking in the corner, descended upon him.
Francis closed his eyes, prayed to God, pleading to be saved, but when he opened his eyes again, all he saw was Gerard—poor, dead Gerard—sitting on the floor with him. He sighed, looked at his former friend, and rummaged around until he found a bottle of whiskey.
“Well, if we must be in this pickle together, the least we can do is have a drink—right, old sport?”
And the two ghosts drank in silence, letting their hatred fester unspoken between them.
Hell is full of words left unsaid.
Writer, editor, and storyteller living in the Twin Cities.