Every Friday, Chuck Wendig issues a flash fiction challenge on his blog Terribleminds. This weeks challenge is Song Shuffle Stories. I posted my entry on my LJ blog, but I thought you might want to see it too.
(My song for the challenge is “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” by Death Cab For Cutie.)
This had to be a dream. The deep purple color of the sky, the way the trees swayed without the barest whisper of a breeze, the crunch beneath my feet as I walked along the deserted lane: they had to be a figment of my imagination. Some sick, twisted message from my psyche that I really was as crazy as they told me.
“You’re not crazy,” the surrounding gloom told me, and I was comforted.
“Where am I?” I spoke to no one in particular and continued my trek down the endless road.
“You know where you are.” And instantly I did, though I had never been here, not really, not in my waking life. But I knew this place like I knew my own home.
A cardinal stared at me from his perch on a boulder. His bright red plumage was the color of drying blood in the indigo light.
“That sounds like a bad poem.” He shook his head at me. I’m sure he would have tsk, tsk’d at me if he had teeth.
“Okay.” I stopped in the road and faced him. “His brilliant color was shrouded by the light of dusk.”
“Brilliant? Shrouded? Dusk? Say what you mean, child,” he said with a disgusted grunt and took to the sky. He circled my head twice before moving off toward the horizon.
“You flew off!” I yelled after him with a satisfied smile on my face.
“Better,” said the darkness.
I walked on and watched the last tendrils of the sun’s rays fade below the horizon.
I walked on, and the sun set before me.
“What am I doing here?”
“Learning, hopefully. Getting exercise, perhaps. Don’t you like walking at night?”
“No,” I said. A shiver snaked down my spine and the hair on the back of my neck stood up.
“Are you frightened?”
The world went black around me. I was standing on nothing in the middle of an impenetrable darkness. Noises came at me from all sides: a soft swooshing to my right, a far-off screech behind me, a crunch somewhere to my left. In my terror they sounded like so many beasts ready to devour me. I clapped my hands over my ears and closed my eyes tight.
“Look,” the voice barked. “Look at the things you fear.”
I opened my eyes to a bright room, my kitchen, with its little white stove and calico curtains fluttering in the morning breeze that came through the open window.
I opened my eyes. I was standing in my kitchen. The morning sun was streaming through the window.
“Why was I so afraid?”
The voice didn’t answer me.