Photo and effects by Lynn Kelley
Last Friday Debra Kristi’s blog featured a flash fiction story she wrote, inspired by weird, Twilight Zone ceramic critters in her hotel room. She challenged others to write a flash fiction piece based on one of the photos in the post. Considering my squirrelly personality, the picture of the squirrels pulled me in, and I gave it a shot.
When I emailed “Winner” to Debra, she commented that my story is a good one for Friday the 13th. How about that? I didn’t realize it’s the 13th! Yikes!
Let me warn you that flash fiction isn’t my forte. I found this quite challenging. So here goes:
Flora won a solitary getaway at the prestigious Pine Kliff Resort, famous for its rim-of-the-world panorama.
“What kind of screwy contest awards a trip for one?” Hubby Chet balked at holding down the fort of whiny kids and critters so her frayed nerves could mend. “Frayed nerves, frayed nerves,” echoed through his brain. He finally caved in before she drove him nuts.
That Saturday, Flora grinned before entering the penthouse suite for some alone time. Once inside, her eyes twitched to adjust to shadowy fixtures. A chandelier with crystal pinecone bulbs blinked like a strobe light, illuminating a red velvet comforter, polished ebony floor, and golden faux leather sofa.
She spotted a pair of ceramic squirrels on a Manzanita coffee table. Acorns and peanuts encircled them. Cheesy.
Stepping toward the window to raise the blackout shades, floor planks shifted under her like a carnival funhouse. Earthquake!
Before she could duck, another jolt tossed her right smack onto her tailbone. Dazed and panting, she trembled as a drumroll thundered, accompanied by screaming whistles. Laser beams from the chandelier flickered like lightning as the room quaked and walls split.
Smoke and pine fumes poured in. Flora coughed and pulled her sweater over her nose. Sharp pains stabbed her forehead. The temperature dropped below zero. Shivering, she curled into a fetal position. I’m gonna die here.
Chet kissed Flora’s head as she spoke gibberish on a gurney at Mercy General. “Will she recover?”
Zane Fitch, game show host, shrugged. “It’s nice if they heal before their episode airs in six months, but no guarantees.”
“Why didn’t she tell me?”
“Didn’t remember. Her memory was erased when she signed the waiver.” He patted Chet’s shoulder. “Don’t look so glum. Flora not only won $500,000, but she’ll surely become a Virtual Lobotomy favorite.”