Monday, February 18, 2013

Flash Fiction by Kristina England

The Distance You Can Traverse In A Minute

Gary woke to snow.  He was fine with snow, but he was hoping for fire.

"It just goes to show, the weathermen never get it right," he said, stretching and shaking off the piles that had collected in the folds of his body.

He dressed in shorts, scanned the room for a shirt.

"Of course not."

He opened the front door.  The void looked dense this morning.  He closed the door and walked into the kitchen.  He learned a long time ago not to open the fridge or the oven.  He sat down and thumped a finger agains the table.

"What to do... what to do..."

Yesterday, he walked back and forth from the front wall to the back wall for 1,440 minutes.  The day before, he had walked in circles around the kitchen table.

Movement always helped.  He knew what would happen if he sat at the kitchen table for 1,440 minutes.  He would start counting seconds or the strands of hair on his head.  He already knew he had 5,000 strands (God had not been good to him in the hair department).

Gary stood up and walked back to the front door.  He opened it and looked around.  He was tempted to step outside.  What would be there?  Who would be there?  He closed the door again.

What if there was no one out there?

What if even the weathermen couldn't be found?

He listened for their voices.  The chattering broke through the void around him.

"50% chance we'll have 20 to 1,000 meteorites hit our houses today... The void is about 50% desner than it was yesterday... the snow isn't really snow... it's tons and tons of dandruff..."

He looked down at his shirt and touched a white fleck.  It melted on his finger.

"Oh, the boys are getting crazier..."

He sat back and let the void re-enter his head.

He smiled, remembering his wife.  It's too bad he cheated on her.  She really did love him.  He debated again whether she was somewhere in the void.  Would God have forgiven her for suffocating him?  He shrugged.  Did it matter?

He gnawed on his finger, pulled at the wedding ring.  Nope, melded to the skin.

He went back to the door, opened it, looked at the void.

He was done with counting minutes.  The minutes of a day were always the same.

He was done listening to the weathermen.  They were idiots.

He was done walking in circles, sitting down, or waking up covered in cockroaches.

He was done thinking about why the books always said there would be fire.  He'd never even seen a candle.

Hell, he was done with it all.

Gary stepped outside and closed the door behind him.  He counted less than a minute before the void began to change.

Kristina England resides in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her writing is published or forthcoming in Gargoyle, Haibun Today, Streetcake, and other journals. Visit for more on her writing.

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