Over the past year I’ve tried to keep up with writing after the euphoria of NaNaWriMo ended. Searching for ways to create short, flash fiction stories, I turned to browsing Flickr for random pictures from which to build a story. I’ve referred to these as my “Flickr Stories” though not all were from there (I also used pictures from the Twitter account @ThatsEarth) Most of these were meant for writing practice but after a little touch-up, I thought I’d start sharing them here on my blog. My intent is to post on the 15th of every month a new story inspired by pictures I found interesting. They are fairly short, around 1,000 words per story and won’t take too long to read. When possible, I’ve included the image I used for inspiration. Some of them were deleted as I purged my phone seeking precious memory when updating my phone, but of those that remained, I’ll include them.
Most of the stories are sci-fi/fantasy/horror in nature.
I hope you enjoy the break from serious essays (which I still intend on posting) and I welcome all comments.
For my first offering, I present to you a story from February called “The Barn.” It’s a short story with a nice twist.
The waning light of day held the barn in a wonderful silhouette against the orange and pink and purple sky. The sun barely peeked above the roofline of the grey weathered barn. It sat in the midst of a sea of grain, golden and brown on a late winter day. Off in the distance were tractors and grain silos, quiet now.
Mark approached the barn. He needed to gather seeds stored there for his garden. He’d gotten to starting the plants indoors so when spring finally decided to push its way through winter’s cold grasp, he’d be ready to transplant the seedlings outside and have his vegetables to the local market faster than most others in the county. Some had picked up on his techniques and were doing the same, but he started years ago and had the whole process down to an exacting science.
He marveled at the beautiful colors splashed across the sky. He admired the perfect blends of color in the air as though he stood face to face with a great masterwork of art. He smiled.
Approaching the barn door, he heard a soft rustle inside and hesitated. No one should be inside and the sound gave him pause. He waited, listening. He could hear the wind blowing through the tall dry grass. But nothing from inside the barn. He laughed at his paranoia and pulled the door open. He regretted it immediately.
Staring back at him were yellow and green bright eyes. He couldn’t tell how many creatures there were. Eyes were everywhere. He thought there were more than two per head, maybe three or four but he couldn’t be sure. All of those eyes, some bright yellow and some an eery green stared at him as though he were the interloper and they the resident of the dwelling.
“He,” one of the creatures said. “He the one for seed,” it continued in a broken english, sort of like a child learning to speak.
“He,” they all said in unison. The chorus of voices overwhelmed Mark. He noticed grey bodies moving and writhing, arms flailing as they moved closer to the door…and to him.
“He,” they said again in one voice.
Mark’s eyes bulged out of his head. He lost the ability to scream. His focus remained on the mass of thin grey bodies with their luminescent eyes peering back at him.
“He,” they said, louder than before.
Mark tried to turn away but some unseen force held him there like a statue. Panic built inside of him threatening to overtake control of his mind.
Suddenly one of the creatures stepped from the mass of grey and approached Mark. It was just a bit shorter than Mark and had three eyes, two in the usual location and another on its forehead. Its eyes were a bright glowing green color. It stopped just a few feet in front of Mark and held out one of its hands pointing a long skinny finger with a black fingernail at him.
“He…he makes seed. We need seed. We need get ready.”
Mark felt his crotch go warm and damp. His scream still not voicing itself as though something held it in check. The grey creature took another step closer and placed his hand on Mark’s forehead. The touch felt cold and painful to Mark, but he couldn’t shout or scream. The intense pain burrowing deep in his skull.
“He!” the mass behind the creature shouted loudly. The creature closed its eyes and pulled back his hand, bringing Mark’s brain with it. Mark’s body fell to the ground, a massive hole in his forehead where his brain was extruded.
“He!” shouted the creatures. “He! He! He!”
The creature turned back to the mass of grey bodies, holding Mark’s bloody brain in his hands like an offering. They pushed themselves back opening a pathway for the creature to walk through. It stepped forward until it reached the center of the barn. Two of the strange creatures dug a hole with their black nailed hands in the hard dirt. The creature sniffed the brain, salivating, before placing it gently down in the soil. The other two creatures that dug the hole carefully covered Mark’s brain with the soil.
“He!” those around them shouted. “He! Seed!”
They stood watching the ground, waiting for the seedling to grow.
The weathered grey barn stood in fields of grain, unimportant and unassuming. The winds blew on it like any other day. Shades of blue with white wispy clouds colored the sky above.
The seedling finally sprouted.
“He!” they shouted in unison. “Food,” they said together.