The Other Side


© J. Hardy Carroll

This had to be a dream because it had that totally unreal feeling about it. He was walking down a corridor with closed doors on either side, but the one he really wanted was the doorway straight ahead. He could see daylight coming from underneath. It was the way out.

He also couldn’t help but notice the fire extinguisher on the floor to the left of the doorway. They’re usually mounted on the wall.

His footsteps were silent even on the break floor but he could hear the sound of his own breathing so he was alive.

He stopped at the door and pressed his ear against it to listen. It was hot, really hot. He couldn’t hear anything but had to pull his head away.

“In for a penny.” His voice sounded strange to him. Then he gave the metal doorknob a brief touch. Too hot to touch. He had a rag in his back pocket and he used that to protect his hand.

He pushed the door open gently. Flames. A city street outside a cheap motel. He grabbed the extinguisher and created a path. There was a figure just ahead. “Welcome to Hell.”

Then he woke up.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge of February 11th 2018. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for authoring a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 200.

The tale is pretty much taken from all of the visual cues. The image looks unreal but the sepia tone plus the fire extinguisher say there’s something hot. I picked “Hell” but then decided it was all a dream after all because I didn’t sleep well and my dreams were pretty messed up anyway. No research this time, just reactions.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to

20 thoughts on “The Other Side

  1. “Welcome to hell. Here’s your accordion.” Dante had a pretty good idea of what it would be like, but I’ve seen other interpretations. My favorite was that upon entering everyone is issued a 1982 Subaru Brat that they have to drive everywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another look into Hell. That fire extinguisher triggered a lot of ideas. I’m wondering if this a dream or maybe it’s a vision. Might be a good time for him to visit a church before it’s not too late.


  3. Taking the fire extinguisher was a master stroke. Perhaps he will be able to reverse his bad luck. Even reverse his fortunes, as I am sure that the devil is only testing him..


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