The Other Side

corridor

© 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 InLinkz.com.

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I Can Never Dream About Home

brain scans

Brain scan images found at PositiveMed.com

“I’m sorry but I don’t see much hope, Kathy.”

She turned from the neurologist to look down at her husband. He’d been in a coma for five weeks now following the car accident and still wasn’t showing any signs of brain activity. The machines and drugs kept his lungs breathing and his heart beating, but as much as she didn’t want to believe it, her husband of thirty-five years died when the garbage truck ran a stop sign and crushed the driver’s side of his car.

“I just need a minute alone with him, Doctor Schiavo.”

“Sure, I understand. I’ll be right outside.”

Kathy heard the door close behind her. Except for the usual medical monitor noises the room was silent. She was alone. It was a horrible decision to have to make. Their four children, spouses (three out of four had married and Lizzie had just gotten engaged) and eight grandchildren were right outside. How could she take their Daddy and Grandpa away from them?

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Saving One

St Paul's

St Paul’s Cathedral in London during the Blitz 1940

The dark-haired woman with the shimmering gown sighed. He hadn’t noticed that she was breathing before. “This is only the beginning. There are a great many things you will need to learn.”

“Such as?”

“Such as why you left four people trapped in a collapsed building with a bomb about to detonate?”

“I forgot about them. How could I…?”

Then he woke up. There was about to be an explosion. He could only save one of them.

Sunday, 8 September 1940 – London

A building had collapsed on them. Everyone who had taken shelter in here from the bombing had died except for those four, a man, a woman, and two children. Suddenly another man was standing in the center of what was left of the basement.

“Where…?”

It was dark, night but he could see outside through holes in the walls above them. There were explosions, the sound of thunder, the ground repeatedly shook. The black air was shattered by bright flashes of destruction. The drone of aircraft engines acted as background noise.

Jonathan Cypher saw five important things, a man, a woman, a little boy, an even younger girl, and a bomb. It had a Nazi insignia on it. Was it ticking?

“Sir, please help. We’re trapped here.” The man’s legs were buried under rubble. The woman, probably his wife, was unconscious with a head wound. The two children were clutching at her and crying hysterically.

“There’s about to be an explosion. You can only save one of them but please be careful whose life you save.”

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I is an Illusion

invisible

The Invisible Man

Jonathan wandered through the ruins, awkwardly stepping over stone debris in what was left of a large city. It looked like Los Angeles but he wasn’t sure. The city was old. It reminded him of when he was a kid, but he didn’t know why.

“What am I doing here? Where is everybody?”

The air was full of dust or soot. It gave everything a yellowish or brownish tinge, like an old sepia tone photo. Jonathan, at least he thought that was his name, came to a part of the sidewalk that was mostly flat covered with gravel rather than stone blocks. He was near an intersection.

Then he saw someone else. Jonathan almost called out but then stopped. Something about the other man made him feel scared. The man had his back to him. He was wearing a brown fedora and tan rain coat, even though it was absolutely dry. Then the man turned around.

He had no face.

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Dreamless

coma

Image: From the 2012 TV Miniseries Coma

“Why is it so hard to wake up?”

“Because I don’t want you to wake up.”

“No, I’ve got to get out of bed. I can’t be late for work.”

“You are a lot more late for work than you think.”

“How do you know? Who are you? Why can’t I open my eyes?”

“Because I’m a Dream Eater and as soon as you stop resisting, I’m going to keep on eating yours.”

“What are you talking about?”

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