Flash Fiction: 90 Seconds

Photo by Aleathia Drehmer

They ducked into the stoop of the closed cafe a second before the sky opened up with the wrath of an unseen god. The ferocity of the thunder rattled Cynthia’s bones. Next to her, George didn’t seem phased in the slightest, having spent a lifetime amidst the cornfields of Iowa. Storms there meant life and food on the table. He never gave them a regretful thought.

The two were practically strangers and tucked in close, elbow to elbow. They’d “talked” for months through various forms of social media. Cynthia regretted this was the only way people like to meet anymore and longed for the bygone times when their awkwardness fleshed out in person. It was easier to weed out the weirdos that way. 

Electronically, the two had investigated each other. They checked off lists and probabilities weighed before deciding to appear in human form. They both were more gregarious and brave through the glowing screens in front of their noses. They could be themselves without fear of rejection or ridicule, however, they hadn’t planned on reality.

Cynthia found George handsome and rugged, but in person his charm was lacking and his conversation skills stunted. She spent much of the dinner driving their exchanges and waited for him to lead, just once. It made her feel like she was boring and that whatever interest he’d had in her approximation was squandered sitting across from him.

Huddled under the awning, their bodies were close, but with so much silence between their mouths. 

***

When George leaned over to whisper in Cynthia’s ear he felt his heart rip out of his chest onto the sidewalk with the rain washing away his blood and courage. He tried to find a shadow of his online bravado to tell her how much he loved listening to her speak, watching her mouth form words, and the way she bit her bottom lip when she was nervous. George liked her, a lot. He choked on his words as his mind went blank. Now, he was just a weirdo breathing heavy in her ear.

***

Cynthia felt something strange tickling her ear and turned her head quick. Almost in slow motion her skull collided with George’s nose with a deafening crack, followed by blood rushing down his clean white Oxford shirt. 

“Oh, god. Oh, I’m so sorry,” Cynthia said, trying to stop the hemorrhage.

He clutched his nose, embarrassed. Great, she thought, I mortally wounded him. There goes that.

Flash Fiction: Stitched Together

Photo by Aleathia Drehmer

Stitched Together

“Do you ever have those days when you feel so disconnected you aren’t sure you exist?” asked Sound.

“But you do exist, because I see you sitting there. I hear your voice. I can reach out and smack your pouty mouth if I want to,” said Fury.

Sound sighed. “I know I exist, you asshole… I’m just saying that sensation of utter despair and complete invisibility gives the impression of non-existence.”

“How do you know you exist?” Fury asked.  

He challenged her to explain the things in the world that couldn’t be captured. He made her furious for sure and smiled knowing he was aptly named.

“Didn’t you just confirm my existence a few minutes ago?  Why do I have to prove it to you if you have already proved it to yourself?”

The space between them filled with an electric and violent silence. The conversation went nowhere fast. Each of them lived their lives as separate sides of a coin. Neither of their faces could be seen at the same time unless the universe stood on its head.  

Sound loved her brother just as much as she hated him. She knew Fury felt the same about her, but what were twins supposed to do with that indelible mark? That gossamer seam stitched them together whether they liked it or not.

“You have to prove it because I know you love the musicality of your own voice.  Why do you think we are having this conversation in the first place?”

“Fury, you ask too many questions.”

“Sound, you always reply.”