the latest competition on shortbread is a flash fiction story based on a predetermined “first line ”
“It was the light that woke him, but it was terror that kept him awake.”
It is amazing how many different interpretations have been put on that one line, with over 40 entries this is one of the biggest lists of Flash Fiction I remember.
One of mine follows but why not pop over there and have a look at some of the others. A couple of my particular favourites were –
One of mine is
It was the light that woke him, but it was terror that kept him awake. In truth it was astounding he had slept at all. Possibly loss of blood he thought, or shock taking him away, not really sleep. He moved tentatively, the pain in his legs was indescribable and he gasped as a wave of nausea hit him.
When he was able to focus again he saw that the light was still there, a tiny beam wavering and blinking in the dust, now and again it disappeared and then popped back into his line of vision. He tried to concentrate his addled mind, was it daylight, torchlight, starlight even, no it was too bright for that. He attempted to raise his head, to get a clearer view. There was a shutter as more stones and debris cascaded from all around him, he brushed his face free of it and sank back.
The shivering seemed to have stopped, he was relieved at that. The teeth chattering shudders had rolled through his body, violent tremors that had taken the pain in his legs up to another exquisite level and left his eyes streaming. Uncontrolled and uncontrollable, they had been a force of nature just like the one that had brought him here, buried in the mound of rubble which had been his home, and he had given in to them. Now though he just felt immeasurably weary.
The light was closer, he believed it was, a little brighter, perhaps a little bigger. He listened, ears straining, maybe he could hear voices, or possibly only the settling of the rubble, or delirium or even wishful thinking. A great gust of a sigh swept from his chest. He had no idea how long it had been since the collapse and, inexplicably, he found he didn’t really care anymore, the light wavered and flickered, he watched it, tried to focus but darkness swept in again.
Reality dragged him back to his world of pain and fear, the light had gone, was it ever there at all? Now he couldn’t decide. “Hello.” He hadn’t shouted before, why was that? “Hello. Help me, Is there anyone there?” He listened, there was nothing, the drip of water from a broken pipe, the terrifying crack of timber now and again and the shushing of small rubble trickling into gaps here and there. “Hello, is anyone there?”
Above his head a tiny crack appeared, a sliver of brightness, just a gleam of hope, his heart leapt in his chest. The crack widened, dust and grit fell onto his face, “Sorry mate, close your eyes, keep em closed. Are you hurt? Don’t worry we’re gonna get you out.”
He couldn’t answer, his throat had closed, tears flooded across his cheeks, and he felt the sobs of relief building. He knew there was going to be pain, he was afraid about the damage to his body, but now he was no longer alone and, for the moment, it was enough.
You can read without joining but to vote you have to be a member – it’s free, quick and easy and there are thousands of free stories to read or audio stories to listen to either streaming or downloaded.