Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Je Suis Charlie

I talk about writing a lot. I direct you to #Wattpad to read "The Devil Within," but as far as I can remember I've never given you a sample of my writing on my blog.

Today, I participated in a flash fiction contest over on Alissa's Blog. I found out about this flash fiction contest last week, from the #10MinNovelist group I joined. One of the people who beta read my book, "No Turning Back," Suzie Jay (@zeeyone3) was the judge.  I figured I'd give it a go.  And what I realized, in turn, is that there are a whole heck of a lot of people in this world who are way smarter than me: existentialist writers who love Flash Fiction.  And, wow, do I wish I could write half as well as they can.  But, still, it's fun so I thought I'd enter again. Especially, since I won the Special Challenge last week. In Flash Fiction, you're given a prompt, and maybe some special items you have to use in your work.

Well this week, the prompts brought to mind the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack.  As I read the prompt, I envisioned a can of tomato soup, fallen from the desk of a worker, mixing with the blood of the victims from the attack. I thought of the chaos of being there, and of how these people who were just going about their daily lives will never ever be the same. They'll never feel safe again, as long as they live.  And so, I wrote about it. Here's my entry:

No one expects to hear the world implode, atoms splitting, time melting, but here I am. I’m hiding under a desk; a vat of tomato soup comes crashing down from the desk of Stephane, the thick fluid mixing with the blood that is staining the carpet.  I look over to the copier machine, and I see one of my colleagues trying to slide behind the machine, looking for cover in vain. 

I look down at my own shaking hands, peering out through the seams of the desk, as I see the terrorist raising his gun at someone. I can’t see the victim’s face, but I hear his pleading, then his scream, and finally the sound of gunfire: I know someone else has died.  The moment is so slow that I know the hands on the clock must have stopped or melted away: 11:47.  I think about the dirty dishes in my sink that I didn’t have time to wash this morning. I think about my son who will be orphaned if I don’t come home tonight.   I cover my mouth to prevent the sob that wants to escape. I must keep quiet, so the masked men don’t find me. I must keep quiet, so I can go home to my house tonight, and wrap my arms around my son, whisper in his ears, “Je te aime.”

I gaze through the small cracks; from my position under the desk I can see the black boots of a man: the terrorist. He has the gun pointed downwards, and walks by my hiding place.  I crouch down lower, trying to make myself as small as possible, so he doesn’t find me.  The man walks away, and I hear him shouting something to someone else. Who is it? I don’t understand the words they are saying.  I hear their heavy boots stomping on the carpet, but my eye is trained on the tomato soup, mixing into the pile of blood 500 feet from where I’m hiding.

A few minutes pass, but it feels like an eternity.  I start to move a little bit, and I turn, still crouched underneath my desk to see a hand being offered from above.  My whole body is shaking, as I place my fingers into hers, and she pulls me up into an embrace.  We stay there, my co-worker and I, someone I barely know locked together in distress, crying in one another’s arms.  Our worlds will never be the same. 

When we pull apart, I see it’s the girl who was desperately trying to hide behind the copier. 

Tears are streaming down her face, a line of mascara creeping down her cheek, like the blood trail across the floor.

“C’est fini.” 

Check me out on Wattpad. 

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