The First Friday in February Flikr Flash Fiction Fest (FFFFFFFest)

It’s here! It’s finally here! Let the fffffffun begin!

The rules:

  • Visit Flikr’s Last 7 Days of Interestingness and find an image that inspires you. You can hit that refresh page as often as you’d like until you find one that really speaks to your creative side.
  • Write a flash fiction piece (1000 words or less) based on said inspiration and post it to your own blog. Please try to keep it clean, since I’m a self-proclaimed prude. (Be sure to link back to this post so that your readers can enjoy the other entries, too!)
  • This is important: you may link to the image in your post, but please do not post the picture on your blog unless you have permission from the photographer.
  • Enjoy everyone’s entries and have a fffffffantastic FFFFFFFFriday!

Here’s my FFFFFFFest piece, inspired by this great picture of an abandoned hospital:

I punched him hard. He just laughed and rubbed his arm where my fist connected with his bicep and skipped—skipped—down the hallway like a little kid.

“That wasn’t funny!” I shouted after him, but my anger was half-hearted. My hands were shaking, and much as I hated him for scaring me, it did help to laugh.

Late afternoon sunlight slanted through the grimy windows, bathing John in gold and casting a long shadow on the broken tile floor behind him. I watched him lean into one of the rooms, his hands gripping the doorframe, and marveled at how out of place he looked here: the Golden Boy in the old public health hospital, the place where sick people went to get sicker. He was Adonis. This was hell. The juxtaposition amused me.

“Hey, Jaime,” he called, disappearing into the room. “Come check this out.”

I didn’t really want to check anything out, but I didn’t want to be left alone in the creepy hallway, either, so I hurried to catch up. The room was sparse and institutional. A single cot was pushed against the wall under the small window, and a pedestal sink stood under the clouded mirror of an old medicine cabinet.

“It’s like they just…disappeared,” John said, pointing at the old straight razor that sat on the edge of the sink with a bar of soap. The bed still had its sheets, thin grey things tossed aside like someone had just crawled out of them.

“My dad says they did human testing here during World War two. Really unethical stuff. But there’s no record of any of it, thanks to that ‘mysterious fire’ back in the 70’s,” he said, adding air quotes for emphasis. “Lots of people believe this place is haunted by the ghosts of the victims.”

He noticed the horrified look on my face and laughed again. “Relax, Jaime,” he said, brushing his hand down my arm. “They’re just stories.”

I shivered, not sure whether it was from fear or the fact that he had just touched me. We weren’t officially dating yet, and we seemed to be stuck in that awkward ohmygosghetouchedme phase.

“Oh, please,” I said, trying for humor. “You can’t tell me that you’re not thrilled that I’m terrified right now. It gives you an excuse to be the manly protector. Most guys take girls to see creepy movies. You brought me to the place where the people in creepy movies die.”

“Romantic, isn’t it?” he teased, grabbing my hand and pulling me closer to him. He rested his other hand on the back of my neck and leaned down. When he spoke again, it was a whisper. “And if I’m the manly protector, then I’m allowed to do this.”

This wasn’t exactly the place I had imagined my first kiss would take place, but I wasn’t about to stop him. I was trembling again and I worried that my lips were too dry even though I knew I had just put chapstick on, but his thumb caressed the hollow space behind my ear. I could feel the warmth of his lips so close to mine. Not close enough. Why is he waiting? Am I supposed to do something? Do I let him kiss me or do I—

Something crashed in the hallway and we leapt apart.

“What was that?” I whispered, not even remotely ashamed that I was hiding behind his shoulder now.

“Probably just a draft slamming a door shut,” he said, but I was secretly satisfied to hear a note of doubt in his voice.

There was something in the air, though, a sound I could barely make out above his voice. “Shhh… You hear that?” I asked.

He listened for a moment, then nodded, his lips pursed. “Is someone singing?

The sound grew louder. It definitely was someone singing.

“Could your sister have followed us here?” he asked, taking a tentative step towards the doorway.

“She’s at her violin lesson,” I said, staying as close to his back as I could as he continued forward. He leaned out of the door and I peeked over his shoulder. “Hello?” he called. “Audrey?”

“It’s not her,” I insisted. “She left with my mom before—“

A woman dressed in an old fashioned nurse’s outfit walked across the hallway from one room to another, singing to herself as she checked something off her clipboard.

John swore and almost knocked me over as he stepped suddenly backwards. “That definitely wasn’t your sister,” he said.

“Okay,” I said. “Time to leave. You can play manly protector somewhere significantly less creepy.”

He nodded emphatically. I let him take my hand again and he led me cautiously towards the door. “We have to go back that way,” he whispered, using his free hand to point towards the open double doors at the end of the hall where we had just seen the girl. “It’s the only way out.”

“Just go.”

The light was fading now as the sun sank towards the horizon. The sight of our own shadows following us down the hallway made me quicken my step until I was walking faster than John and practically pulling him along. We had almost reached the doors when I tripped on the edge of a broken tile and fell, scraping the palms of my hands on shattered glass.

“You alright, Jaime?” John asked, real fear in his voice now.

The singing stopped.  I looked past John as he helped me up and saw the nurse standing in the middle of hallway behind him. The last of the sun’s golden rays passed right through her.

“I’m sorry,” she said sweetly. “Visiting hours are over. Doctor Hames says everyone needs to go back to their rooms now.”

I glanced at John.

“We were just leaving,” I said, not quite believing that I was talking to an actual ghost.

“You don’t understand,” she said. “Visiting hours are over.”

And the doors behind us slammed shut.

Can’t wait to read what you all come up with!

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