30 January, 2015

Flash Fiction: White Sheet

After I wrote the housekeeping post, I set up my writing itinerary on the fly, first spewed out on Twitter but organized on Ello. This week's flash fiction was prompted by the blizzard that swept through New England.  Enjoy!

    Peter moved the curtains aside, watching the snow fall down as he tied up each side. He could only see the trees and headlines that lined up his street. The white stuff covered everything else. This was not how he wanted the day to go. He resented being cooped up in his apartment where his roommates left him with a sink covered in dishes—some of them covered with yesterday’s spaghetti breakfast—and dish rags with a scent that reminded Peter of his high school’s locker room.

    If only he could escape this cage, run through the streets and hide in the nearby cafĂ© with the small booth in the corner. No. They would spot him if someone else called the seat home. Maybe that small house on the outskirts with the bronze statue of three men leaning on vintage Alfa Romeo. The owner was generous enough to let him stay out in the den when Peter first arrived while he looked for apartments downtown. That would work. They never went up there anyway, even when they recover from their hangovers. Peter thought he could hike back home from that place.

    But not today. The snow continued to fall faster in one diagonal white sheet. Peter could barely see the nearby condos. He went to the kitchen and started to place the dishes in the dishwasher. Then, he tossed the rags in the trash and tied it up. The smell ran away with it. Maybe today wouldn’t be so bad. After all, they were out at a music festival for the weekend. Peter switched on the television to a local news bulletin that quickly switched over to a daytime soap. He changed it to a football game, then another soap, then public access, Walking Dead

    Peter switched it off and looked at his phone. Nothing. Not from Duncan back home, or even Helen who penned a dinner date with him, but for who knows when now. He considered sending a text to reschedule it, but put his phone away instead. He heard the wind howl and shrill, and headed down to the complex’s foyer.

    The foyer was empty aside from Peter who decided to go through his mailbox. Most of the envelopes had last night’s timestamp, with the exception of a small postcard. The front had a picture of a bunch of fists, palms forward, with the phrase “Power to the People” underneath them and a huge U hanging from above. Peter flipped the postcard and gasped. There was today’s date in red ink with just one message beneath it, “They’ve blown your cover…run! Will rendezvous outside. That place.”

    Something snapped back into Peter’s mind. Them. The reason why he came here in the first place. The Union wanted him to go undercover and investigate them. Only problem was, he did not know who they were. The Union just gave him a small fortune cookie message taped to the sole of a stiletto heel with some latitude and longitude coordinates.

    Peter dropped his mail on the floor and ran towards the stairs. He jumped over the chains leading down, dashing into the basement corridor. He just bolted down the hallway, only glancing at the labels. He stopped at a door and tried to swing it open, but to no avail. Then another, and another…

    He collapsed on the ground, butt first, near a corner. There was a small slit at the top of the wall—a window completely covered in snow—with a small fifty-watt bulb just below, slowly fizzing out. Peter thought he could hear footsteps, muffled from afar. Maybe outside. Then a creak nearby. Peter tried to keep his eyes open, peering where the squeak came from. He heard the footsteps come closer and closer then…nothing.

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