FlashFic: Emptiness

Story by JC Rosen

Photo by Scott Robinson

Dreariness tentacled in through windows and under doors. Chill gusted and loneliness scuffed along with dry leaves on pavement.

~

He shambled inside, not knowing where he wanted to be, what he wanted to have or do. Balled up fast food wrappers with empty cup sculptures littered the room. He dropped into a chair, groaning along with it.

Thin wails sliced the silence and he clenched. As they built to hiccups and shrieks, his face fell into his hands. Squeaks spoke of the wife prying herself from the bed, thumps of plodding across the hall.

Bouncing and screeching in the crib. Swift silence enclosed him in meager comfort, the comfort from a lack of machines grating and babies screaming and wives jabbering. He took shelter in it.

The wife flumphed into a chair. A snap lit the ever present smoke. He tolerated the rasping. Haunting, this quiet. Empty. Wrong. He squinted and turned a look at the wife.

~

Dreariness tentacled in through windows and under doors. Chill gusted and loneliness scuffed along with dry leaves on pavement.

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15 thoughts on “FlashFic: Emptiness

  1. johannaharness August 24, 2012 at 11:20 am Reply

    This is haunting, Jess. So short and packed with meaning.

    Like

    • JC Rosen August 25, 2012 at 5:40 am Reply

      I wasn’t quite sure about it, Johanna. Really appreciate your saying so. Thank you.

      Take care,
      JC

      Like

  2. John Ross Barnes August 24, 2012 at 11:36 am Reply

    Jeez-Louise Jesse, that’s creepy. I LIKE IT.

    Fabulous first and last line. It’s like a poem, unto itself, innit? Descriptives I never would have thought of, even with the help of a thousand monkeys and their keyboards, and it works extremely well. The strangeness, unexpectedness of the words, lends itself to the overall atmosphere.

    It always amazes me – how much you can wring out of so few words. It’s like a compact little lesson: “This – This is how to mold meaning by what you leave out.” Every. Freakin. Time.

    I almost feel guilty to be this enamored of such a dark and desolate little piece. ;-)

    Like

    • JC Rosen August 25, 2012 at 5:50 am Reply

      John, your comment is music to my ears… erm… eyes. Thank you. It was a hard piece to write. Not because of the wording at first, but because of the places I knew I’d have to go. I couldn’t hide in the safety of twisty wording for the first draft. There was nearly guilt here, too. (Is it awful of me to love your last line? I do!)

      Might surprise you this piece is longer than planned. Carving more from it would leave it too spare. Little enough available for carving so not much point. It gives me great pleasure to surprise you with brevity when I can.

      Thanks so much, John. Take care,
      JC

      Like

  3. Carrie-Anne August 25, 2012 at 1:21 am Reply

    I loved how you got such powerful imagery and a foreboding mood into such a short piece.

    Like

    • JC Rosen August 25, 2012 at 5:53 am Reply

      Thanks very much, Carrie-Anne. I tried to look away from the story idea repeatedly, but it insisted on being told in just that manner. I appreciate you letting me know it worked for you.

      Take care,
      JC

      Like

  4. MarcNash (@21stCscribe) August 25, 2012 at 6:31 am Reply

    liked the coming round full-circleness of it

    Like

    • JC Rosen August 25, 2012 at 12:19 pm Reply

      Thank you, Marc. When the first couple of lines came to me, it was clear they held the story in place, beginning and end. I appreciate your feedback on it.

      Take care,
      JC

      Like

  5. Deanna Schrayer August 25, 2012 at 9:37 am Reply

    Jess, this “little” story is packed with BIG emotion, not to mention incredible imagery (great first and last line). I love it!

    Like

    • JC Rosen August 25, 2012 at 12:25 pm Reply

      Hey, Deanna, so nice to see you. Thanks! I knew the story would be short, though it’s longer than I expected. The first and last lines were in place before the story itself. I knew the content of the story, but keeping my head in that place to put it into words hurt. Writing the first draft was tough. It’s gratifying to know I did justice to the story. I’m glad you “enjoyed” it.

      Take care,
      JC

      Like

  6. Steve Green August 25, 2012 at 4:26 pm Reply

    The downbeat side of these peoples lives just screams at you, they need hugs and kisses, and a meaning, and a serious happiness injection. You just know that the poor baby isn’t going to grow up in the best environment.

    This is powerful writing, sparse and leaving the reader to fill in the gaps, but it kicks the reader in the guts too, very hard.

    A brilliantly written short.

    Like

    • JC Rosen August 26, 2012 at 8:50 am Reply

      Thank you for the compliments, Steve. I appreciate your feedback. This story it would be using few words even before I began. I accepted the challenge and while it’s longer than I anticipated, it seems to work. Thanks again.

      Take care,
      JC

      Like

  7. Aaron August 26, 2012 at 1:22 pm Reply

    The color gray is mentioned no where in your piece and yet my mind’s eye painted everything about this couple and their baby entirely in a gray, dismal atmosphere, due to the words that you DID use. Very well done.

    Like

    • JC Rosen August 27, 2012 at 9:41 pm Reply

      I love that the story evoked a sensory element not written into it directly. Thank you, Aaron. The story unfolded in grays in my mind. A few stark black elements, but no white to speak of. I do appreciate your feedback.

      Take care,
      JC

      Like

  8. Back to Center « Girl Meets Word September 30, 2012 at 10:57 am Reply

    [...] Girl Meets Word In Which Our Heroine Shares Her Flash Fiction and Individual Insights HomeAbout ← FlashFic: Emptiness [...]

    Like

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