A good friend of mine recently started 100 Days of Design, where every day they’d sit down and design one UI element for use in either a web or mobile app. Being an occasional bandwagoner, and having been failing miserably with my resolution to keep my blog up to date, I decided to start 100 Days of Flash Fiction using these 100 prompts I found earlier today. While I’ve been writing a lot of longer pieces, the goal with this is to practice writing shorter, more concise pieces of 1,000 words or less (something I tend to be pretty weak at). I’m capping the amount of time I can spend on any given piece to two hours in the morning before work, so I’m not going to spend copious amounts of time editing each and every post, but I think I should still be able to see a marked improvement in my writing by the end of the 100 days—and hopefully come up with some cool ideas.
That being said, here’s Day 1:
Prompt: Time travel, a bookmark, the angel Gabriel.
“Well, shit.” Evan peeked his head out of his car window to take in the surroundings. “I guess this is why you shouldn’t piss off angels.”
Breathing in the unnervingly fresh air, the large man let out a sigh of frustration. He’d been driving down the 121 access road just a few minutes ago, heading home from the airport, when all of a sudden he’d run out of road. Literally. There’d been pavement under his tires one second, and the next he’d been spinning those same tires in some of the thickest mud he’d ever seen. He knew he was still in Texas—the stars looked pretty much the same, and he recognized a small patch of bluebonnets even in the dark—so at least there was that. Flipping on the radio, Evan tweaked the dials until he could get a signal.
“16th of November, 1934. Extracts from a radio broadcast—“ Evan flipped the radio off.
“God damn it.” Evan sucked air through his teeth in frustration again before brushing tussled blonde hair from his eyes and reaching into the glove compartment for his flashlight. “Might as well get moving.”
Leaning against the old Chevy’s door and forcing it open, Evan slid himself into the muddy ground, sinking to his ankles instantly. Holding the flashlight between his teeth, he gripped the sides of the pickup and made his way to the truck’s bed. Hopping into the back, Evan pulled aside the small tarp he’d laid over an old wooden trunk before working the brass combination lock that held it closed.
“You’ve been chosen Evan,” he grumbled around the flashlight while yanking the lock open, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the presence of God. I was sent to speak to you, and bring these glad tidings to you.” Evan kept complaining as he strapped the handgun to his hip and threw the Panic Pack over his shoulder.
“Mighty ‘glad tidings’ you brought with you, Gabriel. Mighty glad.” Satisfied he had everything, Evan slammed the chest closed and jammed the lock back into place. Hopping over the side of the pickup, back into ankle deep mud, Evan took another look at the stars before heading due north. The situation was far from ideal, but he’d been in worse.
At least he had his Pack. There wasn’t much in it in the way of regular supplies. Just two days rations and a liter of fresh water. But that’s not what he’d put the bag together for.
Whistling while he walked, Evan absently ran his fingers along the grip of his pistol. He didn’t think he’d need it, but the weight on his hip was comfortable and it was always better to be prepared.
Reckoning he’d gone far enough, Evan tossed the Pack down before stooping to pulling a few weeds. The ground didn’t need to be bare, but it did need to be relatively kept. Finding a stick sturdy enough for the job, Evan drew a quick circle twice as wide as he was tall. Then, he stepped outside it and just as easily inscribed a five-pointed star.
“That’s a start,” Evan nodded to himself before reaching into the bag and pulling out everything else he’d need. It wasn’t much. At least not for this particular working.
Starting with the tip pointing due north, Evan went around the circle counter clockwise, placing a candle at every vertex. Following the same route with an old Zippo, he lit each candle in turn. Digging into the backpack one more time, he pulled out an old book and flipped through it familiarly until he found what he was looking for. Pulling the half a bookmark from its home, he placed it gingerly in the center of the circle. He wanted to keep it clean—it was old and worn enough as it was—but he didn’t dare toss anything extra into the circle. Eighty-two years was a long time to reach through.
Standing up, Evan rolled up his sleeves, before closing his eyes and placing his hand palms down over the circle. He cleared his throat before letting out the air in his lungs as a low hiss. His bare arms flashed red for a moment. Neat lines, ever-changing like a geometric kaleidoscope, ran from his fingertips, up past his wrists, and disappeared under his sleeves. Sucking in another breath of air through clenched teeth, he sighed it out easily, causing the lines on his arms to pulsate for a moment before glowing twice as bright. Snapping with both hands, Evan opened his eyes and looked down into the circle to examine his handiwork.
The lights were off at both his house and the neighbors. A small blessing. But the portal’s position was far from ideal. “Hopefully, no one’s a light sleeper,” Evan mused, before making his way back behind his truck, and resting both palms against the back bumper. Closing his eyes and sucking in air as he had before, red lines cascaded up from his fingertips a second time as he slowly pushed the Chevy out of its mud filled prison.
Taking a moment to catch his breath, Evan winced at the pain in his arms and legs. Even with the marks, some workings still took quite the toll. Running his fingers along the grip of his gun one more time, Evan climbed into the truck before thundering it back to life.
Not allowing himself any second thoughts, Evan slammed his foot on the gas, shooting the old truck forward as fast as it could manage. Without notice, the sound of the tires tearing through the open field quickly changed into the sound of whistling wind. Evan counted down from three quickly in his head. The second he reached zero, he heard and felt his pickup slam through the roof of his garage and into the pavement that held the second half of his bookmark.
Collecting himself, Evan peaked up at the hole in his roof. “I hate Angels.”