Skip to main content

2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 16

Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to write about boring becoming something exciting.

For today’s prompt, I want you to think about something boring and make it interesting.

Flash Fiction Challenge

Remember: These prompts are just starting points; you have the freedom to go wherever your flash of inspiration takes you.

(Note: If you happen to run into any issues posting, please just send me an e-mail at mrichard@aimmedia.com with the subject line: Flash Fiction Challenge Commenting Issue.)

Here’s my attempt at spicing something up:

Banshee

“Please calm down, ma’am.” The attendant’s expression was placid as a summer sky.

The woman, small and red-faced and gasping for air, sobbed out, “They didn’t wait!”

“Ma’am, they only wait for a few minutes after the departure time,” the attendant said, not unkindly. “There’s another train to New York that leaves in the morning.”

“It’ll be too late by then!” The woman clutched her purse and moaned.

The attendant closed her eyes and breathed deeply.

A security guard watched from a respectable distance. He liked to be noticeable but unimposing in these types of situations. The woman’s post-missed-train meltdown was the most action the station had seen all night. Things were usually quiet after the evening commuter rush, which is how they all preferred it. The only other people currently in this section of the station were a few businessmen, faces lit by the glow of their laptops and cellphones, an extremely pregnant woman who appeared to be taking a nap, and the soft pretzel cart guy, currently busy with eating his merchandise.

The attendant cleared her throat and straightened her spine. “Ma’am—”

The woman let out a horrendous sound. It wasn’t quite a scream, but it was loud and high-pitched and thin. The security guard startled, his hands slapping down over his ears instinctually. The attendant reared back and away from the woman. Her face went pale and she wobbled a bit like she might pass out.

Tipping her head back, the woman made the sound again. The security guard’s stomach clenched hard. The attendant threw up down the front of her navy and white uniform. One of the businessmen shouted, an instinctual plea for it to end, and the clatter of his laptop hitting the floor filtered through the noise.

When the sound came a third time, it was so loud that the attendant crumpled to the floor, a wet towel slipping off the clothesline. It was the sound of her face making contact with the marble floor that spurred the security guard into action.

As quickly as he could, he crossed the space. The only thing he could think of was to make her stop, to make her quiet. As he fumbled with his Taser’s holster, he realized his fingers were going numb, and before he could think too closely about any of it, he pulled his weapon out and slid the safety back.

The closer he got to the woman and her noise, the more it felt like he was swimming through soup. He engaged the electricity, and before she could react to the tiktiktiktik of the Taser, he jammed it against her shoulder.

Her body jerked, that wavering howl choking her as her muscles tensed up. He held the Taser against her, even as her body fell down across the seats. When the Taser automatically stopped, he drew back. He wiped his face and crouched, gasping.

“What was that?” the pretzel guy shouted, voice pitched with hysteria. His body was shaking as hard as if he’d been standing in a snowstorm in his underwear.

The pregnant sobbed and clutched at the large swell of her stomach. After a few moments, one of the businessmen shuffled over to her and patted her shoulder awkwardly.

“What was it?” the pretzel guy wailed again.

No one answered. On the floor, the attendant let out a low groan. She pushed herself onto her back, blinking at the ceiling with vacant eyes.

The security guard took a few steadying breaths and checked that the woman was still breathing. She was. His hand dropped away from her quickly. From somewhere else in the station, he could hear voices rising, confused, alarmed. He pressed the button on his walkie.

“We’re going to need help down in C3,” he gasped.

Static crackled before a voice came through. “On our way. What was that?”

“No idea,” he said. “Better call an ambulance though.”

The woman’s eyes moved under her eyelids slowly. As the guard stared in her face, he thought she looked peaceful. Quiet.

Calm.

Writer's Digest Best Live Streams, Podcasts, and YouTube Channels 2022

Writer's Digest Best Live Streams, Podcasts, and YouTube Channels 2022

Here are the top live streams, podcasts, and YouTube channels as identified in the 24th Annual 101 Best Websites from the May/June 2022 issue of Writer's Digest.

What Is Fan Fiction in Writing?

What Is Fan Fiction in Writing?

You might have heard the term, especially if you’re in online fandoms, but what exactly is fan fiction? Managing Editor Moriah Richard explains.

5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow as a Writer

5 Ways To Use Short Stories To Grow as a Writer

Short story writing can be a gateway to writing your novel—but they’re also fun and worthy stories in their own right. Here, author Dallas Woodburn shares 5 ways to use short stories to grow as a writer.

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Having an Online Presence

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not having an online presence.

Shirlene Obuobi: On Writing From Experience

Shirlene Obuobi: On Writing From Experience

Physician, cartoonist, and author Shirlene Obuobi discusses the writerly advice that led to writing her new coming-of-age novel, On Rotation.

WD Poetic Form Challenge

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Kimo Winner

Learn the winner and Top 10 list for the Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge for the kimo.

8 Things Writers Should Know About Tattoos

8 Things Writers Should Know About Tattoos

Tattoos and their artists can reveal interesting details about your characters and offer historical context. Here, author June Gervais shares 8 things writers should know about tattoos.

Tyler Moss | Reporting Through Lens of Social Justice

Writing Through the Lens of Social Justice

WD Editor-at-Large Tyler Moss makes the case for reporting on issues of social justice in freelance writing—no matter the topic in this article from the July/August 2021 issue of Writer's Digest.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Intentional Trail

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Intentional Trail

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character leave clues for people to find them.