For today’s prompt, I want you to think about something boring and make it interesting.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Flash Fiction Challenge Commenting Issue.)
Here’s my attempt at spicing something up:
“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.