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2022 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 21

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 has your character facing their fears.

One more week! We are in the home stretch—how are you feeling?

Flash Fiction Challenge

It's always really nerve-wracking for me to share my work—call it leftover stage frights from workshop roundtables—but as we're facing down our last week of this year's flash challenge, I'm super proud of all of us who have been writing and sharing together here on the site and elsewhere!

For today’s prompt, write about someone facing a fear.

Remember: As mentioned yesterday, 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 facing a fear:

Big Change

Lacey had every spice container out of the cabinet and on the counters when Hen walked through the door.

“Um,” Hen said, putting her work bag on the dining room table.

“It looks like a mess, but I’ve actually almost got it all organized,” Lacey said, her head halfway in the cabinet.

“I wasn’t aware they needed to be organized,” Hen said gently.

Lacey scoffed and shuffled around three different types of salt. Hen took a seat at the table, head propped on a fist, and watched her wife for a few moments.

“Would you…like some help?” Hen asked.

“No. But, um, maybe we should order in tonight? I didn’t think about dinner when I started this, and you know I won’t be able to relax until it’s done,” Lacey said.

Hen laughed. “Sure, sure. Pizza? I think that Thai place we like is still—”

“I want to quit my job.”

Hen blinked. Shut her mouth. Took a breath. Lacey’s body was still turned away from her, but she could see the tension in her shoulders, the anxious rattling sound of a jar in her hands. Hen cleared her throat. “What?”

“I hate it there, Hen, they don’t respect me at all. And all of a sudden, they’re hiring all these young people who give me these looks whenever I say anything, like I haven’t been in this field for twenty years, like I don’t know what I’m talking about!” Lacey shoved some jars into the cabinet. “And I can just see it, you know, the writing on the wall. They convinced Leonard to take early retirement last week, and I can just feel upper management breathing down my neck like—”

“Okay.” Hen stood and crossed the room. She put her hand gently between Lacey’s shoulders and rubbed some of the tension out. “Okay. I hear you. I know you’ve been miserable there.”

“Absolutely miserable,” Lacey agreed, miserably.

“And this is something you’ve obviously been thinking about.”

Lacey nodded.

“So, let’s figure it out. We got some savings, you can take a break or job hunt or whatever.” Hen tugged Lacey until she turned around and slumped into Hen’s arms.

“I think I want to go back to school,” Lacey grumbled. “Is that insane? I’m old.”

“Hey! I’m two years older than you.” Hen chuckled and bumped her temple against Lacey’s. “And who ever said there’s a deadline on learning?”

Lacey was quiet while Hen rocked them gently back and forth. She relaxed a little more and let out a hot gust of air against Hen’s collarbone.

“I thought I’d be, like, done at this age. Settled. Riding that last wave to retirement.”

Hen hummed. “I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to be done until I’m in the grave.”

Lacey laughed. “Yeah. Yeah, you’re right. This is just a, uh…”

“A pivot.”

Lacey pulled back and kissed Hen’s cheek and the side of her mouth. “That sounds so much less terrifying.”


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