Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Flash Fiction: Escape

In one of my online writing communities (+Writers' Discussion Group on Google Plus), there's a weekly writing prompt. I *love* writing to prompts. When I'm writing something that isn't my main project, it feels like playing and playing is a great re-charge to my creative process. I don't participate every week, but I always look at the prompts. I've even had two of the pieces I wrote for a WDG writing prompt become publication credits! (Michael's Miracle on Acidic Fiction and Contamination in Dark Matter, p. 14).

I really liked this week's prompt. It was an art prompt, from a piece called "Boundless" by Yummei and the piece I got from it. Here's "Escape" by yours truly:



Books can take you places, they said. Mina thought it was a nice metaphor, the journey of the mind, walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, escape. But she’d read plenty of books in her life, and not a one had actually moved her through time and space, other than making her lose track of time so she had to find a space to hide from her mother’s wrath when she got home late.

That was, until today.

She’d fallen asleep in the bean bag area of the children’s section of the library, curled up between two of the chairs in a little fort she’d constructed of pillows and books. They must have closed without noticing her. She was alone in the library.

Her mother was going to pitch a fit.

Mina crawled out of her hiding space and stretched, wishing she had a snack. She’d be lucky to escape a hiding when she got home. She certainly wouldn’t get anything to eat before she was sent to her punishment.

Since she was already in trouble, she figured it wouldn’t hurt to rummage around a bit. Maybe one of the librarians kept some food in a desk drawer or something.

She padded through the familiar rooms made unfamiliar in darkness broken only by security lights. She passed the story circle already set up for the next day’s reading, an extra-large edition of Where the Wild Things Are in the librarian’s chair and a bucket of monster puppets tucked beneath. She went into the forbidden area behind the check-out desk and rummaged through some drawers looking for food. There wasn’t any.

But there was another room behind the desk area. Pale blue light spilled out beneath the door. Mina expected it to be locked, but she tried it anyway. The knob turned easily, and the door fell open. The room was lined in floor to ceiling bookshelves. A glowing globe of the world sat on a star patterned platform at the center of the room. There was a stack of books on the platform and Mina sat beside the pile and spread them out to look. There were no words on the covers. Nothing to indicate what stories they held.

She opened one, startled when a flash of light illuminated the room. She threw her head back to escape the painful brightness and saw that the ceiling had become a starry night. She wanted to think it was a painting, but the stars swirled and moved with life. She peered back down at the pages of the book and saw that there were no words on the pages. She closed it, and the starry night ceiling disappeared, becoming again a smooth white surface ornamented with a mobile of the solar system. She opened the book again, ready this time for the flash of light. When the starry night appeared again, she grinned. Laying the book carefully aside, still open to the blank page she had chosen, she grabbed another book from the pile.

She closed her eyes when she opened this one, and was greeted with a lapping sound, like water sloshing in the bathtub. When she dared to peek out, she saw the floor surrounding the platform was covered in water lapping in gentle waves. She turned to look out the window and saw that it was as if the entire library were underwater. A school of fish spiraled by, turning to peer into the window with their broad, flat eyes.

Excited now, she opened the third book. A wolf materialized and padded towards her. Mina scooted back, her hands poised to slam the book closed. The wolf looked her in the eye, and she wasn’t afraid of him. She felt instinctively that he was there to protect her. When he laid down, presenting his side to her, she didn’t hesitate long before she settled into the curve of his side, and stroked his gray fur while she looked at the still swirling sky.

Her gaze bounced between the apparently blank books and the worlds they had opened. Finally she stood and spoke to the wolf. “Take me home with you,” she said.

Wordlessly, he stood, paced to the corner of the platform where his book still lay open. He looked back over his shoulder and then stepped into the pages and was gone. Mina carefully closed the other books and put them back where she had found them. And then, she followed him.

The room remained as she’d left it, fish swimming outside the window and the milky heavens swirling above. No one was there to hear it when the room sighed, satisfied.


  1. Well that was an enjoyable little tidbit of writing. Those sound like either wonderful or dangerous books. :)

  2. Oh that was wonderful. Exactly what I always thought of books as being---a true escape for me. Thank you so much!!! Blessed be, hugs!!!

    1. Thanks so much. Stories have always been my favorite escape, too.

  3. So clever. Thoroughly enjoyed this. Decades ago there was a kid raised by wolfs. I can't recall the author or story fully. Perhaps, Mina will meet him and have some adventures together.

    1. I like the idea of "lost children" escaping into other worlds through books and finding each other.

  4. Oh, my gosh, that is like my total dream/fantasy from childhood!!! I would have been so thrilled.

    @Kathleen01930 Blog

  5. Oh, I loved this so much Samantha! I'm glad you shared it--thank you.