You get a two-for-one today. It's only fair, since they're both so short. I wrote both of these for contests that had some unique conditions. For "All Too Well," I was given a picture and a 200 word limit. For "Engagement," the limit was 99 words, and it had to contain the following: clay, woods and scared. I didn't win either contest, but I did receive an Honorable Mention for "All Too Well." (If you want to to see what beat me, check out the website.)
"Flash Fiction," as this type of piece is sometimes called, is hard to write well because you have to compress all the essential elements of a story into such a tiny package. I think I succeeded with these. Let me know what you think.
"All Too Well"
"May I read your fortune?" Her accent was as exotic as her dress.
Three cards were laid out face up on the table. A pale hand with an intricate spider web tattoo indicated the first.
"The Jack of Swords. You are a warrior, one who fights for the innocent and oppressed."
Well, duh, I thought. I’m a cop.
She motioned to the second card. "The six of pentacles. You have a trusted friend."
I glanced toward the back of the store. My partner was paying the clerk.
I looked back at the table. The hand touched the third card, this one sporting the image of two lovers. The card was reversed.
"They were all out of the chocolate frosted," Riley said from behind me. I turned to find my partner holding out a glazed donut and a steaming cup of coffee. Traces of chocolate frosting lingered on his upper lip.
I simply stared.
"What?" he asked again. "Machine not working right?"
He licked his lips self-consciously. I eyed the tattooed hand and shook my head.
"Oh, no. It’s working all too well."
"I can't shake the one on my tail!"
"Don't let them scare you, Foxtrot. You can do this."
I jinked left, rolled inverted, and dove, catching a glimpse of red mountain clay a scant 1000 feet below. Too close.
The MiG lost the missile lock, but I wasn't out of the woods yet; the ground was closing fast.
"You're dropping too low, pull up!"
I jerked the stick back, trying to level out.
I rolled.... The screen went black.
"65 out of 100. Not bad for a first time simulation. Again."
The screen flickered to life.