Last week, Chuck Wendig at Terrible Minds posted a flash fiction challenge in which he provided tables to randomly generate titles, then gave until noon EST tomorrow (Friday, June 6) to write pieces of no more than 1,000 words and post them to our blogs.
Things like this make awesome exercises, and they’re fun! It’s mostly unedited, but I hope that doesn’t stop you from enjoying it; here’s mine:
Grave Robber made me a promise. I never asked her name. The dead don’t need names and she just would have lied anyway.
I’m so sick of all the lies. Aide the harvest, bring honor and wealth to our families. Some of us believe the lies out of ignorance, the rest out of desperation. Whatever gets us through the nights until it’s our turn and all the belief in the world can’t help.
But Grave Robber was new. She had a smile brighter than the sun – how could someone that bright suck a life from the dusty remains of ghosts? – and for a moment, I dared to believe.
That belief went the way of everyone else’s, of course. I knew better, and the knowing only made the sting worse.
I didn’t scream or wail like some of the others. The time for fighting had long passed. I just stared at them as they toned their ceremonies. Two of them never found the courage to look at me straight. Some of the others met my eyes on accident. Their winces and shivers were proof of my fight. They knew I would haunt them.
But now the door is sealed, my candle long since guttered. However soft the gold, it makes a hard bed. I will not lie in it.
The air is stale, sand coats my tongue and throat. Perhaps my skin will harden and become like the diamonds and rubies I can no long see in this silent tomb.
How much time passes? Days? Weeks? Eternity?
I do not at first recognize the scraping as a sound. My ears are stuffed with cotton. They quick sharp crack I think is the sound of death – not the gentle music of bells or strings but harsh destruction. Light burns. The pain tells me I still live, unless in this, too, they lied to us.
Hands rough where the priests’ are soft touch my arms, my face, my neck. Too much. After such absence, such living death, it is too much, but I have no strength to pull away and no voice to speak.
The hands lift and cradle my head. Water still warm from the day’s sun dribbles between my stone lips, sweet as ambrosia.
Gummy eyes reluctantly focus. My Grave Robber.
She murmurs, “I’m sorry we made you wait.”
“You,” I reclaim a voice – not mine, not yet, but a voice. “You came.”
Her lips quirk upward. “I hate to break a promise.”