I love flash fiction. Those burst of words that entertain and take only minutes to read. There are many forms, but generally, flash fiction is under 2,000 words. There is the twitterature which is limited to 140 words. The drabble with 100 words, and the sudden fiction coming in under 750 words. No matter your taste, each story, if written well, can insinuate something bigger happening in the background.
Here’s a flash fiction I wrote in celebration of winter. Enjoy.
The footsteps headed north. Large evenly spaced depressions in the snow piqued my curiosity, and I needed to know who intruded into my isolation. There were no roads here. No towns. The sun didn’t even show itself this time of year.
It had been two decades since I came to this God forsaken place to seek solitude. Sometimes I questioned myself if I made the right decision. But where would I go? There was nothing for me in civilization.
Millions of stars and the aurora borealis lit up the sky. Once I thought their faint illumination reflecting off the snow was beautiful. Now they were just a source of light in the vast darkness. I studied the booted footsteps. The person wasn’t wearing snow shoes. Foolish. Someone else didn’t prepare and where were they now? Dead.
The biting air burned my lungs and ice built up on my beard, but I continued to stare at the footsteps. I couldn’t save the person. I was too old to help. And what could I do if I found them? I lived a meager existence. My little cabin was warm and had the bare essentials for survival. But there wasn’t enough for two until spring.
Sweat beaded on my forehead, and a shiver ran through me. I had to get back inside. I hadn’t been feeling well, and I needed to lie down. The person will be okay. They wouldn’t be here otherwise.
Dreams of endless footsteps plagued me. I worried about the lost soul. Were they okay? Did they reach shelter? I couldn't live with myself if I didn't do something. It didn't matter if I was sick.
Sitting up and swinging my legs over the edge of my bed, I paused. A sound approached. Footsteps. Snow crunching in quick succession. Snorts and grunts followed by the jingling of bells blasted the other side of my door.
At that moment, I realized I didn't want to be alone. I wanted, no needed contact with others. The wooden door shook. Bursts of snow seeped through the spaces between the boards. My hand hesitated on the latch. What was I afraid of? It was only a person that needed me as much as I needed them.
A deep rumbling voice met my ears and filled me with joy. I wasn't alone anymore.