Free Flash Fiction

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#Inferno

Jonathan Wood

Burning,​ ​snaking,​ ​wrapping​ ​it’s​ ​greasy​ ​talons​ ​around​ ​me​ ​for​ ​fun,​ ​flexing​ ​those​ ​long​ ​dirty​ ​nails with​ ​the​ ​smell​ ​of​ ​past​ ​misdemeanors​ ​still​ ​pungent​ ​on​ ​it’s​ ​scaly​ ​skin. It’s​ ​relentless,​ ​swapping​ ​it’s​ ​grasp​ ​from​ ​my​ ​chest​ ​to​ ​my​ ​throat,​ ​threatening​ ​to​ ​choke​ ​and crush​ ​when​ ​it​ ​feels​ ​like​ ​it,​ ​chuckling​ ​at​ ​it’s​ ​very​ ​own​ ​power​ ​to​ ​see​ ​my​ ​struggle​ ​for​ ​breath.​ ​​ ​My 

eyes​ ​bulge​ ​and​ ​swell.​ ​​ ​It​ ​wafts​ ​me​ ​with​ ​it’s​ ​poisonous​ ​black​ ​fumes,​ ​promising​ ​that​ ​this​ ​is​ ​just the​ ​beginning.​ ​​ ​The​ ​beginning​ ​of​ ​the​ ​games.

Sometimes,​ ​it​ ​shows​ ​me​ ​the​ ​video​ ​reel,​ ​playing​ ​back​ ​the​ ​grainy​ ​images​ ​to​ ​me​ ​on​ ​an​ ​old​ ​rusty 8mm​ ​tape​ ​machine.​ ​​ ​Start.​ ​​Click.​ ​Stop.​ ​​Click.​​ ​Rewind.​ ​​Click.​​ ​Repeat.​ ​​ ​The​ ​images​ ​on​ ​the tape​ ​show​ ​what​ ​I​ ​did,​ ​how​ ​I​ ​failed;​ ​and​ ​cruelly…how​ ​it​ ​would​ ​and​ ​should​ ​have​ ​been.  

It​ ​says​ ​it’s​ ​my​ ​fault​ ​and​ ​I​ ​can’t​ ​argue​ ​back.
  
It​ ​says​ ​it’s​ ​here​ ​to​ ​stay​ ​with​ ​me,​ ​for​ ​a​ ​while;​ ​that​ ​I​ ​have​ ​a​ ​front​ ​row​ ​seat,​ ​“​best in the house” for​ ​the​ ​show​ ​that​ ​will​ ​follow.​ ​The​ ​show​ ​where​ ​the​ ​scar​ ​tissue​ ​gets​ ​prodded​ ​and​ ​pressed​ ​until it​ ​glows​ ​angry​ ​and​ ​smarts​ ​tears​ ​of​ ​red.​ ​The​ ​show​ ​runs​ ​on​ ​repeat​ ​and​ ​I​ ​can’t​ ​close​ ​my​ ​eyes.
  
It​ ​whispers​ ​in​ ​my​ ​ear​ ​and​ ​nuzzles​ ​my​ ​neck​ ​in​ ​front​ ​of​ ​the​ ​cracked​ ​mirror​ ​it​ ​holds​ ​up​ ​to​ ​my pitiful​ ​reflection,​ ​the​ ​shards​ ​of​ ​glass​ ​I​ ​smashed​ ​with​ ​my​ ​fists​ ​in​ ​disgust​ ​returning​ ​my​ ​image like​ ​some​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​grotesque​ ​jigsaw​ ​that​ ​I​ ​just​ ​can’t​ ​bear​ ​the​ ​site​ ​of.​ ​I​ ​look​ ​like​ ​a​ ​circus​ ​act freak​ ​and​ ​it​ ​won’t​ ​let​ ​me​ ​look​ ​away.
 
It’s​ ​promised​ ​me​ ​I​ ​won’t​ ​sleep,​ ​and​ ​when​ ​I​ ​finally​ ​do,​ ​I​ ​will​ ​dream.​ ​​ ​Dream​ ​of​ ​terrible​ ​things, things​ ​that​ ​I​ ​cannot​ ​run​ ​or​ ​escape​ ​from,​ ​with​ ​my​ ​eyes​ ​open​ ​or​ ​fastened​ ​shut.
 
The​ ​signpost​ ​in​ ​the​ ​corner​ ​of​ ​my​ ​dreamscape​ ​points​ ​only​ ​one​ ​way.
 
Welcome​ ​to​ ​the​ ​desert…​ ​of​ ​my​ ​personal​ ​inferno.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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