Flash Fiction: 1,200 Points
After spending the last few weeks focused solely on my novel I decided to spend today having a bit of fun. This piece is a product of that. It's very short, just a quick piece of flash fiction!
“You don’t have enough points, sir.” Her eyes are dark as she speaks, a silent apology hidden in the lines of her face. I feel my face flush. I want to lash out, throw my tokens in her face and force her to accept them.
Instead, I nod and mumble, “I understand. Thank you for your time.”
With my head ducked down, I turn and walk away. The line of people waiting to trade in their tokens is growing longer by the second. With each person I pass, another appears behind them. My pain and desperation stare back at me from the faces of my fellow parents. Each of them more terrified than the last. Our grief simultaneously unifies us and leaves us isolated. I can see understanding in their faces as we make eye contact. I want to reach out to them, tell them they aren’t alone, that I understand, that we all do.
The guards standing just inside the entrance ensure my silence. One word, no matter how softly spoken, would be detected and I would be thrown into a room to be questioned as a conspirator. My tokens jingle in my pockets, reminding what I’m fighting for. There are so many reasons why I can’t fight back, so many things standing in my way.
I tighten my fist around my tokens as I walk outside and fall onto the first bench I see. I pull the tokens from my pocket and open my palm. The sun glistens off their metallic surface. If I didn’t know what these tokens meant I would think they were beautiful. Made from the brightest metal I’ve ever seen, they are infused with purples and blues that bring them to life in my hands. If I tilt one just the right way I can make out the griffin’s head stamped onto one side. There is no denying the craftsmanship that goes into making these tiny, threatening pieces of metal. Still, I tighten my hand around them, hating the way they feel against my skin.
Yesterday, I finally reached 1,200 points. After months of working into the night, picking up any jobs I could, and following orders like a German Shepherd, I finally reached my goal. The leaders of the compound had set our price: 1,200 points. Just 1,200 points and my life could finally have meaning again. Just 1,200 points and my pain would be gone.
Today, the price increased to 1,800. I’m short by four months of work. It will take four months before I can come back to headquarters and request a trade. Four months. That is, unless they up the price again.
I know I should feel rage, but the only emotion coursing through my veins is fear. I’m terrified that this nightmare will never end. Still, I know I have to try. I stand, stuffing the coins back in my pocket. With a sigh, I head toward my bunker. As I’m walking, I do everything I can not to look. I keep my eyes focused on the pavement as I pass them. Cage after cage lines the sidewalk, but I refuse to notice them. They call to me, some with words, others with animalistic screeches. I keep walking, unable to give them what they want.
No matter how hard I try, I can’t resist glancing up when I pass her. Once I do, it’s impossible to look away. I stop, my eyes locked on hers. She’s staring back at me, her blue eyes sparkling in the sunlight. Unlike all the rest, she doesn’t make a sound. I’m not sure she even recognizes me anymore. With shaking hands, I take a step closer to her. We don’t speak. We don’t blink.
Then, it’s over and I’m walking away. My feet do all the work, carrying me further down the path. My mind is spinning, working my into a determination unlike anything I’ve ever felt. I can work toward those 1,800 points. Just 1,800 points and my life will have meaning again. Just 1,800 points and my pain will be gone. Just 1,800 points and I can buy her freedom.
Thoughts, Comment, Critiques
Please feel free to comment with anything thoughts you had while reading or any critiques you may have! Thanks for reading!