Dying to Get Out: Experimental Flash Fiction by cam
Warsaw Ghetto Fighters Memorial
What is Experimental Fiction?
Most experienced readers of fiction have conscious or unconscious expectations when they pick up a story, whether it is a novel, novella, short story or short short story (flash fiction). We expect to find a familiar genre or blend of genres. We anticipate a clear beginning, growing conflict, resolution and a clear ending. We look for a character we can empathize with.
We also have expectations about how the story is told. We want to know which character is speaking during a lengthy dialogue, especially when more than two people are involved in the conversation.
We enter this story in which two men are outside at night, waiting for someone to come rescue them from whatever situation they are in. The rendezvous has been planned, but there are doubts, fears and expectations.
I have left out any reference to who is speaking. That is what I mean by dialogue only. The helpful words, he said, do not appear anywhere. Neither have I given hints in narration about the identity of the speaker. In fact, there is no narration. There is only the dialogue between two men.
It is up to me as the writer to make clear the setting, characters and plot, and I must do so without narration, using only the words spoken by these men. It is also up to me to give unique voices to the two men so that the dialogue sounds natural.
I want this story to take you to that place and give you the sensation that you are invisible, sitting next to these two characters, listening to their conversation.
Dying to Get Out
“What time is it?”
“I don’t know, why?”
“We have been hiding here by this damned fence all night it seems.”
“I don’t think they’re coming.”
“But they said they would.”
“People say stuff like that to shut you up.”
“But what will we do if they do not come?”
“What else? We stay in the ghetto.”
“Shh. Someone is coming.”
“It’s not them.”
“How do you know.”
“Our contacts aren't streetwalkers.”
“They promised to show us the way out.”
“I don't trust them. What do they gain by helping us?"
"Maybe they just think its the right thing to do."
"Nobody thinks that way anymore."
"We could offer them money."
"Have you got any money? I don't."
"No, I do not have money."
"They could double cross us. We don't know anything about them."
"You think they might turn us in to the Germans?"
"They could be waiting on the other side of the gate right now with the Gestapo."
"I had not thought of that."
"It could go either way. It's a gamble."
“If they do not show up and help us, I will not be able to go on.”
“What are you trying to say?”
“I cannot live here another day.”
“The ghetto isn’t so bad.”
“The ghetto is hell.”
“The ghetto is our only home.”
“I will never call this place my home.”
“Shh, someone’s coming.”
“It is not them.”
“How do you know?”
“Our contacts were not wearing swastikas.”
"Let's get out of here before they see us."
"What if I try to climb the fence?
They’ll shoot you."
"Do you think so?"
"Goodbye my friend."
Poll: Dialogue in the Story
Did you clearly understand who was speaking during the dialogue between these two men?
Jewish Ghettos in Nazi-Occupied Europe
There are numerous accounts of Jews escaping the ghettos in Nazi-occupied Europe. Life in these communities was unbearable. Human waste was collected and thrown into the streets. Because of the poor sanitation and over crowding, disease spread and killed many. The threat of being rounded up and taken to one of the extermination camps was a constant concern. A successful escape was the only solution. One such escape occurred at the Jewish community of Mir in present day, Belarus. Photos of the people of Mir from 1934-1938.