Froggy Flash Fiction: Don't Go Near The Danger Zone
What is Flash Fiction?
If you were to ask the above question to several writers, you would probably get a variety of answers.
Very simply put, flash fiction is just a short fictional story.
Some writers will say it can not be more than 400 words, while others will say up to 1000.
It is a short fictional story, and this one will be longer than 400, but under the 1000.
My original intent with this story was to post it on Helium as one of the requests they had.
After working very hard to write this story, and then to shorten it to Helium's flash fiction standards, it has now come to my attention that Helium is shutting down the micro-sites.
I really could not let this story just sit in a file on my computer. After really studying it again, I thought that there was no reason this story could not be a hub.
All names and places in this story are purely fictional. Any references that coincide with a living person are purely coincidental.
Don't Go Near
“Mama, I'm gonna go out with Mark and Davy,” I yelled up the stairs. “Whatcha plan on doing Ty? Come up here first boy,” Mama yelled back before I could answer the first question. I ran up the stairs just knowing what Mama was gonna say, so I beat her to it; “I won't go near the danger zone Mama,” I spat before she could say it.
My name is Tyrone Cooper, and I am 13 years old. My Mama has been raising me all alone since Papa killed a man down in the danger zone. I ain't never been in the danger zone, but Mama pointed out to me where it is, and made me promise never to go in it. Me and Davy walked down real close to it one time, but we didn't go in. I did promise, and I don't want to hurt Mama. I asked Mama where Papa went after he killed that man. She just pointed past the danger zone. Davy told me he saw an alien before we went to the tracks that lay before the grove of trees that day. He wanted to show me the alien and he took me near the danger zone. We didn't see that alien, and I told him I was scared, so we went home.
“Come over here Ty,” Mama grabbed me. “You thinkin bout going into the danger zone?” Mama said it like a question, but it was more like a warning. “Don't you even go near that danger zone Ty. Where's Markie and Davy?” I told Mama the truth, “I'm sposed to meet 'em at the ball field. We might play some ball Mama.” Mama smiled, “Good Ty; go play some ball and stay away from the danger zone.”
I went out and got on my bike. Riding down the street, I stared over towards the tracks. I was really wondering what was in the danger zone. Then I heard him. “Ty....Ty, come here boy.” I coulda swore it was Papa, and then I heard Mark yelling, “Ty, over here.” I looked and Mark and Davy were over by the tracks. They were looking at the ground, and when I peered down at what they were looking at, I felt my spine get a twinge. It was a picture of Mama. Papa used to carry it in his billfold.
I was wandering through the grove of trees. Mark and Davy got scared and went running. They kept yellin that I shouldn't, but I had to find Papa. The trees were getting thinner. I was then out in a clearing. It was like walking into a dream world. The houses were beautiful. There were a bunch of kids playing ball in a park. They had grass and they wore these gloves to catch the ball. I was wonderin if I died and went to heaven.
“Hi Ty, I wondered if you would come,” the voice was behind me. I turned and there stood Papa wearing nice clothes and he had a briefcase. Opening the briefcase, Papa pulled out some clothes and handed them to me. “Put them on Ty. You don't have to live with those old rags anymore son.”
The questions came as I sat in the big house as Papa put some food in front of me. For years the families across through the grove of trees and across the tracks have always called this side the danger zone. It seems that it was pounded into there minds many years ago. Papa had explained to Mama that the danger zone was not a danger zone. Our families were brought to work the mines on that side many years ago. The mines were closed down over 30 years ago, but the people still live the same way. They were taught to go on the rich people's side was going into the danger zone.
“I explained to your Mama about it, but she wouldn't listen Ty. This isn't the danger zone, that side is. People are dying before their time because of the mines and the gasses. People over here tell their children not to go that way because it is a danger zone. They are right Ty. You are going to stay here with me now son. It is safer here,” Papa explained. I looked him in the eye and said, “But what about Mama and my friends, Mark and Davy?” Papa told me I would have to accept them being gone. I cried.
Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is Tyrone Cooper. As your newly elected Mayor, I propose to tear up the grove that separates West Pottertown from East Pottertown. I say we fill the mines and beautify the area of the East. We need to help those who have endured life in East Pottertown for so many years. We all know that those who have lived there in the East have been suffering from premature deaths and diseases. It is up to us to show them a better life. Will you all agree?
The applause was deafening.
Ty drove the first bulldozer through the grove. He pulled it across the tracks and drove it straight to the house he lived in for so many years. The woman walked with a hobble and looked to be in terrible shape.
As Ty wrapped his arms around the woman, he told her he was taking her to the danger zone. With tears in her eyes, she shook her head yes.
Mama was treated for lung cancer from the mines. Papa retired from being an insurance agent and Ty is still the Mayor of Pottertown. Yes, just Pottertown. There is no East or West anymore, and no more danger zones.
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© 2014 Greg Boudonck