Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Desperado (Waiting for the Train)
 A flash fiction response to two writing challenges (see below)

Another head-on collision with the morning, another coffee and croissant in the train station cafe. Crescent roll, Ellen thinks rebelliously, pulling at the dough. She hates pretentious words. She takes off her sunglasses and reluctantly looks at herself in her pocket mirror. Her eyes are rusty. The imprint of last night, of too many last-nights, on her skin, never satiny at its best.

“Ellen. I thought that was you.”

She flinches at the unwelcomely familiar voice but nods. “Ryan.”

 “I didn’t expect to see you here.”

“Likewise,” she mutters. 

She’s silently willing him not to sit down. The kid thinks every woman in the office between eighteen and fifty enjoys being eyed by him.

“Oh, well, I spent the night with a friend.” His self-satisfied half-grin makes her want to smack him. A “friend?” Probably the new trainee he’s been chatting up at breaks. Poor girl, she thinks. Then: poor both of them.

His grin is more insinuating now. “Hey, we’ll probably be seeing each other here again.”

“I doubt it.” Then, impulsively: “I’m giving my notice today.”

Now it’s her satisfaction to see the smirk sink off his lips. “Oh. Wow. Better job offer?”

She doesn’t answer. She picks up her cold cup of coffee and downs the rest, trying not to grimace. “Excuse me. I have to use the restroom.”

She turns on the cold water and splashes her face. She looks up. She’s still careworn, but there’s an unexpected light in her eyes now, and she understands: she told Ryan the truth. Somehow he dug out what she needed. Relief comes rushing at her like the next train. Less is more, she thinks. Just one other—obstacle—to face, and she’ll take care of that tonight. Her life will be new, hers and no one else’s, from now on.
She puts the sunglasses back on and smiles widely. It’s the best she’s felt in years. She hears the train whistle. She opens the door, humming Richie Havens’s “Freedom.”
This story was written in response to the following two prompts: Nicole Pyles' Flash Fiction Photo Prompt blog hop , using the random words crescent, head-on, imprint, satin, and careworn and the photo below; and the Trifecta Writing Challenge, which is to write a story of 333 words or less using the third definition of a word. This week's word and definition: Rust: of the color of rust; dulled in color or appearance by age and use.



  1. I like how you left the ending open to our own interpretation. :) Open to another challenge as well.

    thanks for linking up this week.

  2. I like your opening line, I think we've all felt that head-on collision in the morning rush. Great story, I hope it all ends well for her. She seems to have made the right decision.

  3. "Another head-on collision with the morning" This is my every morning! I love it.

  4. I like the phrase, "head-on collision with morning." Gets the point across that it's not all roses and sunshine. Glad the smarmy guy could reveal to her what she needed to do.

  5. Love the head-on opening against the train whistle at the end.
    Run for that train, girl!

  6. great read! I have been thinking of trying my hand at some fiction, but I don't think I have what it takes! You, my friend, definitely do! :)