Up the Ranks. Flash Fiction.

Bloods came back and everything seemed to be fine which is both reassuring and worrying. I’m glad there isn’t active disease but I’ve lost 5 pounds in two weeks which isn’t a good sign. Hopefully I’ll find out what it is soon enough.

Also I had the weirdest experience while getting the bus last week. A homeless guy tapped me in the back and I turned around, I told him I only had bus fare and he starts shaking his head and unzipping his jacket before he starts to pull out a bottle of red wine while trying to sell it to me. I mean who buys wine at a bus stop? Obviously it must work for him but I was just so baffled by it!

_______________________________________________
Up the Ranks. Flash Fiction.

“How many did we lose?”
“Six.”
Mark tapped his pen on the desk for a moment, “Send in another six.”
“Are you sure?”
“No, but we can’t just ignore it either. We need to figure out what that damn thing is before it gets taken away from us. If we know what it is we can control it.”
Stacy nodded, “I’ll have a list prepared for your approval, I’ll have it to you in the next half hour.” She stood and left the room, Mark looked down at the print out on his desk, he didn’t understand any of these readings and it seemed no one else did either. They found the hole by accident, a worker had fallen in two days ago, Mark still couldn’t get a clear answer as to what the worker had been doing out there. Witnesses said he’d been walking along and then he was just gone. No screams, no dropping from sight, he just vanished. One of the workers had moved to where he was and she had vanished too, the rest were smart enough to stay back. So far twenty people had been sent through, including the original two and the witnesses, all would be reported dead due to a tragic accident. They couldn’t get any recordings of what it looked like on the other side, but they were able to maintain radio contact with exploration teams, though each team reported different findings. The first team in had reported a shallow ledge with a long drop, they’d needed ropes to get down safely, and a large cave system, about half an hour into their journey their radios went silent. The next team in reported no drop and wide open fields. The first few minutes of the recordings were a confusion of voices trying to figure out where they were and why everyone else had seemed to vanish. The other two teams reported a large lake and dark, frozen tunnels. All lost radio contact after half an hour exactly and with no reports of distress, one moment they were talking, the next all radio contact was lost. If they could figure out what it was maybe they could harness it, just think of the limitless applications and they’d be the only company with any access, at least until the government came along as it always seemed to do. Mark sat back and started scrolling through the reports on his computer, Stacy would be back with those names soon, in the mean time he wanted to try and make sense of some of the reports.

Mark yawned and stretched, two hours later and still he could barely follow along the reports. He’d just get someone to summarise it for him so he could summarise it to the higher-ups. They hadn’t put him on it specifically, he’d just gotten lucky by being the most senior person in the vicinity. No doubt they’d people on the way, ready to bust in and take things over from him, and he was fine with that, first though, first he wanted to show he wasn’t useless. Stacy had come back with the names and he’d signed off on them all. No one too important or indispensable, but they’d good experience, enough that a short trip into the wilderness shouldn’t kill them, in theory anyway. Stacy burst into his office, panting, “What the hell?”
“You have to hear this!”
She ran around his desk and shoved him unceremoniously out of the way, his chair sliding into the wall behind him, he was about to protest again but the look on her face silenced him. Stacy was pale, her eyes wide and staring. A second later she clicked play and the room was filled with screams.
Stacy jumped, then lowered the volume, “What the hell is that?”
“That’s the team we just sent through. They started babbling about creatures, didn’t know what they were then they just started screaming.”
The screams were dying out one by one, a panting, desperate voice, “Oh god.” And there was silence.
Mark felt shaky, but he had to remain strong, he couldn’t show weakness. He took a slow deep breath. “Analyse any recordings that were made and prepare a list for the next team.”
Stacy opened her mouth, then closed it and nodded, “we won’t be able to keep this under wraps for long. People have already stopped volunteering and there’s been talk of people quitting.”
Mark thought for a moment, “Tell them anyone who quits will be first on the next list to go in. Anyone tries to run they’ll be thrown in.” Stacy didn’t object, she knew that their security would have no problems following Mark’s orders, at least until someone else took charge. Out here in the middle of nowhere the security teams were the law.
“I’ll get you that list.”
Mark went to the small cabinet in his office and pulled out a glass and a water bottle, they didn’t allow booze on company property, he filled it then took a long, slow drink. He needed to maintain control and he needed to find out what the hell that thing was, even if it cost the company a thousand workers. He only had a limited window to make a name for himself, he didn’t want to spend years clawing his way up through the company, not when he had a golden opportunity like this in front of him.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
This entry was posted in Fantasy, Horror and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Up the Ranks. Flash Fiction.

  1. dronstadblog says:

    Well developed plot drive and fluent flow of the situation. Great scenes and realistic characters. Great job. 😀

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