World of Myth. Flash Fiction.

So I got the date for my colonoscopy, next Wednesday which is great because it’ll be done and over with soon enough. Still feeling pretty wrecked but haven’t lost any weight in the last few days which bodes well over all!

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Josephine stood in the middle of the room, staring at the white, shimmering square on the wall. It didn’t look that big, certainly not big enough for her to walk through but from what she could gather it would still work. The Gods had used this portal to leave the world millennia ago and Josephine was going to bring them all back, every single one. She didn’t know why the had left the world, no one did, but she was going to find out. Her father had spent most of his life trying to figure out the portal, something he had kept secret from the family. Josephine had only found out after his death, while cleaning out his small, grubby apartment where she’d found boxes and boxes of information and calculations. It had been a great jumping off point and coupled with the internet led her to figuring it all out in two months. Well, technically it was a group effort if you included all those people online, but they didn’t have to know that. She took a slow, deep breath, then walked towards the square. She reached out, her heart hammering in her chest, and touched it. It felt soft and warm, like the finest fabric sliding over her skin. The square grew larger, filling her vision entirely until there was nothing but a blinding light then it was gone.

Josephine stood, blinking in the low light, waiting for her eyes to adjust. A warm wind blew past, carrying with it the stale scent of dust. She blinked a few more times and looked around, taking in the grey lifeless ground, the twisted skeletons of trees, the brown dead patches of flowers. The white square was gone. She started walking, with each step green grass bloomed around her feet she looked down in amazement, then looked behind herself to see there was nothing but dead grass behind her. She lifted her foot and instantly the grass died. She continued on, occasionally a flower would briefly bloom around her foot before she moved on.

In the distance she could see a low, squat building, nothing like the grand palaces she thought she would find. She’d been walking for about an hour and this was the first sign of intelligent life, though the building looked as grey and lifeless as everything else. The building was about ten feet high and was made of a smooth material, Josephine wasn’t sure what it was. She reached out and touched it, her fingers sliding over it, it was warm. She half expected colour to trail behind her finger tips, that the building would suddenly be clean and full of life. She walked to the doorway, the door, if there had been one in the first place, had long since rotted away. She stepped into the building and was surprised to find she could see reasonably well inside, despite the lack of lights, torches or windows. The room itself was large but there was only one chair placed against the back wall. The chair was tall and imposing, there was something resting on the seat. As she approached she realised it was a pile of bones and some tattered fabric. She reached out and touched one of the bones, a shiver when through the pile and suddenly Josephine’s head was full of wordless, agonised screams. She let out a cry of horror and threw the bone down, it cracked in two as it hit the chair. As soon as the bone left her fingers the screams stopped. She squatted beside the chair, there was a mound underneath the fabric, she gently and carefully pulled it away revealing a skull, but it was nothing like any skulls she’d seen before. It had two impossibly large eye sockets and weird, bulging protrusions all over it. The teeth had sharp, angry looking points, it almost looked as though the skull was glaring at her.

Josephine stood outside in the stale air, breathing heavily. Dead, they were all dead. She had found other buildings, some were grand, some were small, and some were more hovels than anything and each of them contained nothing but skeletons. She had picked up another bone in one of them and again the screams filled her head until she dropped it. There was nothing in this desolate wasteland. The gods and creatures of myth and legend were dead and turning to dust, there was nothing for her here. She had tried to open the square doorway again and again but nothing happened, it just refused to work. Her stomach growled and her throat was dry and scratchy. How long had it been since she’d last eaten? Last drank anything? She had been stupid not to bring supplies with her, she had never once dreamed that they hadn’t returned because they were trapped. She leaned against the cold marble wall of an ornate yet oddly small palace and slowly slid to the ground, around her grass and flowers began to bloom. She had tried touching trees in the hopes that it would bring them to life too, but they remained dead and twisted. She felt so tired now, so empty, like this place was draining her will to live. Around her grass bloomed in a riot of greens, ending a few inches from her body. Her eyelids felt heavy, how long had she been walking for? She closed her eyes, a brief nap would do her good, recharge her. Her breathing slowed, then stopped. The grass grew taller and brighter, Josephine grew thinner, her body sinking into itself. An hour later there was nothing left but a pile of bones and fabric, the grass around her had become grey and lifeless.

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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.
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