Hiding in the Dark. Flash Fiction.

Hey guys, hope everyone had a good week!

I’m still wrecked, normally I’m tired but I’m finding my head is a bit foggy. I’ve had a few twinges and a couple of cramps but nothing too bad or worrying, my system is most likely out of wack after the colonoscopy.

I don’t have huge plans for the weekend, some friends are coming over for dinner and a catch up, maybe some movies, I’m looking forward to a relaxing weekend with lots of sleep!

Have a great weekend!
________________________________________________________

Hiding in the Dark. Flash Fiction.

Benny pulled his jacket tighter around himself, he could see the glow of a fire in the distance but he knew the bonfire was a dangerous place to be. The nights were getting colder, but not yet cold enough that he’d freeze. The clothes he wore were tattered and filthy, most of the clothing stores had been ransacked before he’d gotten to them, as had the supermarkets. Benny survived as so many of the others did, on scraps. He could hear the occasional roar of laughter coming from the direction of the bonfire, the laughter was almost always followed by screams. Sometimes, at night when his stomach was growling and his throat was dry he considering going to the bonfire, asking to join but he wasn’t quite that desperate yet. Once he had crept through the rubble and crouched behind the remains of a wall, and spent the evening looking at the initiation ritual. Only it wasn’t a ritual. Those who wanted to join were kept in a large cage, in the centre was the bonfire, he could feel the heat of it even from his distance. Thick black smoke boiled into the sky, as flickering light and dancing shadows filled what had one been Central Plaza. The gang were spaced out around the fire, some were drinking, others were passed out, high off whatever drugs they could get their hands on. The General sat on a raised chair in front of the fire, a bottle of booze in one hand. He wore a surprisingly clean Army uniform, with the chest covered in medals. Occasionally he would gesture towards the cage and two people would grab someone from the huddled mass inside and drag them out. Then The General would look them over for a moment, if they were lucky they went to round two, if they weren’t they were tossed on the fire to the uproarious laughter of those around. Benny couldn’t figure out the system, he watched as one man, tall, still reasonably muscular, was thrown onto the fire while another, short, scrawny and half starved, was moved to the side. Those who survived the first challenge had only one more to complete. From the second pool two people would be taken, they’d be given a knife and then the fight was on. The winner was granted entry, the loser would die. More often than not both people were too grievously wounded but for those few who won they were brought into one of the buildings, Benny assumed they were getting their wounds treated. If not for the scarred people sitting around the bonfire he’d have thought they were just being killed outright, regardless of having won.

A distant scream brought Benny out of his memories, it wasn’t from the direction of the bonfire, it was deeper in the city, in the places that were too dangerous even for The Generals gang. Full of cannibals and rapists. Sometimes they’d raid the outer city, grabbing anyone they could and dragging them back to their lairs. Benny listened for more screams, for the warning that they were under attack but there was only more laughter at the bonfire. Benny relaxed a little, his stomach growled. He had not eaten since yesterday and that had been a hastily eaten can of vegetables he’d found wedged in a crevice in a collapsed apartment building. He could feel himself getting weaker as the days went by, short walks now winded him, he found it difficult climbing over the rubble. He could feel it in the tattered clothes he wore as they became looser on him day by day, by the unnatural thinness of his body and the way the cold seemed to seep into his body and never really went away. He wasn’t quite desperate yet, but he knew he was close. Occasionally he would catch the scent of roasting pork and his mouth would water and his stomach would growl and he knew that if he was presented with it he would eat every last bit, no questions asked. The last body he had come across he had been tempted, after all the woman was dead, it wasn’t like he killed her and no one would ever know. It had been hard walking away from all that meat.

Outside his little shelter rain began to fall, heavy, cold drops. He would be dry here for the night, his little shelter kept most of the rain out. The rain became heavier, a gentle, soothing beat on the ground, Benny felt his eyes grow heavy and allowed sleep to take 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.
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