Today’s fabulous flash fiction is Claire McNerny’s Slowing Down. It’s not all about the speed – or is it? Here’s the opening:
Any other day of the year, the sun would already be gone, but today it streams through the pines in pale ribbons. The girl beneath it stops walking at the slightest sound of someone else’s footsteps. She was only supposed to leave the facilities at night, but the sun set so late, and the scientists had been too busy analyzing her data to notice.
The footsteps belong to a boy running down the trail. He waves as he approaches. “Hello!”
Despite his heavy breathing, he spits out a million questions. “Hi! I’m Jacob Lente. Do you run? I didn’t think anyone else liked to run out here! I mean, I’m the only one on my cross country team. I guess that makes me the fastest!” He mimes running as fast as he can, his arms pumping at a rate that may look fast to him but is painfully slow to her.
She doesn’t want to get in trouble talking to him, but as she continues along the path, he follows. He’s the first person her age she’s seen in a long time. Nothing like the balding scientists who raised her. She studies him, and he takes this as encouragement to keep on talking.
“Y’know, I heard these woods are haunted.”
She raises an eyebrow. The word ‘haunted’ is unfamiliar. “Yeah, haunted! My cousin told me that there’s a government facility here with the girl who broke the sound barrier like… ten years ago? Anyways, he said that after she broke it, the scientists didn’t need her anymore, so they chopped her up and scattered her remains around the forest… Click here for more.