One Photograph, Two Points of View: Comparative Flash Fiction
The Escape by Kalla Monahan
I felt the howl in my blood before I heard it with my ears. My eyes adjusted to the inky darkness, broken only by the silver threads of the moon shining through the canopy overhead.
My heart beat wildly in my chest in reaction. I could hear the thunderous sound my feet made on the tramped down surface of the dirt path. I hoped I was the only one that could hear it. Even as I gave birth to the thought, I knew he was coming for me.
I raced harder, the sound of my feet reverberating up through my body in time with the beat of my heart. I could barely make out where I was going, but I managed to miss most of the sliver thin fingers of branches snaking out on to the rough trail I followed.
I slowed for a moment, resting my body against the pocked bark of a tall tree, its cool exterior welcome against the flush of my cheeks. I knew I shouldn’t stop, but my heart was close to explosion and the tension in my body was making it cramp. Pretty soon my body would betray me; it was only a matter of time.
Pushing off, I propelled myself forward again. I had no idea where he was, only that I had to try to get away. My skin crawled as I stumbled head first through a spider’s web stretched across the trail, seeing the telltale glint of glistening threads too late to avoid them. My only hope was that my fear of spiders would not outweigh my fear of him.
His howl came at me through the darkness, closer this time. Too close.
Thin fingers curled about my neck. Spider? Or him?
Now frozen, a scream builds in my tightening throat.
All Rights Reserved © 2012 Kalla Monahan
Never Again by Nina D’Arcangela
Staring upwards, I see only blackness. I hear nothing. Clawing my way out of the narrow confines of this sealed wall is no easy task; my body suffers much abuse for it. My hands mutilated and raw, the knuckles bent at unnatural angles, my shoulder dislocated and throbbing. A hip broken – to fit my body into the tight enclosure, or to fight my way out, I do not know. I only know the pain is near blinding. The cenotaph breaks free. Screeching wind now deafening as it seeks small breaches in this marble enclosure. I call to any who would listen; no one comes. As I drop to the floor below, my head smacks the icy cold stone; I lose consciousness.
I awake to ungodly pain that wracks my entire being. Head bleeding, chest heaving, legs useless other than to force a gasp of desperate agony from my lips. One crippled arm trapped beneath me, I use the other to drag my protesting body to the slab sealing my fate; fighting my way to the open slit near the floor, I hold on for dear life.
Having made my intentions clear, I’ve no doubt where I am; the details of my arrival unknown to me, my circumstance all too apparent. Reaching for the chain that should be hanging around my neck, I am barely able to draw breath while bringing its prize to my lips. It rings an odd pitch – crushed in my fall. A natural interment, the whistle my only adornment, my last breath was not to be the one already taken.
One detail missed; no watchman. Blood caked fingers reaching through the opening, I watch with sadness as the clouds move swiftly past the moon as I stare longingly at a night sky I will never see again.
All Rights Reserved © 2012 Nina D’Arcangela
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