First, I apologize for the late post. The days tend to blur together when the summer gets warmer. Second, this weekend I participated in Amazon Writeon’s Weekend Write In Challenge. The theme this past weekend was hiking, so here’s the flash fiction piece I came up with:

Most hikers stop after the fourth mile or sooner. Maybe because the urban legend tells of vampires. Maybe because the trees thicken. Or maybe the aching in their feet and the stitch in their side becomes too painful to ignore. I usually stop after the fifth mile, but today the sun is pouring through the trees and the wind keeps me from sweating. Pressing on, I finish mile five without the slightest apprehension. My mind’s more occupied on my girlfriend, Dalilah. She works at the ice cream bar down Tenth Avenue. Her dancer’s butt pops out of her khaki shorts every time she turns to scoop ice cream. The buttons on her polo wiggle their way open when she leans over the register to take an order. The ice cream is shitty, but I go for the view.

Last night when Dalilah got off work, we slipped into the back of my crappy car and drove to the bottom of the hiking trail. Not a single street lamp lights the entrance to the trail. Humidity stuck her hair to her neck, but my lips snuck lower, playing along the edge of her waist band. She ran her hands through my hair, tugging just enough to drive my eager hands to her zipper. But she pushed me away like every time before that. “Andrew, we need to talk.”

The words keep shitting on my sunny day. Pressing farther up the trail, I reach the sixth mile sign. Dried, black gunk smears over the number, probably from eggs or bird shit. As I take the first step, the sun ducks behind a cloud. No birds chirp. Not even the rustle of leaves breaks the humid silence. Going back down would mean facing Dalilah with her perfect body bouncing up my drive to return my baseball cap. She should keep it.

Each step adds unease, but it’s probably my imagination. Up through the trees, a contraption of sticks peaks through. I speed up. It could be a trap, maybe for a bear. Bears don’t hike this trail. Vampire trap?

The sticks form a teepee with a string dangling down in the center. My hands reaches out to take the string. Tied to the end of the string is a small, white and yellow tooth. Staggering back, the string wraps around my wrist and I tug. The rope snaps. The tooth touches my skin. I throw it and turn to run. My foot catches and my face squishes against boobs. “Andrew, we need to talk.”


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