Welcome to a piece of Wednesday Word’s flash fiction on Darkling Dreams!
A good friend of mine, P.T. Wyant, is doing a blog post every Wednesday called Wednesday Words with a new prompt for a bit of flash fiction writing, just to get in the habit of writing something, anything. (Even if said flash fiction is complete garbage at the time. Garbage is better than nothing though, right?) If you’re looking for some inspiration yourself or just something to aimlessly write, then go check out her blog for this week’s prompt!
With that being said, I am going to share what I came up with for this week’s flash fiction prompt based off an occurence. So here is my very rough around the edges minute of inspiration based off her prompt. I’d love to hear what you guys think of it!
(Please excuse any errors you may see, I said it was rough around the edges.)
One Little Secret
“Are you sure about this?” Bethany asked as the pair climbed through the cut fence onto the condemned and banned property.
The young man looked back to her, holding the wire fence to the side for her to squeeze through with her journalist bag. “This is where the real story went down, not the coerced version the big media news is spreading like a plague.”
“You honestly believe that is all a lie?”
His green eyes twinkled as he grinned at her. “I’m sure of it.”
“How? Jeremy, how can you be so sure if no one else is leaking any sort of answer other than what we have heard on the news?”
He gave a shrug as she made her way through and he let go of the fence, it springing back into place with a clang. “Just one of my gut feelings that–”
“You are never wrong on,” she finished, rolling her eyes. He always had that excuse.
“Come on, how often am I actually wrong on one of these feelings? We get the biggest stories and breaks out of following my gut’s instinct. Lighten up a little.” He nudged her with his elbow lightly and she gave him a mock glare.
“Your gut may have never steered us wrong yet. YET,” she emphasized at the way he wagged his eyebrows smugly, “but this is the first time your gut is leading us to traveling to another country and trespassing onto a banned property. We are asking for trouble here if we are caught.”
Jeremy gave a chuckle, shaking his head as he led her to the perfectly sound house and picked the lock on the back door. “We are just going to snap some photos, take some notes, and find some clues and then we do the rest of our sleuthing back home in our studio in the safe, rural part of Los Angeles. Stop being so paranoid, Bethany. What could possibly go wrong?” he asked, grinning as he heard the lock click back and stood up, opening the door and gesturing her inside with an overdramatic bow. “Ladies first.”
“You’re horrible,” she muttered, crossing her arms over her chest and looking at him flatly. When she didn’t budge he just shook his head again and went in first, her following on his heels as they surveyed the home.
It was an ordinary home; a kitchen, bathroom, living room, dining room, bedrooms and all — but what was unordinary was the walls. Instead of painted walls with hanged family photos and art and decorations, the walls were entirely covered in words written in black sharpie. Line after line of them, flowing around every single room from floor to ceiling. There wasn’t a single bare patch of white drywall anywhere in the home.
“What is all this?” Bethany breathed, her eyes wide as she walked through the rooms, turning in circles and scanning all the walls, reading snippets of the words.
Jeremy was just as observant of the writing on the walls as he walked through. “Look,” he finally called from the entrance hall by the front door. “It all starts in here. Come see.”
She turned her head and then wandered to his side where he pointed out the beginning words written above the doorway. One phrase, like a title, was written in a scrawling cursive, larger than the rest and sitting at the ceiling level. Underneath it was a bit smaller notation, one that made her frown in puzzlement.
“One Little Secret,” she read from the ceiling level, then looked to the line underneath it. “Chapter One? What? What does that mean?”
Jeremy was starting to look elated as he followed the lines of words around the rooms. “Look, here’s Chapter Two.”
“Did the owner of this house write a story on his walls?” she asked, sounding disbelieving and dumbfounded.
Her companion didn’t answer her as he followed along the rows of sentences, his lips moving silently as he read to himself.
Again she was met with no response as Jeremy followed the walls and lines of literature up the stairs and disappeared. She sighed and begrudgingly followed him upstairs, finding him standing in an office-like room, turning in a circle in the center.
He held one finger up to her, his eyes scanning the walls, then he slowly smiled, eyes alight in discovery and amazement. “It has a secret meaning in it,” he breathed.
“What?” She raised a puzzled eyebrow.
“The writing,” he motioned. “There’s a secret message hidden within it. Look.” He walked to the wall, pointing out a letter that was bolder than the rest, and also seemed to be written with a more defining cursive. One wouldn’t have seen it at first glance, but Jeremy’s eyes always picked out the abnormalities fastest. It was what made him such a successful journalist. “There’s letters, all capitalized, that are slightly different. If you follow them with the chapters, like you’re reading a book, they spell out something. A hidden message.”
That started to pique Bethany’s interest and she walked in the room with him. “Are you sure?”
“Positive,” he exclaimed. “I bet it explains what happened to the owner of his house, how everyone says he so mysteriously disappeared.”
She still seemed skeptical, but she followed him back downstairs as he started at the beginning and watched his enthusiasm as he traced his hands over the sharpied walls and picked out the letters.
“Write these down as I say them,” he told her excitedly, reciting out the letters he came across. “O-N-E-L-I-T…”
He kept going, circling the room and following the chapters, then going out in the halls and other rooms as he tracked down the slightly different letters, Bethany following him and writing down each one in order as he went until they found themselves back in the same office room to the final words ‘The End’.
“D,” he finished up, then turned to Bethany, going to her side to peer over her shoulder at her notebook. “What does it spell?”
She studied the letters for a second, picking out where the spaces were supposed to be. “One little secret can overthrow the world,” she read slowly, then frowned and looked to him. “What could that mean? What secret?”
“A secret you two renegades shall never know.”
The two journalists jumped and spun to face the stern voice that greeted them from the doorway. A broad-chested muscle man in a suit stood in the doorway with an unamused frown on his face, his eyes cold. In one hand he held what looked like a can of gasoline.
“Who are you?” Jeremy asked as Bethany’s eyes traveled down to the can, widening slightly in fear.
“Doesn’t matter,” he replied gruffly. Suddenly, he tipped the can of gasoline, spilling it all over the floor in the doorway and the hall as he backed up, careful to not splash any on himself.
“W-What are you doing!?” Bethany screeched in fear.
The strange man dropped the now empty can and reached in his pocket, pulling out a set of matches and lit one, looking back up to them. “Isn’t it obvious? We can’t have you two going anywhere with this information of yours, and we can’t have this evidence stay around. It’s bad for our country. Imagine the new headlines. ‘Condemned house burns to the ground by faulty wiring with squatters inside.’ Oh, wait, that won’t make a headline at all.”
“No! Wait!” Jeremy yelled, going to jump forward to try to stop him.
But there was too much distance between them and the man dropped the lighted match as he slipped away. The gasoline went up in a plume of heat and fire instantly, eliciting panicked screams from within the room of the two now trapped journalists as the flames quickly spread. The burly man didn’t even flinch as he walked calmly back down the stairs and out into the cool night air, listening to the crackle of the fire as it started to spread and engulf all inside the house.
Now you can find this flash fiction work and others on my profile on Wattpad! Click here for my profile and go dive into a sea of Shards of Imagination!