30 days of short stories #1 [flash fiction]


This marks the beginning of a writing exercise. I am going to write short stories for 30 days. The minimum amount of stories I wish to complete in this time is 15. 30 is my stretch goal. Should be fun. Thanks for reading.

An Ocean of Trains

As Amber closed her work laptop at 5 o’clock, she saw Muffins at the door, leash in her mouth.

“You’re going to have to wait a few minutes.”

Amber went to the calendar on the wall and marked an X for the day she had just lived. Next week it will be six months of quarantine. Six months since parties, dinners with friends, picking up hot girls at bars. Six cursed months of abstinence. The only times she ever left the apartment were to pick up groceries and walk Muffins.

“All right, Muffins. Let’s get the fuck out of here.” Muffins knew those words very well. They meant she could go to the outside place and smell stuff. She got very excited, and she wanted to jump up and down, but you could only perceive her excitement by quickening of tail movement. Amber attached the leash.

Leaving the house, they were immediately pelted by those scorching August rays. Amber put on her sunglasses and her mask. Muffins was ready to walk.

They walked about half a block down the street, where they parted with the pavement in favor of a trailhead half obscured by tall grasses and cacti. This neighborhood was filled with hidden nature trails if you knew where to look. Amber and Muffins had been exploring for over a year and they still hadn’t found all the hidden gems that the neighborhood had to offer.

It was jackrabbit season. They were breeding like hamsters. Muffins could smell them all over the place and started darting left and right. Amber calmed her down with a couple tugs on the leash.

The trail forked and Amber stayed right. This was the path to the railroad.

Amber grew up in a bungalow next to the ocean. The churn of the waves always put her to sleep. There is something about a thing so powerful being so gentle — carrying so many monsters but yet singing so beautifully — there was nothing more comforting than this.

Now, landlocked, she always tried to live by the railroad tracks. Because trains are the oceans of the land. Great beastly churnings: an anachronistic steel leviathan lurching through the hidden boroughs of the country.

Amber and Muffins saw a male/female couple approach from the other end of the trail. They saw the woman and her dog and affixed their masks. As they passed, Amber steadied Muffins to make sure she didn’t jump up. The couple waved.

Amber said, “She misses people.”

The man said, “Don’t we all.”

Amber and her dog walked a ways down the path. She heard the bells ringing for the railroad street crossing. “The train is coming,” she said to no one. “I wonder if it’s headed to the ocean.”

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