On Chuck Wendig’s blog, he does weekly flash fiction prompts. I decided to take a stab at it this week. The challenge this time was to create story of less than 1000 words, but to make it 10 chapters long. As usual I made my task a little harder and decided to kill 10 people in my story as well. I decided to call it Ten Little Deaths. I hope you enjoy it.
They had all promised to keep in touch, but ten people with disparate lives and no real connections didn’t have much hope of that. They’d all just happened to be on the same subway car when an explosion collapsed the tunnel. James was certain that it had been a group hallucination. He’d read about those in a science magazine one time. He’d gone about his life as if it had been just another bad day. He’d married his fiancee and had two beautiful children. He kissed his children goodnight and slid into bed beside his wife. His last thoughts were that if he didn’t wake the next day, he wouldn’t have changed a thing.
Molly reached up one last time with her pick and heaved. It had been an amazing ten years since the subway accident. She could tell that some of them didn’t believe that their lives would be over in a decade. She did. She hadn’t wasted a single fucking minute of those years, even though she’d only been sixteen years old. She patted her tattoo of Mt. Everest and smiled. Ten years of raising hell and traveling the world culminated in her being on the world’s tallest mountain when she collapsed with a smile on her face.
“Thanks, man,” said David, paying the vendor and handing a hot dog to his date. “So, a crappy movie and crappy food. I really know how to treat a lady.”
“I love crappy movies, and hot dogs are one of my favorite foods.” She took a bite and truly seemed to enjoy it.
David smiled and turned the corner into the park, leading his date on one of his favorite walks in the city. A large blocky figure loomed in their path. Shots rang out before David understood they were being mugged. “May tenth?” he asked pointing to his watch. His date looked confused and then nodded. “Fuck…”
“Another day, another occult store…” Juliet pulled open the door and sighed. At least it would be the last one. Either it would work or it wouldn’t matter. This one had come highly recommended. Strangely it was in the middle of nowhere in the northern California redwoods.
As usual, this place reeked of patchouli, but there was something else on the air. Something wrong.
The man stepping through the beaded curtain was the source. He smelled of brimstone and death, just like he had that day.
“Sorry luv, couldn’t let you squirm your way out of our deal.”
“Wanna go again?” asked, Ayu, her chest still heaving from their last bout of lovemaking.
“You are insatiable, aren’t you?” said Ana, her pail white hand raising goosebumps on Ayu’s dark skin as she lightly traced her thigh.
“Well, we’ve only had ten years together. We’ve spent enough of that time out of the bed. I want to go out with a bang.” Ayu smirked and waited.
“Oh, that’s terrible! For that pun I’m making you do me first!”
“Gladly!” said Ayu, pouncing on Ana.
Neither of them even noticed when the car crashed through their bedroom wall.
Mia wrote dozens of different drafts and deleted them all. Finally she decided to keep it simple. Use the insurance money to change the world. Sorry I couldn’t be there to see it happen. I’ll miss you all.
She printed it off and sealed it in with her Will.
It was time for one last walk through the poor neighborhood she was trying so desperately to save. She assumed that someone would finally be desperate enough to take her life for the money in her pocket. She didn’t blame them.
She was wrong. It was a drunk, rich, asshole in a Mercedes.
“I think it was those tacos on Cinco de Mayo,” said Daniel, gasping for breath. “That’s the last time I eat at a Mexican place called ‘El Baño’.”
“‘El Baño?’ What the hell are you talking about?” Liam chuckled and then broke into a coughing fit. “That place was called Su Casa, and it was amazing food. You know damn well it was that demon that killed us, right?”
There was no answer. “Daniel?”
“I loved you too, you idiot.”
“Mom? What’s wrong?” asked Leah, her lip trembling.
“Nothing, Sweetie. I just need some rest. Grandma will take care of you while I sleep.”
“Don’t lie to me. I know you’re dying.”
“You always were a smart one, maybe that’s how you do it.”
“Do what, Mom?”
“Save the world,” said Joanna, closing her eyes with a sigh.
“I don’t think so. I’m sorry I never showed you before. I didn’t want to scare you.” Tears rolling down her cheeks, Leah scooped her mother up in her tiny arms and flew out the window.
“Everybody just calm down,” hissed Joanna. “You’re scaring my baby. Rescue crews will be down here soon enough.”
“They will love, but not in time for your baby,” said the well-dressed man that she didn’t remember seeing on the subway car before. “And you’re right, I wasn’t on this car before just now.”
“How did you know–”
“Because I’m a demon, love, and I’ve got a proposition for you. All of you as a matter of fact.” He turned his all black gaze to each of them in succession and all doubt left their minds.
“You can choose to do nothing and rescue crews will come to save you and you can live the rest of your natural lives. Only the child will die. Or you can live ten years more and save the babe. The choice is up to you.”
In the end it was no choice at all.
“You’ve chosen wisely, kiddos. That child will be the savior of all mankind.”
“But you’re a demon, why would you?”
“The Apocalypse isn’t my department.”