Today, we’re sharing the second place finalist from our Flash Fiction Contest, selected by Kathy Fish. “The Remains” by Felicity Fenton: “Apocalyptic, unnerving, horrifying, and strange, this is another flash that begins with a great first line: ‘Earlier there was talk of explosion buttons and who might push them.’ I was in awe of the world building this writer managed in fewer than 500 words. There is also a stunning use of language throughout. I will not soon forget the powerful imagery of this piece nor how perfectly uneasy it made me feel.”
The button was scheduled to be pushed on a Wednesday, hump day, a day office workers considered easier than Tuesdays, but a day that still carried the heavy load of ongoing data entry, return on investments, and post-work body maneuvers such as pull-ups, back handsprings, and cyber football.
Earlier there was talk of explosion buttons and who might push them. Sidewalks, porches, begonias, all of it could come shaking down with one finger. It’s likely houses may sink low and soggy. Be prepared to swim. Make sure to store enough potable water, aspirin, and emergency blankets. Plan on there being no way out unless your fisted hands can punch through windows. Practice breathing in four counts. One, two, three, four. Strengthen your abdomen by gulping in sea air. Don’t confuse squirrels by ripping off their walnuts. You will need protein. Go ahead, eat shore clams.
Placards marched through school cafeterias and abandoned malls. Uproarious No’s shrieked everywhere. Votes were taken to adopt a leader. Ivy league. Old money. Tall. Broadcasts warned: toes, arms, and elbows will come off in lumpy drips. As a precautionary, use petroleum salve.
Drink aloe vera. Alternate the opening and closing of left and right nostrils by using the index finger and thumb. Caress canines before shooting them in the head.