CHALLENGE

It's a mash up title!! A title jamboree? A title ratatouille? Je ne sais pas. But in an effort to work on the idea that a moment is a story in itself, I'm getting my flash fiction under the 1000 word limit. It's good practice for someone prone to effusiveness... Check out what everyone else got up to at terribleminds!

FIVE DAYS OF THE STRAITJACKET

I’m not crazy.

She repeated the mantra in her head, over and over until the words blurred together.

She started counting seconds when they slammed the steel door behind her and left her in cold solitude. But counting seconds is only fun for the first million or so. After that, what’s the point?

“I’m not crazy,” she said in a rasping voice that grated on her ears in the silence. No one replied.

Did she expect one?

When she could no longer trust her mind to remember, she traced the words with her finger against the tiled floor. I’m not crazy - in bold block letters, then cursive script, over and over until she had rubbed her fingertip raw.

And then she waited.

Locked away from time, transition or any sense of the lunar cycles, she felt suspended in animation. How long would pass before they came back? She knew they would. They had to come back. The certainty spread through her thoughts, holding her together as if it were an adhesive. When they came back, she must be sane. But even that came undone eventually. I’m. Not. Crazy.

Something stirred in the shadows. She froze. But it was nothing. She was surrounded by the shadows. Space is nothing but shadows when you take away the stars. She was used to the emptiness of space, but her cell had shrunk the universe and its nothingness into six square feet.

She stayed in the dark and waited. No one came.

I’m not crazy. She tried to say the words aloud but disuse had turned her vocal cords brittle and stiff. It hurt to make sounds and she lapsed back into quiet. What does it matter? There’s no one here to hear me.

Sometimes she would hear something break through the sound. Metal grating against metal, a muffled voice, leather boots against the stone floor. Still no one came.

And then she started to question herself.

I’m not crazy.

But she wasn’t sure what the words meant anymore.