Legal Theft Flash Fiction: Longest Days (474 words)

And so begins the longest five days of my life.

Begins? No. Begin. I think. My grammar has gotten rusty. And so begin the longest five days of my life. That sounds right.

Maybe it’s begins.

I have a grammar book on my shelf. It’s a little old, a little beat up. Probably from all the scraps it’s gotten into with me. I have a way of losing arguments that I never should have stepped into, and throwing my opponent across the room in a last-ditch attempt to win.

If I could chuck the next five days against the wall, I would. But if I could get a grip on something as heavy as a day, I would just drag it immediately into the past and be done with it.

Anything to not just sit and wait through the hours.

Begin. I’m about ninety-nine percent certain. Plural noun days gets its matching sweetheart plural verb begin.

Ninety-eight percent certain. And a half.

I consider crossing the room to get the grammar book. Three seconds there, and three seconds back to my rolling chair. The time spent didn’t seem worth the effort. And opening the grammar book would be counterproductive, stretching time instead of cinching it tight.

No. The book should stay where it is.

Begins?

The comms crackle. I think they do it just to make me jump up and race for the Press to Speak key on the far side of the panel. I can’t find a reason why technology should ever make that noise.

“Leah?” Ben says on the other side of the speaker panel. “You there?”

“Yes,” I say. Then I remember to actually push the key down. “I’m here.”

He hesitates before he speaks again, like he heard something in my tone. “You okay?”

“Going crazy,” I say. “Any luck?”

“No,” he says. “You… uh… You good and broke that submarine. You’re going to have wait for us to reach you.”

“Tomorrow?” I ask, hopeful that I can con time into being on my side.

There’s a long pause. I imagine Ben laughing on the other side, too polite to hold the key down and let me hear. “One hundred, twenty-one hours,” he says. “And I’ll be the idiot in the scuba suit knocking on the hatch.”

“Rescuing the idiot in the broken boat,” I say. I try not to sink straight to the floor. “Okay.”

The comms start to crackle again. I hurry to push the button one more time. “Ben?”

“Yeah?” he says.

“Help me out?” I ask.

Another pause. “I can’t do anything for you until we get down there.”

“No, no no,” I say. “Just… Begin or begins?”

A very long pause. I think he’s blinking at his control panel. But I need an answer, or I’ll go mad.

“Go to sleep, Leah,” he says.

I’m a thief! I stole the first line of this piece from my friend, Kels. Be sure to check out her blog tomorrow to see the original piece she wrote.

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