“Escape” Flash Fiction Story

by E.V. Jacob on February 25, 2013

A recent entry to a Flash Fiction event hosted on Mikaila Manesh’s blog :D  Reposted here just for the fun of it.  The rules were:

1. Must be 1,000 words or less.
2. Must incorporate water somehow.

Tell me how I did in the comments below ;)


My eyes were fixed on Maddie’s coat, hanging by the door. Blue-grey, her favorite color—like the ocean. She’d forgotten it the day she died. She was driving back home to get it, because I couldn’t bring it to her at work, when she got into the accident.

I kept my eyes locked on the coat, because it was easier than looking at the urn on my coffee table.

I didn’t want to think about the urn. For a lot of reasons, but mostly because my divorced parents were on their way over to argue over who got to keep her ashes and belongings.

Listening to them fight was the last thing I wanted to do with my day. I had had enough of that at the funeral, and I was so tired.

When I heard the rumble of a broken-down car pulling up, I peeked out the window. My father, his old car backfiring, had just arrived.

My stomach knotted as I watched him climb out of his car and walk toward our apartment. My apartment. The apartment.

Over and over, one thought kept echoing in my head: I can’t do this.

Without thinking, I darted across the room and snatched up the urn. I had to get out. I had to leave.

As soon as I opened the door, I saw my father making his way down the hall. I slammed the door and locked it, panicking.

My car was just downstairs. If I could get to it…

I grabbed my keys. My coat was in my room. Maddie’s coat—I snatched it off the hook and raced away from the front door just as the knocking started.

The fire escape. That was my only chance. Behind me, the knocking turned to pounding.

I stumbled into Maddie’s bedroom and threw open the window. Looking down made my stomach churn—nine stories doesn’t sound that bad, but it looks awful.

“Jules? Are you in there? Open this door!”

“Okay, Maddie, here we go,” I whispered, tucking her urn under my arm and climbing out onto the fire escape.

When I was about three floors down, I heard a tremendous BANG! I didn’t look up, I just ran faster.

Fifth floor. Fourth floor.

“Juliet! What in the hell are you doing?”

I glanced up to see my father’s angry face glaring down at me.

Hurry. I bolted down the rickety stairs, trying not to panic as I heard him climb onto the fire escape after me. I hadn’t thought this through, but I couldn’t stop now.

Third floor. Second floor.

I reached the ladder, but it was jammed in place. I kicked it a few times.

Above, my father shouted as he made his way toward me. Seventh floor. Sixth.

I remembered reading something about escaping a burning building by hanging from your hands off the second story, then dropping. Would it work? I had to try.

Shaking from adrenaline, I climbed over the rusty railing and awkwardly lowered myself down until I was hanging from the very bottom of the fire escape’s platform. The ground still looked too far away, but I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and let go.

I hit the ground hard, collapsing in a heap. Nothing felt broken, but I still groaned in pain. Maddie’s urn, now a little dented, rolled away. I staggered to my feet, snatched it up, and turned toward my car.

Only to find myself face-to-face with my mother.

She opened her mouth to speak, but before she could, I turned and ran. She called after me as I tore off down the street. I ran as fast as I could, until my legs shook and my stomach churned.

After a while, I slowed down. I walked for a long time, not really going anywhere. It was cold, but I barely felt it. I just clutched the urn close. It was becoming heavy, weighing on me. But still I walked. I didn’t know where to go, but I couldn’t stop. I could smell Maddie’s perfume on her coat. My eyes were stinging, my heart pounding.

The sound of waves made me pause. The ocean. Had I really gone that far? I glanced back, realizing where I was. It was late, the sun sinking into the mountains behind me.

In my hands, the urn almost seemed to be burning now. Maddie had loved the ocean. She’d talked endlessly of visiting them all—she wanted to swim in every sea, but she never got past this one.

On their own, my feet carried me down the empty beach and to the water’s edge. I kicked my shoes off and kept going, surprised by how little I felt the biting cold as I waded in.

When I was about waist-deep, I stopped, letting the waves push me back, then pull me forward.

I realized I was crying. I probably had been for a while, but I hadn’t noticed.

“You deserve better than them,” I muttered to the urn as I unscrewed the lid. “You deserve better than me.”

The lid came off and slipped from my hands, disappearing into the dark water. I didn’t care, I wouldn’t need it.

I tried to think of something meaningful to say, but nothing came to mind. All I could think of was how miserable I was. How awful things were, and how they were going to get so much worse before they got better, if they ever did.

Still crying, I held the urn out over the sloshing water and slowly poured Maddie’s ashes into the sea.

When that was done, I stood watching as the last remains of my sister dissipated, vanishing into the ocean. I stood there until my shivering became too much to ignore.

Wiping my eyes, I turned and headed back to shore. The cold was finally getting to me. Besides, there was nothing left for me here—Maddie was free, and I had a life to try and piece together.

  • Paul Jameson

    Powerful and I was never sure where it was going which kept me hooked. Really enjoyed reading it.

    • http://www.ravenhartpress.com/ Eve Jacob

      Thanks! I’m glad you liked it :) thanks for reading!

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