Today is Halloween, so of course, we decided we needed a spooky writing challenge at FADE IN: Beirut. In honor of our upcoming Flash Fiction workshop, we decided these should be super-short stories that give you a chill! We spent 10 minutes jotting these stories down. Check them out and then you try it!
She turns on her heels to take a good look around. At this moment, she is in the middle of what she thinks must have been a family room. She tries to imagine this family, her ancestors, great-great something-or-others, drinking coffee here, talking, are they laughing or crying? Then the phone rings. The vibration of the sound waves move the dust into the air and the particles begin to float back to the ground. Strange thing is, the phone line had been cut off to this house for decades. It rings again.
– Nadia Tabbara, founder | writer
I was looking down at the cobblestones, which is to say, I was looking down at my feet. Not because I’m not confident, no, it’s because cobblestones really annoy me. Somehow, I always end up twisting my ankle over a stone that just isn’t right and I know, I just know that no one will ever fix it. This is all to say, that I didn’t notice the journal on the ground until I almost stepped on it. I pick it up and find my thoughts being written into it just as I am thinking them. I drop it and it lands with a thud back on the cobblestones. I look up, because I suppose that’s what you do, and there in the sky, there’s a giant version of myself, tattered salt-and-pepper beard, thin-rimmed glasses, looking right down at me as if I am stuck in one of those crystal balls. But wait, he’s not looking at me, he’s writing something, which is to say, I’m writing something. The words in the journal continue to form as I continue to think, or write. Or think. Or write… Or think.
– Nadia Tabbara, founder | writer
His senses come alive as he makes his way through the only event that brings life to this small town. The sun shines bright and the color red is everywhere, just as he remembered it, only this time it was more alive; redder than it had ever been. The sounds all mix in together to play one tune; from the music coming from the carousel to the sounds of the children who had been waiting for this event all year long. And then there is this smell. Sure, there are many smells, from the cotton candy to the corn on the cob and the roasted peanuts, but there is one smell that stands out. He makes his way towards the edge of the fair, turning around to take one last look. He smiles; something he had not done since the last day he had spent in this town. The sounds and noises had since died out, leaving only the sound of his heavy steps against the gravelly road. And the smell… the smell fills his lungs. He wipes his palms against his pants, leaving a trail of red against the fabric. The same red that ran like a river down the street. The knife is next, wiping the blood off it against his once white shirt. He turns around, turns his back to the sleepy town and walks away; the same way he had done two decades ago, this time with a smile on his face.
– Yasmine Mehio, fadein trainer | screenwriting
The door creaks in quarterly intervals. Twice. Three times. Six. The door slams shut, windows shake and curtains sway, but Emily, Emily doesn’t flinch. She is not fazed by the racket. Five candles have been burnt out and she is still rocking in her chair. Fading flickering lights up frizzing gray in dim candlelight. The little boy sees her from his bedroom window, rocking; he’s never noticed her before and he’s just watching. The bricks drip moss and viscous burgundy. Then his mother walks in and finds him there. “You know, that pile of rubble was Auntie Emily’s house; she would have loved you.” The rocking stops. Emily looks out her window at her young nephew and smiles.
– Youmna Bou Hadir, fadein Youth Trainer, Community Liaison | Fiction Writer
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