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Downstream

This is a piece of micro fiction. Enjoy.

Downstream
by Dustin Driver

“Are you OK?” asks Olhado.

“Sure.”

His silhouette dances against the glare of the sun like a reflection in a funhouse mirror. The throbbing in my head is getting worse. I doubt I could stand if asked.

“You don’t look so good,” he replies.

“I’m fine, I’m just hot.”

The air is thick with heat. Something screeches in the canopy. I flinch, shaking the canoe. Olhado keeps rowing and we glide into the jungle. The trees stand on spindly roots that reach into the water like hands. In my peripheral vision I catch one of them moving, repositioning its hold on the muddy water. I peer into the jungle and rub my eyes. Then I notice the film on my hands. It’s also on my forehead, beading up where sweat should be. It’s thick, translucent. “How much further?” I ask Olhado. Nothing seems familiar.

“Not far,” he replies.

Again a tree moves, this time in plain view. I look to Olhado for conformation, but he just rows. I look back into the jungle and one of the trees reaches for me. I gasp and shut my eyes. When I open them it’s not reaching anymore.

Just breathe.

I lean back into the bow of the canoe.

“Sir!” says Olhado.

“What, what?” I sit up, dizziness overwhelms me. I barely see Olhado pointing into the jungle. He seems excited. Or maybe frightened? His figure jumps in and out of darkness. The throbbing in my head gets louder; I can’t hear what he’s saying. Something about the trees? I fall forward, paralyzed. My face hits the bench in front of me and my tongue flops out onto the moldy wood. I taste something before I black out. Chocolate Sundae?

Huh?

I don't know how to rate this. It's a beginning without a middle or an end. The writing's good, but it's not a whole story. Not even for flash fic. (Unless I'm really missing something, 'cuz I have no idea what happened at the end.)

Is there more?

--Dan
www.Bayn.org

Nope

Nope, that's it. Just a quick piece. Not really meant to have a middle or end. Just a little flash, not really a story at all.

kelson.philo's picture

But it could be, with some

But it could be, with some additional work. You've got some excitement here, why not build on it? Work up some background on the explorer and his guide.

This was more of an

This was more of an exercise. I like the ambiguity, the fact that the reader has to guess what's going on, what's next.

Think I'll leave this one alone and work on new projects.

Well, we might not know for

Well, we might not know for certain what might happen next, but I'm pretty sure it's not going to be pleasant!

This is an evocative scene and the ending gives it a punch, so it does work as flash fiction. But I could see you returning to this setting in a future story sometime. Seems like it has potential.