Payment Failed

This 100 word micro-fiction story was a submission to the NYC Midnight writing contest. The prompts were as followed: genre: horror, action: making a down payment, needed word: piece.

Unfortunately the story didn’t rank in the winning top fifteen, but it still felt worthy of being read.

A funny bit of information about myself: I grew up loving horror (Stephen King for example), and any media that had a surreal, supernatural, or unexplainable plot (House of Leaves/Mark Z. Danielewski for example). These days, I find myself mostly avoiding reading horror (though House of Leaves remains my favorite book) and practically never writing it. With that being said, I felt pretty good about the end product, even if it pushed me outside of my comfort zone with the genre and content I wrote. With that, below is “Payment Failed.”

.

.

.

Years ago, at Dominion’s Conception Superstore, we sold our innocence to afford the down payment we made on Ayanna’s life subscription.

Today, Dominion returned with a gavel-like knocking as Ayanna played blissfully in the garden.

Their associate beamed. “Good day. I’m Reaper. I’m here to repossess the child due to subscription payment failure.”

“Please. No.”

“Request denied. Payment failure limit reached.”

I hadn’t heard Ayanna come inside. She handed me a Chrysanthemum. Reaper smiled down at her.

“Excellent. She will be recycled piece by piece to fuel our workers.” As they departed, he yelled: “Please remember to rate your purchase!”

200 words or less: Holding Euphoria

When the child looked into the well, they saw nothing, for darkness had devoured it all.

A rope, in one piece that should have been two, looped around the pulley shaped lump of rust above the child. The child’s heart ached a cry so desperate that the child obeyed, extending the tips of their fingers to the paradoxical twine.

The child began to pull, coarse and dry caresses against their palms and fingers.

Through the nothing, something rose. The something rose until it rested on the well’s maw.

The something was a bucket. In the bucket was water as clear and clean as the air that the child held captive in their lungs.

Into the liquid, the child put their dry and raw hands, and their hands drank the water until the aridness was quenched and the roughness was smoothed.

The child tried picking up the water in their hands. They wanted to keep this feeling forever.

The water escaped through distracted and busy fingers, and was suddenly gone as the parched desert below swallowed it.

They ached again to feel the purpose and grandeur of the water, so they cast the bucket, to again quench and soften their hands.