Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Flash Fiction #3 - What if?

Hahaha ok so I promised this one would be shorter and it is. Still not quite to 1000, but closer. Since the first draft was close to 5000, I’m pretty impressed by the brutal editing employed. Very different tone from the last one. Enjoy :) N thanks for reading!

What if?

You ever have one of those days where you really should've stayed in bed? Well my day definitely started out that way -- but if it hadn't, my life would never have taken the fantastic turn it did.

So it started as all my weekdays do, with the rather annoying Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. of my alarm clock. The covers felt so heavy I couldn't possibly lift them.

The next time I woke it was nearly an hour later and I was late for my job as an unappreciated secretary. I dashed out the door into the rain praying traffic was over and I could get there quickly.

That is, until I turned the key in the ignition. Click. Try it again, holding firm to the fool's hope that the same stimulus will create a different response. And once again I was rewarded with a resolute "click".

At the mechanic’s I settled into wait. I offered a brief smile to the elderly lady in the other available chair to which she nodded in response. There was an ancient TV playing in the corner of the room, but no sound and the people all had a sort of green tinge to them.

Moments later my internal muttering was interrupted by the elderly lady handing me something before going to claim her vehicle. I had a moment's thought of my long-past grandmother before I took a closer look at what I'd been given. A piece of paper and a box of crayons? Bemused I opened the box -- sure enough a Crayola 8-pack, just like in kindergarten.

It was just odd enough that it lightened my mood despite my grumpy intentions. And like most adults, there's still a child in me and that child wanted to draw with crayons.

So I took out the green crayon and started to draw a tree. Everybody can draw a tree. And next a black cat, sitting under the tree. And with the yellow I made a big smiley sun. All the pretty colours drew a rainbow, under which I drew the requisite pot of gold, with a single flower growing out of it. Starting to feel rather proud of my artwork (which looked like something the average five-year-old might present proudly to his mother), I got braver in my drawing. Off to one side of the page, far away from my smiling sun, I drew a gravestone, and buried under the grave was my poor dead car. Particularly artistic I thought.

When the mechanic returned, I rapidly stuffed my art in my bag, suddenly embarrassed by my childish entertainment. As I had dreaded, the prognoses was not good. I left, on foot, trying to figure out where I was going to get the money for a new car. The old one was evidently not going to drive me anywhere again. The only good thing was that the sun had come out so at least I wasn't hiking in the rain.

I walked the few blocks to the local used car lot, absently stopping to right a flowerpot that had been blown over near the entrance. Stuck under it was an already scratched and discarded lottery ticket; looking at it, I was surprised to see one box still unscratched. I dug out a penny and scratched that last box, figuring it was a waste of time, but hey somebody always wins -- why not me? The remaining square revealed a treasure box. Flipped the card over to read the rules - a diamond was $5, a tree was $50, a rainbow was $500, a flower was $5000, and a treasure chest was $50,000. In stunned disbelief I flipped the card back, sure enough the treasure chest was still staring at me. Turned it over again and read through all the fine print nobody ever reads. Skill testing question, 1 in 10,000 odds of winning, not legal in Quebec, blahblahblah.

My mind rushed over the options faster than you can imagine, while at the same time cautioning myself not to get too excited about the impossible. Five k would go towards buying another vehicle, and trust me a 5k vehicle is a significant step up than anything I've ever driven! The rest, however, would be startup funds so I could open a flower shop and get out of that horrendous office.

I turned away from the used car lot and walked to the convenience store. Trying for nonchalance, I held it under the self-check lottery scanner. Winner!

As crazy as this day was becoming, I still had to go to work. It took everything I had not to tell everybody there. Instead I stole a few moments to google prize claim instructions, and otherwise moaned appropriately about the death of my car, arranged a ride home from a co-worker, and generally did everything my mindless job required throughout the rest of the day.

At lunch time I adopted a kitten. I know, random eh? But the SPCA was doing an adoptathon in the yard, and this one had personality. It wouldn't have anything to do with anybody else but when I walked by it mewed w/ a slightly demanding tone, and, well, how can you ignore a cat that seems to have an almost human expression?

By the time I got home he'd been named BK for, you got it, Black Kat. He and I both knew that using a C was just entirely too mundane for such a distinguished being. I took BK in, let him out of his cardboard box and watched him explore his new home before emptying my purse of the crayons and image from the morning. It was then that I realized I had drawn my day entirely. From the death of my car, to finding the pot of gold under a flower -- even BK had a place in the drawing.

I looked at the crayons rather suspiciously. Surely it was just a fluke that everything I had drawn had come true, but the little "what if" trigger was going in my brain. What if I COULD draw a future? I could draw my garden shop. I could draw my friends their dreams. I could draw peace... hmmm well actually I can't draw at all so probably best to stay away from abstract concepts, but I'm sure I could draw food for starving countries... I picked up the crayon -- no harm in trying right? Just as I was putting crayon to paper, BK hopped up on the table and started knocking them off one at a time. Smiling at the kitten's antics I reached down to retrieve them, but I must've held one wrong because it snapped, and the sound of it startled me because it sounded wrong. Then it was there again. Beep. Ugh, alarm clock. Beep. Beep. Enough already. I rolled over and hit snooze, disappointed that it had all been a dream.

But then I felt the bed move... What??? I sat up, instantly awake, only to see BK stop kneading the blankets and look up at me curiously.


Nice story! Can I borrow your box of crayons? Please???


I call next on the crayons! Now, how to draw a mansion by the sea with wood paneled library.


Don't hog the crayons, yall. Pass 'em!


Lots of crayons to go around! Just have to convince the cat to tell you where he hid them!


What a pleasant story! Went wonderfully with my morning coffee and now I'm eyeing my daughter's crayons with new hope. Thanks for brightening my morning :)


The exact same thing happened to me the other day. Regretably, I'm such a horrible artist that the tree died, the pot of gold was a bucket of apples, the cat turned out to be an ill-tempered goat and I didn't get a rainbow, just rain......

Good story. Keep 'em coming


Thanks for posting another story for #fridayflash.

Nice story. I am amazed you managed to cut nearly 4000 words. Impressive.

Too bad the spell was broken. But, if the cat is still there...


I want some crayons!!- Fun stuff.


I liked that a lot. You described reality for the narrator perfectly, and knitted the surreal bits in seamlessly (well, they would be seamless if they were knitted, but you know what I mean).
Why did the woman give the narrator the crayons?
And can I join the queue to borrow them please?


Uh, never mind the crayons, I want the address of that little old lady. She might have some other tricks up her sleeve!

Cute story. Good job on the editing -- that can be rough, but you did an excellent job.



Liked the build-up of this. The idea of crayons that make things real is a great one.


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