Twelve Days of Fast Fiction, Day 10: COPULA NUMB

Posted: 22 December 2013 in 12DaysFF, fast fiction, fiction, writing
Tags: , , , , ,

Kelly Sue DeConnick writes comics that grab your heart and brain in equal measure, tell them to pay attention and assure them they’ll be rewarded. And they always are. I love how she tackles speech patterns and dialogues; you couldn’t confuse any of the characters in her stories for any others, and her skills grow with each book she writes. She’s another person I want to meet; not only to say thank you for her stories, but that’s a big part of it.

Kelly Sue DeConnick stores abandoned steam engines in her basement

Title: Copula Numb
Word: ortolan
Challenger: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Length: 200 words exactly

The thick nib obliterated today’s numbers on the cheap paper of the ortolan decorated calendar.

The morning ritual had commenced. Later would come exercise, leaping around in meaningless activity for the sake of meaningless routine.

Shortly before breakfast, she would hear measured steps, a slow, regular tread, followed by unconscious but resigned disappointment as he passed her door. No post today.

And there they were, she thought, sipping tepid blandness she’d obtained from a rusty tap. She heard footsteps approaching, then stop; the unmistakable sound of the flap opening, followed by something falling.

She’d expected nothing other than another day alone, no emotional linkage to anyone or anything

And yet, there it was on the floor: a square envelope undoubtedly containing a card of the season.

Someone remembered her; that suddenly mattered more than she’d realised. Somebody cared.

Unless they didn’t. Unless it was delivered in error, or was something everyone automatically got.

Genuine? False hope? Shrödinger’s card lie there, taunting her.

She stared at the envelope for a long time, wondering whether to open it, never knowing nor caring that the physical prison in which she was incarcerated could never match the psychological jail sentence she was currently serving.

© Lee Barnett, 2013

This story is part of The Twelve Days of Fast Fiction (More information on the Twelve Days here)
Day 01: The Misanthropic Principle – challenger: Jamais Cascio
Day 02: Robot Ghosts of Apocalypse – challenger: Cherie Priest
Day 03: Every Word Is Wrong – challenger: Si Spurrier
Day 04: The Train Didn’t Come – Challenger: Emma Vieceli
Day 05: Living Happily Ever After – Challenger: Neil Gaiman
Day 06: Embargoed Until Midnight – Challenger: Corrie Corfield
Day 07: He’s Making A List – Challenger: Mitch Benn
Day 08: Fingers On The Windowpane – Challenger: Leah Moore
Day 09: Santa Abduction Narratives Recalled – Challenger: Paul Cornell
Day 11: It Lived Under Monday – Challenger: Sarah Pinborough
Day 12: Batman Sure Likes Tea – Challenger: Tiernan Douieb

Edit to add: An ebook of all twelve stories is available for $0.99. Click here for details.


“There are two hundred stories collected in this volume. They are funny, they are thoughtful, they are romantic, they are frightening. To me, though, they are more than entertaining. They are inspiring.” – Wil Wheaton, from his introduction to volume 2 of The Fast Fiction Challenge

Two volumes of The Fast Fiction Challenge, containing 180 stories in Volume 1 and a further 200 stories in Volume 2, for £3.00 each, are available in ebook format from the author; email for details.

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