Flash Fiction – Worked to Death

Have you ever read any Flash Fiction? It is the telling of a whole story in a very short number of words. Some flash fiction sites ask for as little as 53 words. Others as many as 2000. Two sentence horror stories fall under Flash Fiction.

I wrote this little flash story to a 500 word maximum. Enjoy!


Worked to Death

Max Caufield sat at his grand mahogany desk as twilight filtered through the arched windows of his home office. Still in his suit, he tapped at the keyboard. He’d sent his wife and son on ahead to the restaurant.

Beep. His phone.

“Damn,” he breathed and punched “Accept.” “What?” he snapped.

“Get out of the house,” a familiar voice ordered on the other end of the line.

“What the hell? I don’t have time—”

“You’re right, you don’t. At 6:42 today, you are going to switch on your desk lamp and trigger an explosion from a gas leak.”

Max glanced at his watch. 6:39. Damn, Jillian would make him go back to counseling if he didn’t show up for dinner.

“Jerry, is that you?” Max asked as he cradled the cell phone into his shoulder, tapping a few more numbers into the spread sheet. His brother had the same deep voice he had. Even their mother couldn’t tell them apart. “Look, I have to get a report into my boss—”

“Shut up!” yelled the voice. “Just get the hell out of the house! It’s going to explode, you ass.”

A prickle spider-walked between Max’s shoulder blades under his Paul Fredrick dress shirt. For a brief second his gaze left the computer screen to focus on the dark wood paneling in the dimming room, shaking off the chill.

“How do you know that?”

“Because I’m you. It happened. It will happen! I listened when the call came. If you don’t get out this time, I won’t exist to go back and warn you.”

Max glanced around his office. Was he being pranked? Filmed right now? Maybe Jillian was taping it all to replay at his 50th birthday party that he knew she was secretly plotting. “Shit, Jerry, I really don’t need this right now,” he said and refocused on the screen. Let Jillian film him not being fooled.

“Please Max, just go outside. Grab a cigar from your hidden stash under the gnome in the garden and go light up by the pool. Just go!”

Max frowned. How did Jerry know about his cigars? Shit, had he told Jillian? “Damn it, Jerry,” he said, his anger ratchetting up.

“Fine,” the voice said, his words coming quicker. “I’m Jerry, and I’m outside, and I need you to come out right now.”

That was more like it. Good old Jerry, trying to prank him again, but this time was different. This time Max had won. He grinned and stood, phone to his ear. “Yeah, okay—”

Bing. An e-mail came in. From his boss. Max sat back down as he read.

He turned his head to look at the phone he was holding. Weird. Why was he holding it? “Hello?” he said, but the phone was silent. Nobody was on the line.

He shrugged and set the phone down. “Now what was I doing?” he mumbled and blinked. Ugh, it was getting late. He reached for the lamp and switched it on. 

3 thoughts on “Flash Fiction – Worked to Death”

  1. Carole Burant says:

    HA! That will teach him! lol Loved it!!

  2. Laura says:

    Very well done!

  3. Patricia Barraclough says:

    Well that was a short lesson on not letting your work dominate your life until there is no time left to enjoy it.

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