I was originally not excited at the prospect of writing Flash Fiction even though I love to write. Most of the writing projects that I have worked on that are narrative based inside and outside of school have been at least the length of an essay, and most of my personal writing projects are much longer. The idea of writing Flash Fiction, which is generally below a thousand words, but usually much shorter, was daunting because I wasn’t sure how to write a cohesive story arc within the confines of such small parameters. How could I write a story with interesting characters, a logical introduction, a compelling conflict, and a satisfying resolution within the space of five hundred words or less as mandated by the guidelines for the assignment? The answer to that question is not terribly simple: it lies in a combination of picking the right characters and story to tell, ensuring that the story arc is very focused, creating a specific conflict scaled for the story, and restricting the story to a more narrow viewpoint than one might if one was writing a longer story.
The first step I took to write my story was to decide on a narrative idea. I decided on the premise of my story after a conversation with my dad, who suggested that I write a simple story about a bacteria or another similarly blobby creature that would be simple to draw. My strength lay in writing, not drawing so I adopted the proposed bacteria as my main character. I named her Morbelle. Then, considering that bacteria aim to spread around as much as they possibly can, I decided that Morbelle would want to ride a train. Based on those ideas, I wrote the story below.
Morbelle's Magnificant Adventures!
Morbelle was a bacteria. She was grown-up now and she was traveling the globe. As a young bacteria she had listened intently to the stories of other older, more sophisticated bacteria who had traveled the world and now she was living her dream.
Morbelle gazed with rapt attention at the city she was approaching on the top of a large boat floating in the harbor of a great city. The cityscape was almost too much to take in as salty gusts buffeted her. She gazed in awe at the massive structures that dominated the city’s skyline. There was so much for her to explore! [a]She quickly began to compose a list of all the things she wanted to do while she was here. First on her list was riding the subway.
Contrary to other bacteria, she had always been more fascinated by the gigantic engineering marvels created by Sapiens than the Sapiens themselves. As the boat docked and the Sapiens began to disembark, she rolled down off of the smokestack she had been perched on.[b] She let herself be picked up by the breeze, rolled and spun around until she had her bearings at which point she deftly switched currents until she floated gracefully down the stairs to the subway platform.
She landed on the hat of an unsuspecting Sapien who was waiting to get a train, just like her, but probably for different reasons. It didn’t seem like these creatures rode the amazing things they’d created for the fun of it. On the contrary, they stood around as if bored. Morbelle couldn’t understand[c] how could they be so apathetic when they got to ride on this amazing transportation system that wove through the bowels of their city![d] Well, Morbelle was certainly excited enough to make up for their disappointing dispassion.
She waited expectantly in the midst of the crowd for the train to come so that she could get on and see what it was like and how it worked. Time passed and she began to grow impatient. After what seemed like hours she heard sounds that signaled the approach of the highly anticipated subway cars. She leaned forward to get a better view, and was thrilled to see the lights of the train approaching. The train screeched to a halt at the platform where the crowd of Sapiens, including the one that Morbelle had hitched a ride on rushed forward to board the train. Morbelle watched in fascination as the doors opened and Sapiens streamed out.
The loud babble of talking and train announcements filled the platform as the waiting passengers surged onto the train. Morbelle was on the train! She could barely contain her excitement as she flipped and twirled down onto the tall pole that served as a handhold for the thousands of Sapiens that rode this train every day. For a wondrous hour she watched the ebb and flow of the Sapiens passengers as they bustled between the different parts of the city. Soon she realized that she was the only one riding the train. Morbelle had the whole place to herself! She was a little tired after her long day, so she [e]relaxed on the pole that she was already sitting on[f]. The train slid to a stop, and a subway worker got on. Morbelle didn’t pay much attention to what the Sapien was carrying, but when she got closer, Morbelle realized that the Sapien was carrying antibacterial spray and a cloth.
Morbelle started to panic; she was a bacteria and the stuff that the Sapien was carrying was specifically engineered to kill her and her kind. Maybe all of the Sapien’s engineering marvels weren’t as marvelous as Morbelle thought.
The Sapien began to draw nearer[g], spraying and wiping poles and handles down as she went. Morbelle fled, sliding down the pole and dropping onto the floor where she scrambled to get to the grooves right in front of the subway car’s door. She cowered, shaking, in the dirty groove as the Sapien sprayed and wiped down the pole that she had just been on. This world was different than she thought, more dangerous, more hostile. Her thoughts raced while the train slowed and Morbelle climbed up the steep side of the groove to make the leap from the train car to the platform. The subway train ground to a halt, the pistons of the doors hissed, and the doors slid open. Morbelle threw herself off of the edge of the train. She flew over the gap between the train and the platform. The seconds seemed to stretch longer and longer as Morbelle closed the distance to the platform. Morbelle slammed into the stone of the platform as the train started to move. She moved back from the edge of the platform as she watched the train blast by. Wind whipped Morbelle, and the train, along with the Sapien, the cloth, and the antibacterial spray, disappeared into the tunnel.