This weekly challenge is brought to us by Thain in Vain.
One flash fiction story a week under 500 words for 52 weeks. Stories must be under 500 words and contain the classic story elements: protagonist, obstacles or complications, and resolution. In essence, a beginning, middle, and end. Keep in mind that the limited length of flash fiction often demands some of these elements remain unwritten–only to be hinted at or implied. Get creative!
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Prompt: “You have ten seconds . . . “
“I don’t know how I let you two talk me into coming tonight. You knew it wasn’t my kind of thing,” said Chrissie.
Tara and James laughed. “Come on admit it. You loved being on that stage and being hypnotized by the Great Cardini,” said Tara.
“What was there to love? It didn’t work and all I have is a wasted evening and a bank balance that is $100 lower.”
Tara and James looked at each other and then back at Chrissie and said in unison, “What do you mean it didn’t work?”
“Just what I said. I stood on the stage for what seemed like 30 minutes while the so called Great Cardini waved his hands around,” said Chrissie as she gestured air quotes when she said Great Cardini.
“You don’t remember racing across the stage, picking up a hammer and doing a smash and grab with that staged jewelry display case when he whispered, “You have ten seconds”?
Chrissie couldn’t explain some blockage of time but she couldn’t believe she had actually been hypnotized. Just now a feeling came over her like she was being controlled. “There was no way that happened. I’d remember.”
“Chrissie why did you start to run off just now?” said James.
“Are you going to be ok? James and I will follow you to be sure you get home safely.”
Later that evening, Chrissie couldn’t sleep. She was restless because she kept trying to piece together the evening in her mind. Why did she have an uneasy feeling after her friend repeated Cardini’s words? Eventually she fell into a fitful sleep.
The following morning, Chrissie still felt out of sorts. She began to think there was some truth to what James and Tara told her. Needing to get to the bottom of the matter, Chrissie picked up the telephone and asked the operator to connect her with the theater.
A receptionist answered, “Thank you for calling the Majestic, home of the Great Cardini.”
“Would it be possible to speak to the Great Cardini?”
“He doesn’t take calls from his public but I’ll connect you with his assistant.”
After a moment, a voice came on the line, “This is Debra. How may I assist you?”
Chrissie told Debra about last night and about what happened afterwards.
“Let me take your name and telephone number. When the boss comes in, I’ll give him your message.”
“Thank you. I’ll leave my mobile number too as I may not be home when he calls.”
After breakfast, Chrissie dressed for the day. Even though she still felt out of sorts, she needed to start her holiday shopping so Chrissie grabbed her keys and drove to the mall. While shopping for a present for her cousin at Bailey Banks and Biddle Fine Jewelers, her mobile phone began vibrating. The display indicated an unknown caller, but Chrissie press the icon to accept the call.
After a brief pause, a man’s voice said, “You have ten seconds…”