Flash Fiction: Refuge

Whenever in a new place, after hours of sightseeing, I make a point of seeking refuge. I do this by visiting the public library. Why? Because it’s quiet, calm and open to all. No matter who you are, the Library welcomes you. It’s unpretentious that way. 

The library I find myself in today is made of warm red bricks. A small carved stone above the door tells me it was built in 1906. There’s something stout and stable about it, like a reassuring uncle with a firm handshake. Stepping through the front door, I’m greeted with faded carpet, polished wooden shelves and that smell libraries often have, a musty dusty smell that hangs in the nose. Not in an unpleasant way but in a way that makes me want to inhale deeply and then let out a contented sigh. It’s the smell of anticipation, knowing any book could transport me on some yet untold adventure. 

This afternoon I feel inclined to wander through the stacks. Tracing my finger along the many spines, I select one at random and let the pages fall open at will. My eyes absorb a few snatched lines: 

The two fell in love, and nothing ever went smoothly from there. 

Gently, I close the book on these star-crossed lovers, so as not to disturb them further, and replace the volume back into its own little slot on the shelf. I’m not looking for any drama today. Cozy and warm, they now wait for the next reader. 

Looking up, I see light stream through the main tall glass window. Its checkered pattern stretches cat-like across the floor, tracking the afternoon sun. Outside the sky is blue and clear. The world beckons but I find I want to linger here, between the stacks, and select another book. 

Word count: 299

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What is Flash Fiction?

Flash fiction is a genre of fiction, defined as a very short story. While there’s no set word count that separates flash fiction from more traditional short stories, flash fiction stories can be as short as a few words (while short stories typically run for several pages).

Flash fiction is also known as sudden fiction, short-short stories, micro-fiction, or micro-stories.

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