Terribleminds Flash Fiction Challenge: Ten Words Will Give You Five


This weeks challenge at Terribleminds, was to select five words out of the given ten.

I chose:

  • Library
  • Ethreal
  • Undertaker
  • Envelope
  • Cube

And this is what I did with it.


Pandora’s Key


‘Hand me the crow-bar Pip’
‘Why are we breaking in to a public Library, Mr Fortune?’ asked Pip while reaching into a plumbers bag he was holding.
‘I’ve told you before Pip, my father’s name is Mr Fortune’ he shimmied the crow bar into the gap between the door, his face awash with concentration, his tongue poking slightly from between his lips, like the head of a wary tortoise. The door made a clunk, and then popped open. With a smile on his face he said ‘Call me, Simon.’
They entered the darkness of the Library. The ghostly white light of the moon illuminated small sections of the vast room, elevating the slightly eerie atmosphere to something more sinister. ‘The torch, Pip’ Pip fumbled through the bag in the darkness, then searched slowly for Simon’s outstretched hand ‘Thank, you’ he said, clasping the torch. Pip followed Simon through the maze of desks and bookshelves; the sound of their footsteps echoed across the parquet floor. ‘Mr For…Simon’ Pip asked, the words seem to catch in his throat.
‘Erm, why are we breaking in to a public Library?’ asked Pip.
Simon continued to swing the torch before him as he walked; the light was scanning the room, though it seemed to have no direction whatsoever.
‘Because we need to get in Pip’
‘I see that sir, but, why do we not just wait till they open?’
Simon stopped suddenly, pointed the torch to his left, and then walked down the aisle. ‘Because, dear boy’ he said while searching the shelves packed full of thick leather bound books ‘by then it may be too late – ah ha!’ Pip watched Simon reach up and pull a large book down from one of the higher shelves. ‘Come along Pip’ he said as he strode off. From the corner of his eye, Pip noticed something; he reached down and found it to be an envelope, it had once been white, but was now nicotine in colour, like his father’s fingers had been.
‘Mr Fortune sir I –’ Simon cut him off ‘Shhh, not now Pip.’
Simon placed the book on a large oak desk, and switched on a small brass lamp. He blew the dust off the brown leather cover and Pip could just about read the faded words on the front “Did the Greeks get it right: – Myths and Legends of substance.” Pip watched as Simon rifled through the pages, muttering to himself as he went. After several minutes passed he said ‘That’s it!’ Simon reached for his satchel; he rummaged through it furiously, until he pulled out a small cube and placed it in the light of the lamp. The cube was no bigger than an apple, but somewhat less edible. To Pip it seemed to shimmer, as though it were grey, then green, then black, then purple; and its sides were decorated with strange symbols. ‘What is that, sir?’ asked Pip. ‘This?’ Simon said picking up the cube ‘is the key to Pandora’s box’ he beamed, rather pleased with himself ‘it will open the box, and thus a doorway, either to the Ethereal plane or…somewhere I’d rather not think about’
Pip let the information sink in then said
‘So that’s why we’re trying to keep it from the Undertaker?’
‘Precisely dear boy’ he nodded ‘If the Undertaker got his hands on this, all hell would break loose – quite literally’ Simon turned back to the book and began to study the open pages, muttering to himself as he read. ‘It’s no good Pip; I can’t read all this information here. We’ll have to take the book’
‘Correction’ the voice had taken them by surprise; their hearts began to spasm as their stomachs filled with ice ‘I’ll take the book’ from out of the darkness a figure loomed; it was tall, the cape it wore shrouded it in black, as though it had no discernible shape, its face was pale white, contrasted only by mutton chops of dark hair, its eyes shimmered red in the lamp light, and on its head stood a large top hat.
‘Undertaker’ Pip heard Simon mutter the words under his breath.
‘It’s ever so kind of you to do all the hard work for me, Fortune’ his voice was dull and toneless, yet full of malice. ‘Leave the cube atop the book and step away from the desk’ Simon did as he was told, he stood beside Pip; never taking his eyes from the Undertaker. ‘Do whatever you will to me Undertaker, but do not harm the boy’ he said. The Undertaker smiled, it was a smile that would incite tears in children ‘The boy has suffered enough being saddled with you’ he chuckled slightly ‘presides, when you broke in you triggered the silent alarm, the Police will be here any moment and they’ll arrest you, by which time I will be long gone, with the key, and the book’ he smiled again ‘you’ve lost, Fortune’ with those words he faded into the darkness, with book and cube in hand, leaving nothing but the echo of his laughter. Pip could feel the anger in Simon, choosing his words carefully he spoke ‘Mr Simon, sir’ Simon turned and looked at him; he looked defeated, and the anger was all for himself ‘This fell out of that book when you pulled it off the shelf’ Pip handed him the discoloured envelope. Simon took it in silence; he opened it. He studied the letter inside for a minute, before his face seemed to combust with joy. ‘Pip!’ he exclaimed ‘This letter tells us the location of Pandora’s Box’ he grabbed the young boy by the shoulders and shook him ‘as long as we get to the box before the Undertaker, we can stop him’ the sound of police sirens could be heard in the distance. Pip said ‘I think, Mr Fortune sir, we’d better leave’

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3 Responses to Terribleminds Flash Fiction Challenge: Ten Words Will Give You Five

  1. Autumn Crisp says:

    Love it! I love the names of your characters and the descriptions. It’s got a very natural flow. You’ve piqued my curiosity.

  2. Love it! Great names and the well-chosen details. I can picture the whole thing. Your dialogue has a natural rhythm. You’ve piqued my curiosity.

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