Flash Fiction: The Truth Will Let You Breathe

The Flash Fiction challenge over at TerribleMinds this week was to write a monster story in 1000 words or less. The catch: it had to be a new monster. No vampires, werewolves, zombies, etc. We had to come up with something new and different.

I found this challenge really tricky. Coming up with the monster was the easy part — I worked that out on day one. But no matter how many times I started writing the story, I couldn’t make it work. The mood wasn’t right, the words wouldn’t come… It was just one of those stories that I couldn’t seem to get from my brain to the paper. Then: Inspiration.

A monster story, told in the lyrical style of Dr. Seuss.

The Truth will Let You Breathe

In the dark of the night
Something went bump.
I woke up with a start.
I woke up with a jump.
I leapt from my bed
With my heart all aflutter.
I grabbed for my gun,
And I started to mutter.

“I can hear you, my friend,”
I said under my breath.
“Have you come here to fight,
man-to-man, to the death?
If that is the case,
Then you better watch out.
I’m the best that there is,
Of that, there’s no doubt.”

But nothing was said,
And the darkness was still.
I crept through the house
And then felt a chill.
I spun to my left
And then to my right
“Where are you?”I yelled
Then I switched on the light.

It was standing right there,
Barely three feet away,
It was grotesque and horrid
In every way.
I screamed like a banshee
And pointed my gun.
My hand was all shaky.
I wanted to run.

“Don’t move,” I said bravely.
My teeth clicked and clacked.
My whole body was shaking
As a matter of fact.
“Just back away slowly,
I won’t ask you twice.”
It laughed and it grabbed me,
It’s grip like a vice.

I struggled and strained,
But I couldn’t get free.
“What are you? And
What are you doing to me?”
It started to laugh,
A long drawn out sound,
“I’m all of the lies
That you’ve spread around.”

I looked up at the monster,
Looked into its face,
The face that belonged to
My first girlfriend, Grace.
I’d told her I loved her,
But it wasn’t true.
It was the heat of the moment.
I just wanted a screw.

Its eyes looked like Barry’s.
I’d once dobbed him in
For cheating at school,
But I’d copied from him.
Its tongue was a fish
That I’d said got away.
Its teeth, cigarettes
Smoked in secret one day

It was wearing a shirt
That I stole from a mate
(I’d sworn that I hadn’t,
But Gods it looked great.),
Jeans made of books that
I said that I’d read,
A belt made of rumours
I’d started or spread.

In its hand was a gun,
It looked just like mine.
“You’re not really the best.”
It laughed one more time.
I held up my free hand
In front of my head,
“Please don’t just shoot me!
I don’t want to be dead!”

It looked at me long
And it lowered the gun.
“I’m not going to shoot you,
That wouldn’t be fun.”
It reached into its pocket
And pulled something free:
A lighter that really
Meant nothing to me.

“You stole this from your Dad,”
It said with a smile.
“You told him you hadn’t,
Said it wasn’t your style.”
It flicked on the flame
And then let it fall.
The carpet caught fire,
And so did the wall.

“This is the battery
You swore you’d replaced
In that smoke alarm there
So conveniently placed.
But it won’t help you now,”
It said. “’Cause it’s broke.”
Then it held me quite still
While I started to choke.


Filed under Flash Fiction, Poems

30 responses to “Flash Fiction: The Truth Will Let You Breathe

    • Thanks! (And thanks for being the first commenter on this. I always fret when I post fiction, because there’s that little part of my head that tries to convince me that it sucks.)

  1. Fantastic. Such a change to read something ‘born’ on terrible minds to the beat of Dr.Seuss. Really refreshing.

  2. ava

    It was lyrical allright. The monster felt real too, reading it was effortless. I liked it very much Ms. Jo. 🙂

  3. Awesome! In fact no… Awe-loads. I’m creating a new word just for this. Awe-loads!

    The rhythm was brilliant. An almost locomotive rhythm, and I found myself reading quicker and quicker as I got to the end.

    • Haha. Awe-loads, huh? I’m honoured by your creation of a new word.

      I’m really pleased the tempo carried across — that’s exactly how I was narrating it while I was writing. Thanks for the comment!

  4. OK, JUST found my favorite scary adult poem EVER!!!! Holy shmoly, that was phenomenal!!! I must share this, Jo! I have author friends who write horror and they would LOVE this! haha! Bravo! Hope you win! 😀

  5. Chris Mackey

    Oh, that was awesome. Great job!

  6. Woah….
    I used to teach English to young children here in Tokyo using a great deal of Dr. Seuss books.
    1. You nailed the style.
    2. Monster made of lies is awesome
    3. I could picture the whole thing in classic Seuss art style.

    Thumbs up.

  7. That was brilliant 😀 Oh, you have a great ear for verse!

  8. Amy

    What a totally original and wonderful way to answer this challenge. Loved it!!

  9. Tom

    Whee! That was so much fun. It was so good, it made me jealous. Really well done.

  10. Hey I love this – not just rhyme and rythmn but plot and moral tale too! Impressive. Like The Gruffalo for grown ups (high praise – this is my son’s favourite bedtime story)!

    • Thanks! I figure if you’re going to wrie a monster tale in verse, you should have some kind of moral to the story. And one of my oft-repeated catch-phrases is: Be careful. Your lies will always come back to haunt you.

  11. Wish I could rhyme,
    Simply don’t have the…damn.
    Simply don’t have the…..mime? slime? dime?
    Great job, Jo.
    Your entries have made me laugh out loud twice now (in a good way).
    I must stop posting my entries near yours!


    • So glad you find my entries funny. It’s nice to know it’s not just me!

      Oh, and let me help you out there:

      Wish I could rhyme,
      Simply don’t have the skill
      But the stories I write
      Will give you a chill.

  12. Oh, and @ Mayfair Mum.

    Agree wholeheartedly! The Gruffalo – best kid’s story ever (and the animated version’s pretty good, too).

    I can recite the whole thing from memory these days…

  13. Very Clever. It kind of reminds me of Lewis Carroll’s, Beware the Jabberwocky, as well as Dr Seuss.

  14. Adele Taylor

    Wow, that’s fantastic! Great idea and I really do love the style…

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