This was a 750 word challenge story for the above photo taken by Trashhand, a Chicago based photographer.
I’m delighted to re-share it for Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge I hope you like it.
Falling Into Adventure
“Where are we, Ryan?”
“This is an old ghost town, Layla. Nobody’s been here since the gold rush. It’s cool, huh?”
“No, it’s bloody spooky.” Layla looked around at the rotting wood and concrete structures from years gone by. The only living things here were the vultures circling in the blue sky above. Nothing about this place was cool to her.
“Ah, come on! Live a little. This is cool.”
“No, it’s not. I want to go home.” Layla stepped into the footprint of a long since destroyed building. She moved between the collapsed walls, and shook her head. She hated it here.
“Let’s go to the end, then we’ll go back.” Ryan reached to take her hand. Layla smiled at him.
“Thanks. I’ll buy —” Layla felt the ground give way beneath her. She screamed as she fell straight into the darkness.
“Layla, can you hear me? Are you okay?” Ryan dropped prone and shone his phone light inside. “Lay-la,”
“Ow! Oh, I’m so going to kill you when I get out of here.” Layla was hanging about three-feet below the hole. She looked beneath her toes, then let go of the ball-shaped ceiling sconce that had arrested her fall. Ryan watched her drop a further six-feet and land neatly on a debris-strewn floor.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t intend for this to happen.” Ryan looked about him. “I’ll go, and get a rope.”
“Thanks, get a coffin too. You’re going to need one.” Layla pulled out her phone for the torch function and shone it around. She was amazed to see she was on a mezzanine. The room dropped into a lower space, to her right. The walls were coated in an ancient dried-out orange painted orange; It was flaking off like rust. The plaster friezes running around the room were stunning although smashed in places. Layla walked to the railing, looked below her and gasped.
“I’m back, Layla. You okay?”
“I’m fine. This is amazing!” Layla slipped over the railing and dropped into the lower area. She landed before a large twenty-four bolt, circular vault door. The thing was three-foot thick and rusty like it’d been submerged in salt water. The ceiling and floor were black and seemed damp, confirming the possibility.
“Wow, what a place. Where are you?”
“I’m here. How are we getting out. I mean, now you’re down here too?”
“We’ll climb the rope – and holy hell, that’s a vault.”
“No kidding.” Layla made a frustrated noise and rolled her eyes. Ryan climbed the railing, fell off, and landed on his backside at her feet.
“Oof, that hurt.”
“You blithering idiot. Give me your hand.” Layla grinned and hauled him to his feet. With him staggering about, she entered the vault. The walls were full of lockboxes, each open and rusty like the door.
“The building above must have been a bank.” Ryan joined her and peered into some of the boxes using his phone light. He could see nothing in any of them.
“Yes, a long time ago, too.”
“Hey, look at this.”
“What have you, ahh –” Layla turned and whack – he hit her over the head with a lockbox he was holding. “Cor, bloody hell, Ryan!”
“You just brained me with that damned box.”
“Sorry, I was excited – It’s still locked.” Ryan left the vault with it.
“Well, you can’t open it using my head like a hammer, can you!” Layla looked daggers at him as she followed him having found nothing else in the vault.
“What do you suggest?” Ryan kicked about the mouldy paper and rubble on the floor but found nothing useful.
“Here give it to me.” Layla took the box and climbed the steps to the mezzanine level. Without warning, she hurled it over the railing. It thundered into the floor with an echoic bang.
“Criminy, woman! Now, whose, trying to kill who? You nearly gave me a bloody heart attack.” Ryan sucked in a breath and held his chest. Layla burst out laughing as she came back.
“Serves you right for whacking me in the head.” She picked up the box and gave a delighted whoop. “Look, it’s open!”
“Yeah! Nice work.” Ryan took and threw it open.
“What’s in it?”
“Nothing, but pulpy paper.”
“Ah well, let’s get out of here,” Layla suggested.
“You know?” Ryan began once they were out in the sun again. “I don’t care that we found nothing. My prize was having an adventure with you.”
“Really? I’d never have guessed.” Layla set off back to the car with a chuckle.
Thanks for reading my friends.
There’s more in the Poetry Corner, Poetry Nook, and the Short Story Collection
Have a great day!