Flash Fiction #4 (final): Dialogue Only

For #MondayBlogs, here is the last flash fiction installment of the Red Wheelbarrow stories. This one is a little...weird, so bear with me. The writing prompt was that we had to use just dialog to get the story across. No dialogue tags, no narrative--NOTHING BUT DIALOGUE. Writing a story with just dialogue is a little rough, because you have to show the characters movements, actions, the setting, and exposition all in their words.

Background: this installment takes place a few years after the others--after Charlene and her family found the meadow in the mountains and have built a camp there. In the meantime, their small camp has grown to more than just their intimate family. This is Charlene's first meeting with a new character, John. The rest, I hope, comes together in the dialogue. Though I never wrote anymore after this, I have plotted and outlined. I got really attached to these characters and this story, and especially to what, in my mind, they will go through. Maybe one day I'll have time to write them into the novel they deserve.

If you haven't read the first three installments, read them here:
Red Wheelbarrow
Sea of Yellow
Already Home

And here is the last, in dialogue only:


“You go any further and the tip of my blade emerging from your gut will be the last thing you see.”

“Farther.”

“What?”

“You said if I go any further. It’s farther.”

“You really wanna correct me with a knife to your back?”

“I just figured you’d want to know. You know, just so you don’t make a fool of yourself the next time you’re threatening someone’s life.”

“Son of a—”

“Be careful with that thing, sweetheart! If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you actually wanted to use it.”

“What makes you think you know better, Mr. English Professor?”

“Not an English professor. Just got an education is all. You know, from a real school. And I know better because your voice is trembling. You won’t do anything.”

“My voice is not trembling.”

“That was a little better.”

“Shut up. Don’t talk.”

“What, this isn’t going how you rehearsed?”

“I said Shut. Up.”

“You did rehearse it, didn’t you, sweetheart? You sound too young to be a pro. That’s also probably why you think someone who can speak properly is some brilliant professor.”

“You laugh one more time and I’ll actually use this knife. And I never said brilliant. You’re pretty stupid if you think sitting here in the bare bushes like this is discreet.”

“Oh, discreet. Good. Sounds like you know a little.”

“I know a lot for someone like me, idiot. Back when things were still normal, before she had me, my mother was a school teacher. She’s taught me everything.”

“Not everything, I’d say.”

“Who do you think you are? Why are you spying on us? Who sent you to look for us?”

“No one sent me. I’m alone. Just trying to find a safe place is all.”

“Liar. No one’s alone anymore.”

“I am.”

“You probably have some squad somewhere, waiting for your command.”

“I wouldn’t serve a minute for our shit government. Not now. Do I look like I belong in the military?”

“I’ve seen them use disguises.”

“So, how old are you, sweetheart? Twelve, thirteen?”

“Fifteen.”

“Whoa! I said be careful with that thing. You even know how to use it?”

“I could have you gutted in a matter of seconds.”

“So why haven’t you?”

“Stop talking and let me think…”

“Well, if you’re all this camp has for protection I’d say I’m coming out on top.”

“You know nothing. You don’t know what we’ve been through. Or what I’m capable of.”

“Sweetheart, I’m sure it’s the same things any soul still living has seen.”

“Don’t call me that anymore. Keep your mouth shut, put up your hands, and walk.”

“If you’re so hardcore, why not just gut me from behind, right here?”

“Stop tempting me.”

“I mean it. Why not?”

“We might need you. If you know where this meadow is, others might, too. We’ll need to know who.”

“I already told you, I’m alone.”

“Then I guess I can kill you…”

“Whoa, whoa. No need for that. My guts happen to be very precious to me, so why don’t you just lower that knife and we can talk?”

“Oh, now you think I’m serious?”

“Your voice isn’t so shaky anymore.”

“Turn around.”

“Why, so you can gut me the right way?”

“So I can look into your eyes.”

“Romantic. But you’re nearly ten years younger than me, sweet—”

“So I can read you. If you’re telling the truth, I might let you live. But no funny business.”

“Well, I’ll be. You’re kinda pretty for a little murderer.”

“What makes you think you can lower your hands? I said—“

“No funny business, I know. But really, sweetheart—you think you could take me?”

“Stop. Don’t come any closer.”

“Look at you. You’re just a little thing. What are you, maybe a buck-five? And you gotta be crazy, being out here by yourself like this.”

“I’m warning you…”

“John. Name’s John. And I’m the last person you need to worry about out here. Now give me the knife, sweetheart, and maybe we can make some arrangement.”

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