We’ve wrapped up the judging of the Third Annual QSF Flash Fiction Contest, so we’ll be sharing the top stories over the next 9 days – first the top three, then the individual Judge’s Choice stories – something new we are doing this year. We had some fantastic submissions this year – congrats to everyone! All stories were limited to 300 words max, with the theme “flight”.
Our third place winner is Nina Packebush with an FF Fantasy tale – congrats, Nina! Here’s the story – enjoy.
The Secret Lives of Octopuses
By Nina Packebush
She sat at the kitchen table as she had each morning for the last 24 years, the TV on the counter turned to the news station, her wife across from her. They both had their phones in front of them as they ate their toast and drank their coffee. Years ago they had sat, each with a section of the newspaper in front of them. These days they relied on the television and their phones for the news.
Her wife was reading her updates from her Facebook page as she had been doing for the past, what? Five years? Ten? She stared at her wife hunched over her phone and felt as if her bones were melting
“Ha! Sarah is in a relationship again. Did you see that?”
She tuned her out. She had been tuning her out for years. How many? Ten? Fifteen?
Her body felt soft.
This was not how she had pictured her life turning out back when they met on the train to New York.
Her skull felt squishy.
She looked at her phone. “Inky the Octopus Escapes Aquarium and Returns to the Ocean.” The poor octopus had become fed up with its life of confinement, slid out of its tank, across the floor, and into a drainpipe that led to the ocean and freedom.
She glanced up at her wife again. Twenty-four years. How many days was that?
“What’s 24 times 365?” she asked.
She got up from the table and found that her legs barely supported her. She went to the kitchen sink and inserted her hand into the drain. If fit. To her delight she felt her arm and shoulder slide in as well.
“What are you doing?” her wife asked in horror.
“I’m going to the ocean,” she said.