Before the Lights Went Out #Friday Fictioneers

I am Fictioneering from the West Coast, where I am attending a conference of tens of thousands of geophysicists!  Just think, if there’s a massive earthquake, it will eliminate the very people who should have known better!  Anyway…every Friday, writers from all around the world write 100 word (or thereabouts) flash fiction based on a photo posted that Wednesday on Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog.

Here’s my story this week.  I welcome constructive criticism; without it I cannot grow as a writer.  Thanks for reading!

Before the Lights Went Out

Let me tell you about the moment before the lights went out.
We were sitting in the waiting room, you and me, next to the aquarium and the coffee table stacked with bright-covered magazines.
You handed me a key.
Then you closed my fingers over the cold jagged metal, and without a word led me behind the counter, opened the door in the back, and pointed to the hallway on the other side.
“I thought this was the end,” I said.
You shook your head.
The lights went out behind me, but I could still see the doors beyond.


About glossarch

The word "glossarch" doesn't exist. At least, not yet. But let's pretend it does for a second. The first part is "gloss," a word that comes to us from Ancient Greek via Latin and English. It means "language." The second part also comes from Ancient Greek and can mean "having power over." So "glossarch" means simply "language controller." So what am I doing making up words? Well, I made up an entire language once. It's called Angosey. So I'm the Glossarch of Angosey. I'm currently a doctorate student in volcano seismology (a branch of geophysics). I enjoy writing fiction and poetry, launching balloons, programming, and hanging out with my lovely wife! Follow me on Twitter! Writing and language creation: @glossarch Balloons and science: @bovineaerospace
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24 Responses to Before the Lights Went Out #Friday Fictioneers

  1. Sandra says:

    Fascinating; would love to know what’s going on here.

  2. Deeper and deeper in. This is the sort of concept that fascinates and inspires me. Great story!

  3. Jess Schira says:

    I quite like the rhythm you’ve established in this piece. Your story is easy to read and intriguing. Well done!

  4. I agree with Sandra. I’d love to know what’s going on. The first two lines were intriguing enough. The rest of the story, in which the narrator seems to have guided by “You,” makes those lines even more interesting. There seems to have been a shift of awareness and control when the lights went out. Nice story.

    • glossarch says:

      Does the confusion take away from the story? My intent is to make it intriguing but not opaque.

      • No, it doesn’t take away from the story at all. On the contrary, I want to know why the narrator is explaining everything to “you,” as if you didn’t know how he and you got to where you are. (Does that make sense?) Like I said, it seems as if something shifted/altered when the lights went out, something that “you” didn’t at all expect to happen, something that leveled the playing field between the narrator and his guide. For example, this could be the beginning of a story in which Person A, clearly in charge, leads Person B, completely confused (maybe a Matrix-y sort of relationship), to this office and then to the door. Then the lights go out, and both Person A and Person B end up in some other world or in some challenging situation that requires them to work together on equally shaky feet to get themselves out of whatever awfulness you dump them into. Basically, the rug was pulled from under both of them, and the person who thought he knew what was going on ends up as befuddled as the person who never had any clue what to expect. In short, I thought it was an intriguing piece with definite potential!

  5. rich says:

    what’s going on here is someone is dying, and they’re passing on to a new place, thus the other doors, and the darkness behind was death, dying. well done.

    here’s how to save some words:
    instead of “and without a word led me behind the counter, opened the door in the back,”

    try – “silently led me behind the counter, opened a back door.”

    saved 5 more words.

    • glossarch says:

      Thank your for your insight, I appreciate your commentary each week and it definitely helps.
      I agree with swapping “silently” for “without a word” but “the door in the back” has a specificity I wanted to preserve-there is only one door, and it’s an important one.

      • rich says:

        now i see what you’re going for. what i’m not sure is which indicates there is only one door. “the” door in the back. “a” door in the back. i’m not sure which one leaves open that there might or might not be another door. tricky.

  6. brudberg says:

    I don’t know if it’s your intention, but I can say it was partly in mine, but opposite… I am not the right person to correct languages. For me it works fine.

  7. billgncs says:

    nice — I really see your writing improving. As for the convention, you guys went to where all the action is ?

    • glossarch says:

      Thank you, I’m glad it’s changing (for the better!). Yes, the American Geophysical Union takes place every year in San Francisco. More geoscientists studying more things than we could ever dream existed.

  8. They have no choice but to go forward, huh? It seems like a good set up for an intriguing story. Nice job!

  9. Bumba says:

    Reminds me of my last visit to the doctor.

    • glossarch says:

      I was thinking of the doctor’s office when I wrote this. Notice how a lot of them have aquariums?

      • Bumba says:

        Never seen an aquarium in the clinic. Lots of Chinese restaurants have ’em. The scenario at the Dr’s, tho, is to lead you down the hall, offer you a cold seat on that papered examination table. And then leave you there to wait!

  10. Hi Danny,
    If I’m reading this correctly, he’s headed for another dimension, or his next life. Nicely written with just the right amount of clues to make me think. Not a rift or a fault in this rock-solid story. Ron

  11. Parul says:

    Fascinationg. I would love to experience something like that(provided it goes where I think it is going!)

  12. Dear Danny,

    Gentlemen like Rich should be cultivated. He has managed to become someone we all expect to help out where he thinks it might be appropriate, and is now accepted in that role. I, however, am not. Luckily, all has been said and done on your fine story. Loved the title. Could work for many different takes on this photo.



  13. Dear Danny,
    Your little tale is intriguing. I like it. Although my waiting room experiences have been less than inspiring. Maybe I’m seeing the wrong doctor?

  14. I’m with Sandra. Would love to know what’s going on here. I read all the comments and still have no idea. Rich says it’s about death. Ron says he’s heading for another dimension. Rochelle is with him in the waiting room waiting for the doctor…wondering if she’s seeing the wrong one. Someone else mentioned a fish aquarium in a Chinese Restaurant. Wherever this guy is going…I’m glad I’m not going with him. Nice work, Danny. Enjoy the convention.

  15. Pete says:

    I like the idea, I like the style, very intriguing. Not sure why you’re telling me the story when I was the one who gave you the key? (Also thought the idea of all the best geologists being wiped out by an earthquake sounded like a great basis for a story!)

  16. Abraham says:

    Nicely mysterious!

  17. Russell says:

    There’s always something exciting about being a “backdoor man,” although I’m not sure what kind of relationship is waiting on the other side of this one. You’ve given us just enought to pique our curiousity here. Well done, Danny.

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