The City Needs Us

Kent Bonham

Don’t smile.

The priestess’ words echo through me, as my footsteps echo, bouncing from the stone cobbles, from the stone walls, from hidden, stony faces.

Keep walking.

There is no-one to smile at. No door stands open.

All were slammed shut, they may not look at us.

There is nothing else to do but walk.

The city despises us.

The city needs us.

Red robes define me, define my sisters.

We shuffle, a crimson tide, leaving apartments as islands.

We shuffle, scratching libations and curses into the stonework, pasting blood-red mortar into the cracks – each morning the messages are erased.

Each night marked by snuffling, grunting.

The city needs us.

Written for this week’s Friday Fictioneers, as well as for an InMon prompt: Don’t Smile.

Tell me what you think!


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19 thoughts on “The City Needs Us

  1. Janice Heck says:

    This alley looks familiar. Jerusalem?

    • I think so…not my image, I’m afraid, and the credits didn’t say. Definitely somewhere in the Middle East – I think Jerusalem, although I think Istanbul could also be an option. Might be a bit dark for Istanbul…

  2. aprilmilam says:

    Loved it! It felt like the opening to a page turning mystery novel.

  3. wmqcolby says:

    Cool. “The city needs us.” Pretty good!

  4. mahjira says:

    “The city needs us” sounds like they are being sacrificed for the good of the city. I wonder why they were despised… Wonderful story, loved the descriptions!

  5. You paint a good picture — a real clandestine feel — like a snapshot of a larger tale of secret societies and intrigue.

    • Thanks Helena, in that case I did what I set out to do – the secret societies and the clandestine feel – this flash mirrors some of what I’m trying to do in my WIP, so it’s good to know it’s working!

  6. zookyworld says:

    I agree with Helena — this has the mystery of a secret society’s doings. A cycle of the red-robed ones marking the city, and then each morning the marks are gone. And that snuffling, grunting is very mysterious — do the marks keep the beasts down?

  7. Dear Chris,

    A very grim picture, crimson the only color. Well done.



  8. Chilling. You are so skilled at hinting at the story without explaining it all in exposition. I get that this sect practices some kind of dark arts which the townspeople fear and distrust, yet depend on for protection.

    • Thanks Steph, it’s something I’ve been working on (avoiding exposition and making readers do the work.) It’s something that I think is important in flash, so I’m glad that you liked it! This story has shades of my WIP in it…

  9. evan72 says:

    Can you say Groupthink!? Great work this week, very interesting piece. I found myself getting more drawn in with every line! Great job!

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