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Flash Fiction, Society, Writing

Inspiration Monday: Abandoned

Mother warned the children to stay away from the town. “You might fall in a pit and then what, you’ll be burned to death,” she admonished. She was certainly a large speck of darkness in their otherwise cheerful lives. “You promise me!” she shouted daily through the summer as they grabbed their gasmasks and skipped outdoors to play.

“We promise,” they sounded in unison, fingers crossed in front of their coats so Mother couldn’t see. The timbre of their voices was so angelic she always believed them.

Through the woods and over small hills they ventured, seeking entrance. They knew there was more than what they’d seen in the past. They feared nothing and saw their excursions into forbidden territory as nothing more than child’s play. Finally, they had arrived.

The sign hung slightly askew but was low enough for them to hop over, which they did immediately. And just as quickly they disappeared from view. What Mother had failed to share with them was that the local villagers were not so afraid of the underground fires or carbon monoxide that permeated the air, although they should have been. It was the disappearance of the town and what had taken its place that caused their neighbors to double-lock their windows and doors at night and to never go out past dark.

Written for this week’s Inspiration Monday. Having been missing from the fun for a few weeks, I decided to make up for it by using two of the prompts in this 221-word piece (see bold and underlined bits). In case you are wondering, the photo above is from Centralia, PA, a real abandoned town, where an underground fire has been burning since 1962. Click the photo for more, or visit here.

Click my friend below to add your response to the prompt too!



  1. indytony April 23, 2013 10:44 pm

    I’ve heard of this town. Isn’t the underground fire the result of mining?

    As John Prine put it – in “Paradise” – “Well, they dug for the coal ’till the land was forsaken; then they wrote it all down as the progress of man.”

    • AR Neal April 24, 2013 6:11 pm

      Yes–this is the town. And I love the JP quote: how absolutely perfect!

  2. Stephanie April 27, 2013 2:46 am

    Ooo, creepy – all the more so from being inspired by fact!

    • AR Neal April 27, 2013 3:30 pm

      Thank you, Stephanie! As I continue to believe, reality is often stranger than fiction 😀

  3. Pingback: Inspiration Monday: time is a relative | bekindrewrite

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