Homepage / Flash Fiction / Story A Day #21 and Write at the Merge Week 21: The Smell of Indifference
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Flash Fiction, Story A Day May 2013

Story A Day #21 and Write at the Merge Week 21: The Smell of Indifference

Yes, Captain; I saw the entire event. Well, yes; I suppose you could describe it as horrible…

What? Oh, of course. My report will be officially submitted by morning. What’s that? Oh. Right now, over the phone? [sighs] Yes, sir, I can give a short recitation of the events to you now. I arrived as ordered at 18:00. By that time, the fire had been extinguished; the fire fighters had been aided by a late spring rain storm. [pauses] The air was filled with a pleasant petrichor, even in the midst of the smoldering mansion. What’s that? Oh, it means that pleasant smell that comes with a first rain. [annoyed] Well, sir you did ask for a report and it is important to my recitation. Yes, it will be included in the full report I submit. May I continue, sir? Very good. So when I walked into the area where the bodies of the woman and child were discovered… [pauses to listen] They didn’t tell you? [pauses] They were found right in the front room, as if they were running for the door but were overcome by smoke and flames there. So when I walked into that front room, I could smell fear… [pauses] Well of course I could smell smoke, sir, but there was certainly a strong smell of fear in that room. [annoyed] What do you mean what does that have to do with it? It has everything to do with it, sir. I can assure you that this was a crime and not an accident. If the room had no smell of fear, then I would just as assuredly tell you that it could have been an accident. [pauses] Yes, sir. I continued into the rest of the rubble and found the butler and the husband was there; they were tangled together with some of the fallen staircase. The butler smelled of anger, as if he’d been trying to fight off the husband. What’s that? The husband? Well, there was no smell from him sir. That’s right; no smell at all. [gasps] That’s it, sir–you’ve nailed it. It was indifference! It has been so long since I’ve been called in on a crime of indifference that I almost missed it. [pauses] Yes, sir. You’ll have my full report in the morning on your desk, first thing. Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.

I decided to combine yet another two prompts today, considering they both involved the number 21 (what?). Check out Story A Day here for prompt details (feel free to comment on whether you think I captured it) and click below for Write at the Merge to link up.



  1. hyperlocalhero May 21, 2013 7:45 pm

    Its good, its got a beginning, middle and end… a punchline… but the steampunk umbrella one was really exciting… You need to finish that one. That was like a classic 2000 Ad story… oh my gosh. This is like ok, but its not as exciting as the other sci fi steam punk action fantagotacular.

    • AR Neal May 21, 2013 7:47 pm

      {begins digging for more quills and papyrus upon which to continue the”sci fi steam punk action fantagotacular”}

  2. baka8 May 21, 2013 9:13 pm

    don’t give away! the captain, Kirk, along with Spok and Scotty must bang, hash out this Romulun conundrum on their own!

    • AR Neal May 21, 2013 9:13 pm


      • baka8 May 22, 2013 12:21 am


  3. djmatticus May 21, 2013 10:48 pm

    Good stuff!

  4. Ann Bennett (@AnnBennett12) May 23, 2013 11:15 pm

    Pulled in by the tone and rhythm of the story. I especially liked the protagonist smelling, fear, anger and worst of all indifference.

    • AR Neal May 23, 2013 11:17 pm

      Thank you, Ann!

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