Flash Fiction: Constellations

Every two weeks writers have the chance to take part in Soliloquies Anthology’s Flash Fiction contest. We publish a new single-word writing prompt as a starting point, and you write a story in 300 words or less. This winning story uses the prompt Exit.

Augie stared at the sky, dark but with the fuzz of overexposed camera film. He could pick three pebbles of light from the wash. People complained when the sanitation workers didn’t collect the garbage on the proper day, but nobody made any noise when the city polluted the night view by tossing off light as if it were the cheapest commodity.

He walked to his car and started driving away from downtown. A luxury that costs $300 a month will take advantage of any excuse to move. He checked his phone at a red light. A text from Emma.

hey! I know we haven’t talked in a LONG time, but I’m visiting your new hometown. business trip this week. wondered if you’re free for lunch. ps the stars suck here

Drivers honked as the green lit for more than a blink. He pulled into a loading zone.

agreed. heading to the countryside for a bit of better sky. welcome to join

early meeting tmrw

Emma and Augie shared a string of mismatched timings. But like happiness, the concept of being on time is a function of expectations and reality.

Forty minutes filled the black bowl with glitter, as if his travel had softened the city’s grasp on the orbits overhead. Augie shut down the car and checked his phone.

changed my mind. i have a car. can meet you…  37 minutes ago

He tapped a response and traded the electronic rectangle for a cloth one. He walked down the hill and sat on the blanket with his eyes closed to let them adjust, along with his expectations. 

Emma woke wearing her work clothes. Her phone blinked on the other pillow.

still awake? just got here. dropping a pin  51 minutes ago

still there? leaving now

Author bio
Dustin Renwick runs, writes, and does not drink coffee in Washington, D.C. His essays, poetry, or fiction have appeared in The Washington Post, The Daily Palette (an extension of The Iowa Review), Verse Wisconsin, and Papercuts.