Friday, April 1

Friday Flash - April 1, 2011

Friday Flash by Laura Packer

She hated sunny days. Sunny days hurt her back. She shrugged her shoulders, trying to ease the cut of backpack straps. Damn sunny days, making her carry extra supplies every single time.

It all started about 17 months ago. Alright, it started 17 months and two weeks ago, if you want to be precise. She was travelling somewhere, don't you worry about where, suffice it to say it was far away. She was travelling student style, with a little satchel for a few changes of underwear, her notebook and camera. She had the best of everything, just not much of it: one lightweight rainjacket, one pair of excellent walking shoes, one collapsable wide-brlmmed hat and little else. She felt intrepid and bold, never mind that she smelled a bit and neither the locals nor the out-and-out tourists eyes her with distrust. 

She's been out on her own for a few months, sending notes home when she found internet cafes but mostly just "living wild" as she called it. She tried to eat only where the locals ate (okay, so it was sometimes disconcerting seeing something with eyes looking up at her from a bowl of broth), stayed in local guest houses (bedbugs? who cares about bedbugs) and tried to speak the local language. That was where the trouble began.

She was in a little village high in the mountains, walking to the next village, when a sudden storm broke out. One moment the sky was bright and sunny then before she realized what was happening, the rain obscured everything. She was afraid she would step off the cliff. Inch by inch she found her along the muddy path until she came to a divot in the side of the cliff. She huddled, trying to keep the worst of the rain off, while she struggled to pull her highly-compressed rain jacket from her pack. It was then that she realized she wasn't alone. 

A boy sat with his back to the soil wall, his knees pulled up to his chest.

He seemed to be shivering. 

He looked at her, then at the rain and said something in the local language which, truth be told, she didn't understand at all. She stared at him, thinking, "I don't want to deal with this." She felt very far from home, cold and wet. All of a sudden she felt like a foreigner, not an intrepid explorer. She missed being clean and warm and the convenience of easy access to socks, television and language.

He said it again and pointed to her jacket, then to himself.

She looked at him, then at the rain, put on her jacket and walked back out into the storm. She could hear him shouting something as she left.

She walked along briskly, avoiding the biggest puddles.  Sure, she felt bad, the kid was clearly wet and cold, but so was she. Besides, her jacket cost a lot of money, if she gave it to him it would only cause strife in his village, where ever that might be, when all the other kids saw what he had and they could never have. It was like the prime directive in Star Trek, right? And she was going home soon anyway, why risk ruining the rest of her vacation by risking a bad cold or worse?

The farther she walked in the bright, warm day, the better she felt about her decision. It was the ethical thing to not intervene. You help the poor too much and they only become dependent.

Within a few weeks she was home, telling her friends and family about her grand adventures, the people she met, the things she did. And that was when the trouble started. 

If the weather was fine and sunny it would rain when she went out. Once it snowed in July. If it was pouring buckets it seemed as though the rain would stop once she was just far enough away from home that she had to carry her umbrella and rain jacket. It seemed like a joke at first. Soon enough though, her friends would tell her they would meet her somewhere, rather than travel with her. She couldn't go outside with out an umbrella, boots and spare t-shirt, because no matter what she did, the weather was contrary. Worst of all, these freak snow squalls, thunder storms and microbursts were never reported on the news. It was though no one else noticed.

And sunny days were the worst. Because she knew it would always change, that she had to be prepared for every emergency and a few spare pairs of underwear simply wouldn't be enough.

April Fools! The story you just read appears here on my blog as a part of the Great April Fool's Day FridayFlash Blog Swap, organized by Tony Noland. You can find my story for today at Laura Packer's website, To read all the dozens of stories swapping around as a part of the GAFDFFBS, check out the GAFDFFBS index over at Tony's blog Landless. For hundreds of thousands of words of fantastic flash fiction stories, check out the FridayFlash hashtag on Twitter. It happens every Friday!

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  1. If she can't find a way to remedy her mistake she will be forever drowing in it.

  2. How does that phrase go? I think it's "first world problems." I think this is torture fitting for selfishness. Good job.

  3. Interesting idea about the curse, but this story could benefit from a close proofreading. Some missing words, misspellings, and at least one shift in verb tense distract from the storytelling.

  4. Karma can be hell; right? The thing is that in some countries, this might be true. People have been killed for a coat or a pair of shoes. :(

    Very well told story.

  5. Interesting curse you came up with there! Don't we all have some decisions we wish we could take back?

  6. At least she can always talk about the weather! Great story!

  7. Thank you so much for posting my story! I'm glad you enjoyed it and I'm sorry about the typos etc, it was written on the go and I didn't have the needed time to polish.
    Ryan, your story was great, make sure you take a look at my blog for all the great comments.

  8. Comeuppance has come up. She could have just wrapped the kid in her jacket and both of them could have stayed dry, that's what I thought she'd do. Zap!