Blogging, Flash Fiction, Short Story

The second 200 words: A Real Live Corpse

I took this photograph.
Today’s protagonist was staring down the barrel of a lit cigarette when she discovered the corpse. | Photo credit: Wikipedia

Last week, I posted the first 200 words of a short story as part of author Chuck Wendig’s latest flash fiction challenge. So far, I don’t think anyone has picked up my story where I left off, but there is still time to jump in. Even if you did not write a 200-word story start last week, you can still participate beginning in phase two. I would love to have someone pick up my story so I can see where it ends!

The first 200 words of this week’s story were written by Ken Crump from the Brickhouse Piggy blog. You can find his original post here. Ken did not title his first 200 words, but I really like his “real live corpse” concept. I think it would make an excellent title, so I am running with it. Of course, the next person to work with this story might think otherwise and decide to change it. But that’s half the fun!

I am going to attempt to write the second 200 words in a similar voice, so it (hopefully) will read is if written all by one person:

A Real Live Corpse

Karen had never seen a corpse before. Not a real live corpse. The thought made her giggle nervously.

A real “live” corpse? She snickered.

At first she didn’t know it was a corpse. She saw a man slumped against the wall by the door to the bar when she stepped out for a smoke. She glanced disgustedly at him and sat in the Throne to light up.  Nathan had put an old spindle chair by the door so the staff could sit to enjoy a smoke. He’d sprayed it gold and proclaimed it a Throne, because smoking in public had become such a royal pain in the ass.

After a few minutes, she threw a pebble at the man slumped by the door. “Hey! You can’t sleep there, asshole,” she shouted. But no response. So Karen flicked her half-finished cigarette into the street and stormed over to stand in front of him.

“This ain’t no outdoor drunk tank,” she snarled. “Get off your ass and get on the road!”

Then she kicked him hard. And that’s when she thought he might be a corpse. She’d kicked more than a few drunks in her time, and none of them felt like this guy.

“Shit,” she said. Her foot registered the man’s condition seconds before her brain did. She jumped back, falling over the Throne and tumbling onto her ass. “Shit, shit, shit.”

Karen’s hands shook. She fumbled for her smokes in her vest pocket and pulled one out. She could hardly get the cigarette to her mouth. So much for sneaking out early, dammit. She struggled with her lighter, but finally the end of the cigarette flared. She inhaled, then blew out. She clutched the lit cigarette between her lips and pulled herself up on the Throne.

Maybe the man wasn’t really dead, just out cold. Karen inched toward him and touched the toe of her boot to his side again. He fell sideways, slipping down the wall at an awkward angle. His body was otherwise stiff and unmoving. How long had he been out here?

Karen considered her options. There was no helping this guy now. If she called for help, she’d be here all night talking to the cops. Then she’d never make it on time. Dane would be pissed. When he told her to be somewhere, she’d better be there when he said. He didn’t much care for her excuses, dead man or no…

What happens next? You decide! Write the next 200 words to this story, post it to your blog, and share a link in the comments below.

~Amanda L. Webster

4 thoughts on “The second 200 words: A Real Live Corpse”

  1. Pingback: Imagine That

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