Short Story – Second Chance

Thought I’d post of a few of the things I’ve been working on now and then, and I’d love any feedback you might like to share!

This first piece is a short-short story I wrote for an online competition. It feels a little rushed, but I was limited to 750 words (harder than it sounded!).

Here was the prompt: Write a short story, of 750 words or fewer, that begins with the following line of dialogue: “If you can guess what I have in my pocket, you can have it.”

And here’s my story. Hope you enjoy it.

Second Chance by Erika Kehlet

“If you can guess what I have in my pocket, you can have it.”

The voice seemed to originate inside my head. I couldn’t even see a face underneath the hood of the figure before me.

“Who are you?”, I asked. “I don’t know that I want to guess what might be in your pocket.”

“Guess.”, came the voice again.

I looked around. The room we were in was round, and its gray walls were bare save for two doors, one white and one black, which stood opposite each other. I had already tried them both and knew that they were locked. The only light was what emanated from around each door. The floor was hidden beneath a carpet of fog, and there was a small round table in the center of the room. I couldn’t remember how I got here, and I didn’t know how to get out.

“Where are we?”, I asked the figure. “How did I get here? I don’t remember coming in. I remember leaving my office. I was going across the street to meet a friend for coffee. I don’t remember what happened next!” There was no answer. “Who are you? Why the cloak? Why don’t you want me to see your face?”

The figure remained silent and motionless. I wanted to shake him, to make him answer me, but I was afraid to move any closer. I sighed. There didn’t seem to be anything else I could do.

“Ok,” I said, “I’ll play along.”

“Guess what I have in my pocket.”, the voice in my head repeated.

“I don’t know what you have in your pocket,” I said. “Is it a coin?”

“Guess again.”, came the voice.

“Is it a phone?”, I tried hopefully. Mine had no reception here.

“Guess again.”

“How am I supposed to guess what you have in your pocket?” I shouted at the hooded figure. “I don’t know what you have in there, but I wish it was a key, so I could open a door and get out of here. Is it a key?”

The figure reached one hand inside the cloak and brought out a small rusty key. He laid it on the table in front of me. “Which door does it open?”, I whispered, wanting to reach for the key but afraid he would take it back and leave me trapped here.

I heard the voice speak one last word, and then my companion simply faded away. “Choose.”, it said, and I was alone.

I snatched up the key and hurried to the white door. It fit in the lock. I could open this door, but what would I find on the other side? Would it be better than where I was now? There was bright light coming into this room from the small gap around the door. I tried to see through but the space was too small, so I pressed my ear up to the door. It felt warm against my face. I could hear a faint humming coming from the other side. It was soothing, and familiar. My heartbeat slowed to its normal rate, and I felt calm for the first time since finding myself in this room. I felt fresh air coming in around the door along with the light. It smelled of lavender, roses, and fresh baked bread. I closed my eyes and inhaled, and then I was five again, running into the warm kitchen with a scraped knee, only to have my mother wrap her comforting arms around me and make everything alright. I felt safe, and started to turn the key. Then I hesitated. I had to choose, and might not get a second chance. I had to check the other door. I pulled myself away and crossed the room.

The key fit the lock of the black door as well. This door was cool to the touch. I smelled oil, rubber, and exhaust fumes coming in from the other side, and I didn’t need to press my ear against the door to hear the noise. I heard horns honking, whistles blowing, and a siren in the distance. I heard what sounded like people running. There was shouting, but I couldn’t make out the words. Then there came a woman’s sob, another shout, someone calling my name. I glanced across at the white door one last time, turned the key in the lock, and slipped through the door.

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6 thoughts on “Short Story – Second Chance

  1. A wonderful story, Erika! I had this feeling she would choose the black door even before she went over to it. Something about the air from around the white one being too full of good things. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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