First a little flash fiction.
The sparkly ball slowly descended from the top of the tower to the chants of thousands of people. 5... 4... 3... 2...
The moment stretched. Melinda felt the very air around her inhale as if taking a breath before the last number.
Her heart started to race frantically. Wrong. This was all wrong. At five feet tall, she wasn't able to see anything around her. She'd positioned herself close to the ball so that she could look up and see it without having to stand on her toes or grapple with people around her. The ball hovered in the air. She wanted to reach out and nudge it into movement.
She'd always wanted to go to New York for New Years. As a young girl, she'd been the one who had insisted that her parents and siblings watch the ball drop on television. While her parents dozed on the couch and her younger sister and brother slept around her on the floor, Melinda had been the one to count down the new year by herself. It didn't matter if they all slept. She was caught up in the magic of the moment. A clean slate. A brand-new year. A time when anything seemed possible.
Closest to her, the other party-goers stared up with rapt attention. They didn't seem to be breathing. Confetti hovered in mid-air. Their heads were upturned to stare at the ball, so all Melinda could see was the sides of their faces. She shoved at the man next to her. He didn't budge, and his face never changed its delighted expression.
She noticed that buildings and lights, which had been flashing around her, were now static. They no longer flashed their frenetic backdrop in the square.
Melinda was completely boxed in. Crammed so tight with others that she could barely twist around to see those behind her. From her height, she could only see one or two people. Nobody moved. Nobody blinked. They didn't seem to be breathing either.
Panic started to claw at her chest. It pulled at her breathing until she wondered if she might pass out. She gave a yell.
"Hey! Hello! What's going on?"
Her words didn't seem to penetrate more than a few feet past her. This wasn't a canyon where her words would echo. It was Times Square crammed full of people to watch the ball drop. Her words were absorbed by the parkas and bodies around her.
She struggled to move. Pushing and shoving at the statues around her. She tried to squat down on the ground. If she could crawl between their legs, she might be able to get out of this crush. Unfortunately, they were packed in too tightly. With a scream slowly rising in her throat, she waved her arms. Slapping at the shoulders, arms and chests of those inanimate objects that had only recently been cheering human beings, she slowly let that scream rise in her. Now, they were bars keeping her in this prison.
She opened her mouth and let that scream tear loose.
Time passed. Or at least she thought it did. Without movement and time to guide her, she could have been standing there screaming for 10 seconds, or 30 minutes. Her scratchy, raw throat told her she'd been screaming long enough to do some damage.
Crazy thoughts filled her mind. Was this the end of the world? A pause that only she could feel and see? Or was she really as inanimate as the rest. Only mobile in her own mind as were the others around her. Each finding their own private hell as they found themselves crushed in the bodies while the ball hovered mid-fall.
Time passed. Hours then days as she slowly weakened. Unable to fall to the ground, she leaned into those next to her. Let them bear her weight as she drifted thinking about her final New Years. What had once been her favorite time of the year, was now her last.
And then some talk.
I'm gearing up to participate in JuNoWriMo where people write 50,000 words in a month. This time, it's June. Yet another writing device to help motivate me. It's hard to write all the words all the time. I need to keep myself entertained with charts, camaraderie and cookies. (Well, fat-free, sugar-free cookies. I'm dieting. Coffee used to be on that list too. I've taken a coffee hiatus.)
Unfortunately, I have no plot, no characters and...well, nothing. There's nothing. *sighs* This weekend I'll be brainstorming and outlining. Wish me luck!