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art by Shot Hot Design

Hints of the Apocalypse

K.G. Jewell lives and writes in Austin, Texas. He once rode his bicycle across the country. He stopped counting the flat tires somewhere in Nebraska. His website, which is never updated, is lit.kgjewell.com.

Transcription of Orkney artifact 345NG, recovered at -10M, 3K SW from primary blast center. Handwritten on loose-leaf paper.
Minutes of the February meeting of the Orkney Boarding School Fiction Society, as recorded by Secretary Ewan Charlet, President Sophie Marwick presiding. Vice President Jamie Hurley also attending.
The meeting was called to order in the basement faculty lounge at approximately 3:00 pm. The lounge grandfather clock read 3:12, but Jamie didn't believe it to be accurate.
President Sophie Marwick thanked the membership for attending. The minutes of the last meeting were read. Jamie moved to accept them, Ewan seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Sophie presented an article in Lump Magazine about "Hint Fiction." The article defined Hint Fiction as a short story of 25 words or less.
Jamie motioned that they write Hint Fiction for the meeting writing exercise. Sophie seconded. In discussion on the motion, Ewan expressed doubt that 25 words was a "real" story. The motion passed, two to one.
A ten-minute writing period, per the grandfather clock, was allocated to the story writing. The stories are presented below:
Sophie: A lone horse runs under the moonlight. Where will it find a companion soul? Not with the herd, chewing on the trampled grass.
Ewan: The professor points at his bookshelf, "I think you should have my Nobel. Your fiction is new, and real. My time has passed."
Jamie: The flower blooms, even in the dark of the basement. The dusty clock's pulse races, dismissing proper time in the presence of such beauty.
Discussion followed, in which it was decided that a plot was necessary for even such a short story. A discussion of the definition of "plot" arose. Sophie proposed a definition of plot as "something happens." Ewan noted Miss. Cavelos' lecture last week on the "causal chain" in fiction. It was unanimously decided to amend the definition to "something happens because something happens."
A second writing period followed.
Sophie: A dandelion reaches for the sun, striving to be seen. On Thursday, it blooms, rising above the grass of the schoolyard. On Friday, it is mowed. --Ewan noted this piece used 26 words, and Sophie edited the above text to use the contraction "it's" for it is.
Ewan: I carve new words in the universe's soul. Humanity feels their truth, and realizes a Nobel is not enough. They wish they could give more.
Jamie: Two horses run under the moonlight, each alone. But hearing the footsteps of the other, they rejoice, alone no more.
During Jamie's recitation, the airhorn sounded. Ewan noted that under the wartime school rules, they were required to report to their assigned underground shelters.
A discussion was had, in which it was decided that the basement faculty lounge was technically an "underground shelter" and they were safer staying put.
Sophie shared that she had been in the office that morning and no drill was scheduled, so this was probably the real thing. Jamie shared that his dad, on the defense squad, had been in a bad mood a week ago because the new anti-missile system software was "buggy as shit."
Following a two-to-one straw poll, meeting business resumed with another round of fiction.
Sophie: Facing death, two horses yearn to explore the hidden reaches of each other before they die.
Ewan: Three wheels hang on the shop wall. Two are placed on the bicycle of love, but when the universe ends, there will be no road.
Jamie: The beautiful dandelion is best squeezed gently for the refreshing tea of summer. It should be drunk fresh, before the colds of the nuclear winter.
The lights went out during the final recital. Ewan determined that if he stood, he could write by the iridium dial paint of the grandfather clock.
Sophie and Jamie discussed their poetry between themselves.
At 4:37 (per the grandfather clock), the meeting was adjourned by Secretary Ewan, President Sophie and Vice President Jamie abstaining.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, August 1st, 2011

Author Comments

I once had an editor (with a very bright red pen) who trained me to avoid the passive voice in my work. What I enjoyed most about writing "Hints of the Apocalypse" was allowing myself to embrace my secret love of the passive in its construction.
A good time was had by all.

- K.G. Jewell
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