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Flash Fiction: Unique Encounter

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Flash fiction is a genre of fiction that is shorter than a short story. While there is no definite consensus on its official word count, flash fiction usually consists of no more than 1500 words excluding the title.

Below is an example of flash fiction entitled Unique Encounter, with 922 words.

The warm rays of the sun from the pulled-up curtain in my room woke me up and interrupted my dream.

“Argh! I was close.” I groan in annoyance as I stupidly try to get back to sleep to continue my dream. It didn’t work, of course. What am I even expecting?

I gave up and decided to stand and get ready for work. It is my first day back, after all.

I am having these recurring weird, yet interesting dreams since I woke up from my accident a few weeks ago.

In this dream, I am riding my bicycle through the park of the hospital where I’m working. It is always in that place. Sometimes I will find myself sitting on one of the benches with the bicycle beside me, sometimes I am just standing near the fountain, but most of the time I am riding the bicycle around. What makes this dream weirder is that I always come across an unfamiliar guy. I have never seen his face, but I know that I have not seen him before.

He has lightly tanned skin and dark hair with an average body build. Unfortunately, his face is always concealed in my dream, if not, my memory of his face when I wake up is too vague or I am not able to remember his face anymore. The mysteriousness of this guy and the fact that I have been seeing this dream every night for some time now is what gets me.

After making my bed, I shift my focus on my day and put that dream mystery aside for a while. This is my first day to be back in the hospital after the accident that put me in a few days of comma, and I have been anticipating this day since I got out of the hospital.

My friends and fellow nurses welcome me back before I start my usual routine as an emergency room nurse. After my shift, I can finally say that things are slowly getting back to normal.

I was in the E.R. throughout the day attending to patients who needed help and assisting doctors as much as I can. I was exhausted, but I really missed my job.

Since it had been a long day, I immediately went to my bed and went to sleep as soon as got home. The next thing I know is that I am in the park again walking with my bike. I am enjoying the weather while looking around wondering if I will see the mysterious guy this time when I suddenly bump into someone.

“You?” we both exclaimed in unison as soon as we laid eyes on each other.

It is him, the mysterious guy.

“What do you mean ‘you’? Have we ever met before?” I asked in confusion as soon as I pulled myself together.

“No, but I am always seeing you here. I’ve always wanted to see your face because whenever I come closer to you, the dream will start over again.”

I am stunned

“What? You are dreaming about this too? You are a real person?”

He chuckles. “Of course, I am. My name is Andre Smith, what’s yours?”

I am about to answer his question when my alarm clock wakes me up.

That dream occupies me from the moment I woke up until I got to the hospital. Is that even possible? All this time I thought that he is just a product of my mind and imagination. How can I meet a real person through my dream?

It is driving me crazy, but I shove my thoughts about it as soon as I got to the hospital to be able to work properly. I do not want people in the hospital to assume that I am still not in the condition to work if they see me out of focus.

After a quick lunch, the chief nurse, which is also a close friend, talks to me about the suggestions she receives to temporarily transfer me to the ICU floor to let me start easy, away from the stress of the emergency room.

It is not big deal for me, so that afternoon she orients me on the things I should know about the patients who are currently in the ICU.

“You know what to do, closely monitor their condition according to the doctors’ order and report immediately if there are changes or sudden concerns. You are assigned to three patients, Mrs. Alison Cortez in room 23b, Mr. Andre Smith in 23g, and Mr. Alex Brown in 23f.”

I look at her in confusion. “What’s the name of the second patient?”

“Andre Smith, why?”

My heart pounded.

Andre Smith, is that a coincidence?

For no exact reason, I found myself suddenly storming towards the room of that patient in 23g. To my extreme surprise, it was him. The man in my dream. He has tubes and machines connected to his body while soundly sleeping.

“You know him?” She asked

“No,” I said while still in shock.

“He’s been here for weeks now. He actually came in the day you had an accident. He still has brain activity, but he is not waking up until now.”

He is in a comma. This is why he said his dreams are always starting over, not that the dream will cut. The dream is just starting over because he’s not waking up. But, what is the meaning of this? How is it possible that we encounter each other in our dreams?

© 2023 JC Guiao