“Out in the Cold” and Flash Fiction


I jotted this story down one afternoon while I was typing out my daily journal entry. The first line popped in my head, as I remembered a conversation I had years ago with a girl I went to school with.

Here it is, if you’d like to read it – and even comment on it.


“Out in the Cold”

She told me to piss off.

To be fair, only a day ago, I’d given her a less-than-gushing review on the short story she’d just written for our Creative Writing class.

And a few seconds ago, I’d told her her boyfriend – the guy she wanted to move in with – was using her.

“You wouldn’t understand what it’s like to be in love,” she said to me.

She’s wrong about that, but it isn’t her fault that she doesn’t know. She’s never  been someone I felt comfortable confiding in.

I’ve known her since high school, but I still haven’t gotten over the kittens she adopted from us years ago – and then left outside overnight. In the dead of winter.

When I’d asked her the following day, “How are the kittens?” she’d said, “Oh, they’re dead.”

She’d expected them to find a safe and warm place to hunker down for the night. I’ve been to her house. There is no such place. Even the inside of their house feels more greasy than warm.

“You left them outside? Overnight? It snowed!”

“Yeah, well …all our cats stay outside. They find places to stay warm, and they’re fine. I guess the kittens couldn’t find a place, though.”

Kitten murderer. 

Those kittens were born in my bedroom closet. Their mother was a pill, but she was gorgeous, and they were as friendly (unlike their mother) as they were adorable. I had misgivings about letting Audrey take any home with her, but she thought she was doing us a favor by helping us get rid of them.

And now she’s writing truly awful short stories and poetry and moving in with her new boyfriend, who gave me the down-and-up look when Audrey introduced us.

Leroy Hardon.

Pronounced “har-dun,” with emphasis on the “dun.”

“Har-DUN.” He repeated that, slowly, watching my face. I bit the inside of my lip and gave Audrey two raised eyebrows and a quick wave as I left.

What a tool.

I only told her later what I thought of him – and only because she asked. She’d just accepted his invitation to move in with him. He was renting a room from a lady off campus who traps stray cats in her house. Audrey loves cats, or so she told him.

“They’re tough and beautiful, and they don’t give a f***,” she said.

Then Leroy said, “That’s where you come in, babe.” Audrey smiled and draped herself over him.

I don’t know who I feel more worried for – Audrey or the stray cats.

Yeah, I do.

Sometimes, out in the cold is a better place. If it doesn’t kill you.


I know it’s a bit rough, yet. I’m still working on writing something that qualifies as “flash fiction,” and this came in at a little under 500 words.

How ’bout you? Do you enjoy writing flash fiction or longer short stories – or both? What do you love most about them? Please share in the comments below, if you can.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Take care, and enjoy your weekend. 🙂



2 thoughts on ““Out in the Cold” and Flash Fiction

  1. She really did. That’s one of the things in this story that’s true. Some parts are true, and others made up. The whole thing is sort of a mash-up of bits and pieces, but the story about those kittens still haunts me. We didn’t plan for them to be born in our bedroom closet, but the mother (the self-appointed queen of the household) chose that spot herself and wouldn’t be dissuaded. 😉
    I was angry, too. And I felt awful. One kitten survived that litter, and she was infertile. She preferred the outdoors (when it wasn’t freezing), and she was a great mouser, but she never had kittens of her own.
    Thanks for reading and commenting! I hope you enjoy your weekend. 🙂


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