13DWF Day Seven: "Human, All Too Human" by Frank Floyd

Our seventh story of The 13 Days of Weird Flash is Frank Floyd's "Human, All Too Human" from our "Winter '22" release.

13DWF Day Seven: "Human, All Too Human" by Frank Floyd
Frank Floyd, author of "Human, All Too Human"

We’re at the half-way point, folks. Act II. The end is in sight…

And since it’s been cold as hell in Chicago (Ninth-Level Cocytus-cold!), we’re hearkening back to our inaugural Winter ’22 installment with a chilling tale from Frank Floyd.

Frank is a Dark Fiction author writing about existential dread, mental health, and the pain of existence.

In his latest release, Soap, Frank tells the narrative and mystery of Noah - an anxious, neurotic and isolated young man who roams the streets of Manchester either in a haze of adrenaline or intoxication. Existing in a mode of fight or flight and haunted by his past, Noah is forced to confront himself when he falls for the beautiful and good-hearted Yasmin. Battling his alcoholism and his crippling sense of self, Noah's narrative is a story of identity, masculinity, disordered anxiety, and how the unchosen experiences of our childhood are forever present in our habitual lives as adults.

Without further ado… (But stick around for the Q&A!)

Human, All Too Human

By Frank Floyd

It was winter again.

Winter was when they came.

The respite of autumn had faded. The nights now much longer, the air much colder. New families had moved into the homes of those that had gone. They had heard rumours of the string of disappearances, but had no choice.

It was slim pickings for the poor.

No one was sure what they were. I peered through the bedroom curtain once, and all that did was confuse me more.

Some were bipedal, almost human, while others crawled on all fours. They prowled the streets, hunters searching for prey.

All were as dark as shadows.

They would come to the door, but I would never open it. They would try to trick you into opening the door.

One night, I heard my mother pleading for me to let her in from the other side of the door.

She’d been dead for six years.

I would hear the screaming of my neighbours as they fell for their tricks.

I think it was their screams. I wasn’t sure of anything. It could have been another trick.

The news never reported it, the police refused to help.

We were the dregs of society, not worth the attention. As long as the shadows stayed out of the cities, the world was happy.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Was that the deal? Perhaps those in ivory towers had traded the lives of the downtrodden in exchange for safety. It wasn’t much different before the shadows came. We were the ones who scrubbed their toilets, delivered their food, cleaned their cars. Yet all we got were the crumbs from the rich man’s table.

We were already slowly dying, the shadows just sped that up.

If anything, it was a mercy.

I considered this nightly. The purpose of my existence. The struggle of long work days for little pay, the fear of death throughout the winter.

What was it all for? What, exactly, was in it for me?

Tonight, I was awoken again by a voice at the door. I say awoke, but during winter it wasn’t really sleep. It was impossible to really sleep.

The voice was feminine, sultry. I peered through the spyhole and saw the figure of a beautiful woman. Long red hair, full lips.

“I know what you are, but I have a proposition.”

The shadow grew silent.

“I’ll let you in. I’ll accept my fate. But you must keep this form, you must let me have you. My life is nothing but long, drawn out, anguish. I want a single night of ecstasy before I die.”

The shadow remained silent for a moment, and then spoke.

“I accept.”

I unlocked the door.

The woman smiled and crossed the threshold.

Her eyes were completely black.

We kissed.

We were already slowly dying, the small pleasures of life a barely palatable distraction from the crushing agony of existence.

At least this way it was my choice.

At least this way I could embrace the void.

Q&A with Frank Floyd

WFQ: Why do you write weird fiction and when did you start?

FF: I hadn't written flash fiction before, though was familiar with writing short stories. I was part of the first cohort for these collections. I've always written weird fiction though! I'm far more interested in weird than "normal" (whatever that means).

WFQ: Who are the literary inspirations for your contributions?

FF: Honestly, Russell Smeaton who started these collections. I read some of his work and then connected with him online before he asked me to try some flash fiction myself. I LOVE the Goosebumps books (notice I said love, and not loved). I grew up reading them and love that style. Guy N. Smith is fantastic too, though not a flash fiction writer, his stories had a lot of horror, but also a weird camp quality too which I love.

WFQ: What do you like most about the 500-word format we use? What do you find most challenging with it?

FF: I like the challenge of it! At first, I thought I'd hate having to be restricted to so few words, but it's a lot of fun. It's almost like a puzzle. You have this idea for a story and you have to work out how to fit everything you want into quite a tight window.

WFQ:  If you were made editor for an issue, which theme would you choose to guide a whole WFQ installment?

FF: The majority of my stories have some sort of mental health metaphor, so maybe something like that? Or I'd have the theme based around cheesy creature feature horror movies.

WFQ: Where else can we read more of your work? Where can we find out more about you?

FF: I have my blog which has a bunch of short stories available to read for free: frankfloyd.home.blog. My novel and novella collection is available on Amazon. I also have a Facebook page, as well!

Thanks again to Frank Floyd for that tale that reminds us that it's never too late to take control of our fates (even if that control may be short-lived). We'll be back tomorrow to close out the week and welcome the month of December.

Don't go anywhere!

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