Furious Fiction is a monthly short story writing content held by the Australian Writer’s Centre on the first Friday of each month. You need to write a 500 word or less short story meeting a specific set of criteria by the end of the weekend, and the best entry as selected by the judges wins $500.
The criteria for September 2018 was:
The entire story must take place in an airport.
The story must include the word SPRING somewhere. (Plural also okay.)
The story must include the phrase: IT WAS EMPTY
Waiting For Katie
Sam stood alone in the crowd. He tried to maintain his cool, despite his heart feeling like it would spring out of his chest. His hands firmly gripped onto a crudely-made sign so hard that it dug in, and would almost certainly leave a mark. He’d toiled for hours over what to put on the sign. Love hearts? Too forward. A smiley face? Too casual. Rather than overthinking it he decided to just play it safe; a name. A lovely name. “Katie Fisher”. Whenever Sam thought of her name, he heard it in his head through a gentle whisper carried by a soft, cool wind. He could feel himself spacing out and had to consciously pull himself out of his daydream.
Before Katie, Sam had been sinking into darkness. His career was going nowhere. He spent his nights alone. But then he received a notification from a dating app he’d long forgotten he’d even installed. A match. Sam decided to check their profile. Why not? He had nothing better to do. What he saw was the image of a goddess; young and beautiful. Surely this was a mistake? But he messaged her anyway, bracing for the worst. What came instead was a friendly reply. They got talking, and hours passed in a flash. They had so much in common; they loved the same shows and played the same games. Sam expected her to ghost him at any second, but no - they’d talk everyday, and she’d even initiate it sometimes. They were destined to be together. There was just one problem.
Katie lived on the other side of the country.
Sam wanted something more physical, absolutely, but he didn’t want to push anything. Until one day, Katie messaged him in a panic. Her parents had kicked her out, and she had nowhere to go. She was breaking down and needed help. Sam was distraught, but was comforted by the arrival of a genius idea - Katie could come live with him. She was flattered, but this just distressed her more, because she had no money. Eager to play the knight in shining armour, Sam offered to give her money for the flight. This was it. It took disaster to make it happen, but he would be happy at last.
And so here he waited at the airport, his hands starting to go numb from holding the sign. People started to flood out of the gate, and Sam eagerly kept an eye out for that beautiful, sculpted face from Katie’s profile. The flood gradually became a trickle. And then nothing. Confused, Sam looked around desperately. He couldn’t see her anywhere. He quickly unlocked his phone and went to message her, only to be met with a cruel taunt - “This user account has been terminated.” He realised all too late what had happened. He tried to muster up something, be it sadness or anger; anything, just to know he could still feel something. But it was no use. Inside of him, it was empty.