Furious Fiction - October 2018 - The Lost Hour

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 October 2018 was:

  • The story’s title had to be “The Lost Hour”.

  • The story had to include a sentence with three colours in it.

  • The story had to include the sentence/phrase “it was lighter”

The Lost Hour

The rain poured down on Kyle, his umbrella doing very little to protect from the bombardment of water from all sides. It was lighter than yesterday, but that was hardly saying anything. The bus was late. Again. No surprises there. He stared down the road expectantly but pessimistic. The sight of headlights coming around the bend would dare him to hope for a few seconds before it turned out to be just another car. The bus is coming. Any minute now. Or hour. Possibly even day. The water started to pool up on the grass beneath his feet, drenching his shoes. Those were probably never going to dry. His stone-faced stare eventually gave way for a defeated sigh. Another set of headlights lit up the road. Kyle didn’t want to get his hopes up, but this time they’d have been founded as the bus was finally here. He stepped onboard and fumbled about trying to put away his umbrella while also getting his travel card out of his wallet.

He tapped his card against the machine and turned to find the worst sight you can find when getting on a bus - a crowd. As the bus moved away from the stop Kyle pushed his way into some free space, letting out a string of ‘excuse me’s. There was barely enough room for him to stand; a mess of body parts surrounded him, skewed into awkward angles. Not even enough room to pull his phone out, so no reading or writing… or tweeting. Nothing for him to do for however long the journey took. He was expected to just stand there wasting time, staring out at the rain assaulting the windows. Time that was just thrown away; lost.

At least the bus was making good time. They were close to the motorway, and they’d be able to beat the bulk of the traffic if they got on there now. But when Kyle looked out the window, his heart sank. The once green lights had turned yellow and then, just as the bus slowed to a stop, they reached red. How much more time would this cost him?

Kyle stood there for what felt like forever amongst a tangle of limbs, enduring an onslaught to his senses. The squelching of gum being chewed crept into his ear. The smell of unwashed armpits stung his nose. The rising temperature of the heater was making him nauseous and sweaty. And right in the corner of his eye he could see a toddler’s finger reach up their nose and then into their mouth. He managed to peek at the time on his phone through his pocket. Only an hour had passed. One of the longest hours of his life, and yet one he would never remember. Just a meaningless event lost in the expanse of his memory. And for what? To sit at a desk and stare at a clock for hours. Was it worth it? Probably not.

He would do it all again tomorrow.

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