Flash Fiction: ‘A Hand on the Glass’

Hello, all!  Welcome to my flash fiction experiment!  As a writing exercise, I am trying my hand at fiction of approximately 500 words.  I hope you enjoy!  This was the very first one I attempted, so be gentle 😉  Would love to hear what you all think!


A Hand on the Glass

She sat in the booth, her hands wrapped around a cup of coffee in a chipped mug.  The dark liquid rippled as she blew across it and steam rose to kiss her face.  She stared out the window, the rain pouring against the glass.  City lights shone through the gloom.  The colours blurred and blended, the urban landscape transformed into an Impressionist hillside.

Her mind wandered as she stared.

She’d been followed again, she was sure of it.

At first it had been just the subway.  She’d seen the figure on the platform.  She wouldn’t have noticed except he’d been staring across his newspaper at her.  Not unusual, but instead of smiling or nodding or blushing when she’d caught him, he wasn’t embarrassed.

He’d just kept staring.

After that, she’d started noticing him everywhere.  She told herself that she was being crazy.  He lived in the same neighbourhood, that was all.  He was going to take the same train.  He was going to shop at the same grocery store.  He was creepy and way too confident, but that was all.

She had altered her routine a little today.  She wasn’t afraid, she told herself.  It was just for peace of mind, a little experiment.  The diner was out of her way, and she’d be home much later than usual.  She’d be taking a different train home.

Behind her, the glass door to the diner swung inward, a bell above it signalling to the waitress that a new patron had arrived.  The sounds of the city swelled and crashed together, suddenly louder through the open door.  Car horns and shouting and pulsing music all seemed to rise up together, a cacophony that she sometimes hated.  Today, she was grateful; it drowned out her thoughts.  The crowds helped her breath, a twisted version of claustrophobia that only true urbanites could understand.

She sensed the hesitation of the new patron as they looked around, searching for their party.

Slow, methodical footsteps approached her.  They stopped just behind her and she involuntarily stiffened.  Her pulse quickened, and she resisted the urge to turn.  If she turned, it would give him power.

She didn’t want to give him the satisfaction.

Another moment drew itself out, a painful second that lasted an eternity. She heard it breathing, a rustling as it sat in the booth across from hers.  It was an it, she knew it now.  She struggled to recall its face, and realized that she couldn’t.  It was a blur, non-descript in its ancientness.

Trembling slightly, she looked up at the diner window.

A small hand pressed to the glass.  She couldn’t make out a face, but the shadow of a body stood outside.  It was somehow both blurred with and distinct from the rest of the watercolour landscape.  The hand was pressed firmly now, fingertips and palm devoid of colour with the pressure.

Other hands began to join it slowly, one by one.  Dozens and dozens of handprints stretched out against the picture window, a deranged Kindergarten mural.

She slowly put down her coffee.

She would be just one more hand on the glass.  Maybe not today, but it was her future.  Her fate.

Throwing down some cash onto the tabletop, she fled.

Patiently, it followed.  The hands withdrew, outlines shrinking into themselves one by one.  By the time the waitress hustled over to clear the abandoned table, it was as if they had never been there at all.

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