The Woman and the Smoke

I love the library. You could find hidden treasures in there if you look openly. It was quiet and easy to feel at ease while still being around other people. Better than being quiet but alone at home.


I was rocketed forward over my desk and slammed into a book shelf halfway across the hall. My head spun and world blurred around me. The wall behind me had exploded in a storm of shredded wood, fire, and jet black smoke.

Figures were moving in the smoke, was it smoke? It wasn’t moving like smoke and it seemed to be being chased by someone or something. My vision swam in and out of focus as I strained to get my bearings.

“Ha! You can’t run from me forever, Clyde.” a soft high-pitched voice cackled from within the swirling smoke.

My vision started to clear. Clear enough that I could see that the smoke itself had stopped and turned to face her. The smoke actually growled at her.

“Do your worst, Madame Cataleen!” the smoke seemed to vibrate as it snarled at the woman.

I stared in numbed disbelief as I took note that there was a hulking figure in the smoke. I tore my eyes from the darkness back to the woman. She was smiling with fanatic’s glee and I watched her raise what looked like a flintlock pistol. The creature roared in anger and sped towards her, a violently swirling black mist that was clear to do her harm. Click


I giant bright-aqua blue discharge cloud exploded from the pistol. What looked like a cannonball exploded from within the black smoke. Something howled in agony and the cloud of smoke whirled upward, towards the ceiling. The smoke blanketed the entirety of the arching ceiling. Smoke hung so thick in the library’s rafters that she could read words in it.

“Surrender or this whole city dies in 2 days.” the smoke sketched hard, rigid letters in the air as the woman stared up at it.

“Pfft. As if…” the woman scowled as her eyes dropped and met mine.

I froze. I didn’t think my body could become more stiff than it was.

“Don’t worry nerd,” she said smiling,”I got it handled. Don’t worry bout a thing and, uh, stay in school.”

She winked at me right before throwing something on the ground and bursting into purple flames. The flames disappeared as fast as they came and she was gone.

Nobody would believe any of us in the library that just witnessed this. I didn’t care though because I was gonna need months to comprehend and accept what just happened. Did I have that amount of time though?

My body jerked as I surprised myself with speech aloud.

“What if she fails?”

The topic for this posts flash fiction was the sentence…

“Smoke hung so thick in the library’s rafters that she could read words in it.”

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