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This document is where you will draft, edit, and finalize your Flash Fiction story.

The Jacqueline Between

Jacqueline Oswald didn’t know what her last words would be. Or rather, she didn’t want to know. She was a good actor, and a famous one too, since she did what she was told. As normal, an 8-page syllabus of what her future was for that day was sent to her door. Everyone had this, starting when people’s lives became so predictable that you could search up what you would do on May 19, 2072.  Although many hated this change, it quickly became the new normal. Nonetheless, it was a privilege to know your future, so a good actress like Jacqueline would read and play her part perfectly.

Some days, the scripts didn’t come. Some days, you decide what to do for the day. And it was on one of these free-days that Jacqueline Oswald died. And she never knew those last words. She went to sleep the previous day at 8:59 PM and never woke up again. The media said she had died in a freak gas leak. No one who was there remembered what happened, but she knew what happened next.

Jacqueline was falling. Fast. Falling down, down down into nothingness. She screamed, but couldn’t hear it. Down, down, down she fell. Faster and faster, racing towards nothing, and then-.

She woke with a gasp, her chest heaving.

“What a nightmare,” she remarked to herself. “Margot, are you there? Fetch me a fresh glass of my personal brand of tea with a full pomegranate next to it,” She commanded coldly. Right away! I can’t deal with this right now, I have to get to work and-.” She paused for a moment, and she looked around. This wasn’t her bedroom. These were not her bright yellow walls with gold crown molding. The door wasn’t where her door always was. “Where am I?”

“Why, you are in The In-Between. Well, specifically in Newhouse Province, at the DONC, or the Department of New Civilians. This section of the DONC is on Brikwave Way within the town of Januarior. Your coordinates are 13:44r4, 556:44s1, 3321:wq119, and 221:2713e.”

A boom shook the room. “Oh, have I not appeared yet? These old transporters don’t work right anymore. Ah, here we go.”

An old wood desk popped into the middle of the cold, barren room.

A tired older man sat at the old, wood desk. His fine-trimmed beard and his short hair were both rain gray, as were his eyes. His eyes, Jacqueline thought, look like her father’s.

Although she loved him very much, her father was often laughed at. He spoke only when needed, in a raspy and soothing voice. He was a polite man who loved a good book more than life itself. He always ended his sentences with, “ dear.” He was the last one in Jacqueline’s family to die, and he was the only one she loved.

Jacqueline didn’t speak, but the old man answered all of her questions anyway.

“Why are you here? Well, you are here because you are dead. And now you have two options. Choice A: You can go home in 10 years and remember everything-”

Jacqueline sat up and started to pay attention.

“That requires a trial and an examination of character, though. A simpler option would be choice B: to stay here forever and wipe your mind. You would have a new life and see the ones you had lost. Of course, you could get a job, but you don’t need to. Here, everyone is happy, and isn’t that what we all want? To be finally happy? Well, anyway, it’s your choice. So, what will it be? A or B?”

“Why do we even have to go through with all of this? I simply want to get back to my life and be normal! I have important business to do. If you just let me go back into my world and GET OUT OF MY DREAM!” She roared as she furiously attempted to open the door to no avail.

“But you have to choose, miss. I’ll go ahead and assume you want option A. Now, let's review your character.” He said as he pulled out a large red folder. “Let’s start with this one.”

The room changed into a busy street. A magazine vendor was shouting something about a famous couple.

“Actress Malaa Anthony breaks up with her famous wife! Now Jaqueline Oswald is speaking out about her relationship’s ending! Read all about it!”

Suddenly, the blond, glamor lady from the magazines hurried by. She was halfway down the street, walking her poodle when her phone started to ring.

“Hell, I don’t have enough time for this,” she answered in a heavy southern accent. “Who is this? Is this Geraldine? I can’t exist like this forever, you have to give me my money at some point! I won it from you in that bet! I need it for that new car Georgie needs. Yes, my dog. Georgie, you OWE me. Get it to me by Friday, or I’ll scratch your car with the heel of my stilettos. Bu-by!”

The clip ended.

“Was that me?! How did you get that footage?! That was-”

“Unacceptable behavior, yes. We have many clips where you act like this. Privileged and a brat! We do have one that could be different. Ah, here it is”

The room shook, thunder boomed.

It was her, the movie star, waiting for something in the rain. Lightning struck a mile away, but she waited. Although she could go home and be dry and warm, she chose to stay. She decided to keep standing, even when the day dipped into the night.

The clip ended.

“My my. It says here that your character rating is 60.99. The level to enter the trial is 60.9. Well, you are good enough for now. Wait here, I’ll get it started. If you still want to, of course.” The desk disappeared, and the man along with it. And left Jaqueline alone with her thoughts.

Am I a good person? I’m ‘good enough’ apparently, but I will remember all I did if I go back. I will remember all whom I hurt. Georgie, my best friend. Margot, my maid since I was 10. My mother and family, whom I never loved and whom I took everything from. My father, whom I always took my problems out on. My wife, whom I loved but never showed it. What have I done? What will make me truly happy? My fame, fortune, my terrible old self and to never say sorry? Or a new chance, to start over, to apologize, forgive, and forget? I will see them all in time, all who loved me if I stay here. I may not remember them, but I will try.

“Wait! Mr. Whatever your name is! I choose option B! Please! Answer me! I’m so sorry!”

“Well, that leaves a lot less work for me!” The desk and the man reappeared. “Come outside with me.”

As she stepped into the rain, she started to forget. Who was she, anyway? Where was she, anyway? Who was this man next to her, and what was he saying? All she had left was a sense of peace and relief. And finally, freedom.