Flash Fiction: The Man Wearing Black

by | 27 July 2018 | Books, Writing | 31 comments

Despite it being a Camp NaNoWriMo month—and thus having me busy writing the first draft of a new novel—I’ve been in a bit of a short story mood recently. New characters appearing and bouncing around inside my head until I grant them a short scene, old characters getting new stories…

And what are stories for if not for sharing? 😛 So today I’ve got a piece of what I’m calling ‘flash fiction’ but it might not actually fit with the technicalities of what flash fiction is meant to be. Details, details.

This is a little story that I actually wrote a few months ago, but I revamped it today to share it with you. 🙂


The train hums like a trapped bee as the new passengers tramp on board, leaving dusty shoe-prints in their wake.

I scrape my feet slowly along the aisle, glancing back toward the door. I could run back. Say I missed the train. Just for one more night. My feet scuff even slower and a shiver goes down my spine…No. I can’t.

Dragging my gaze from the door, I look down the rows of chairs. Full. All of them. I swallow and turn toward the next carriage, but then my gaze catches on a single empty place. It’s right near the exit, in one of the best positions—though not by a window.

Why is it empty?

I scurry across to the seat but flinch back as I reach it. The passenger in the next seat seems to suck all the breath from my lungs in an instant. His clothes are black, his hair is black, his sunglasses are even blacker. I gulp and start to slide backward, but his head tips up slightly to glance at me. I’m too late. If I leave now, I’ll look like I’m scared.

Which I’m definitely not.

I slide into the seat, my feet barely brushing the floor. Settling down as far away from the man as possible, I tuck my hands down beneath my knees. The bee-hum of the train lessens a little and we begin to slide forward, but the humming of my pulse in my ears doesn’t dim.

If only I hadn’t noticed this seat.

The man seems so much taller than me even though we’re sitting down, and I wriggle myself sideways a little until I’m almost falling off the seat into the aisle. I keep my face turned away from him, looking down at my feet.

He’s like one of the enforcers from the Net. Those people who are always angry and always fighting people. Like dad. My stomach shrivels up inside me, and I twist my fingers into a knot on my lap.

The man shifts slightly and I peek sideways at him. His glasses block any sign of his eyes, but a tingle runs down the back of my neck as if he’s watching me.

I look back at my feet again. Dad said not to talk to anyone. He said not to look at anyone either, in case they talked to me. I pull my braid over my shoulder and start chewing on the end, tipping my head a bit lower.

If he’s sober when I get there, Dad might ask if I’d talked to anyone; I have to make sure I’ve followed his orders. My breath sighs out before I can stop it. He won’t be awake, though. He barely ever is anymore.

I glance toward the door again. If I get out now, maybe I could find somewhere else to stay. Maybe find someone who would help me. I bite my lip.

I can’t. Dad will be cross, and I know I can’t risk that. My hand flickers up to brush the dulling shadow of a bruise on my cheek.

“What can I do?” I whisper. My shoes don’t reply.


I jerk my head up, almost falling off the seat. The man beside me has a crease in his forehead, leaning toward me slightly. He heard what I said. He thinks I’m talking to him—

I scramble for something to say, my breath choking up in my throat. I mouth empty words for a moment and then blurt, “What do you do, sir? For a job, I mean.”

The furrow in his brow remains for a beat and then it clears. He slides his glasses off and I’m suddenly trapped in his gaze.

Not angry. Not hating.

Deep, soft eyes; they peel away every layer of every fear right down deep inside of me. My heart throbs against my ribs.

A smile flits across his features and he offers his hand down to shake mine. “I help people.”

My hand is lost inside his and I can’t pull my gaze away. I don’t want to pull my gaze away. “Wh-what sort of people?” the words come out breathless, and a small, faint spark of light glimmers somewhere inside me.

“Special people.” He draws his hand back, adjusting the collar of his jacket.

I shrink back, muffling the spark. Special people. I’m not special. I’m just ordinary. I’m just me. I clasp my hands together on my lap, but something nudges me to look up again.

The man is still watching me, and I swallow against the dryness in my mouth. “Who…who’s special enough?”

His smile tugs at his lips again, lingering this time as that deep gaze rests on me. The skin around his eyes creases into tiny wrinkles and the spark stirs in my chest again.

“Everyone’s special enough,” he says.

– – –


What did you think of that story? Have you ever tried flash fiction/short stories? Chat with me in the comments!

Jane Maree

Jane Maree

Jane Maree is an Australian writer, adventurer at heart, beloved daughter of the King of Kings, and believer in at least six impossible things before breakfast. Raised on fairy tales, scraped knees, and makeshift swords, she has yet to outgrow any of them. In her day job, Jane teaches music and freelances as an editor, but by night she crafts daring stories of broken heroes overcoming extraordinary odds.


  1. Clare L Farrelly

    Aww, that is such a mixture of creepy and sweet and coolness. Loved it!

    • Jane Maree

      Yay! I’m so glad you liked it, Clare. 😀

  2. Sarah


    How does it end though?? I assume the man in black helps her. ^-^ (I also hope.)

    agh so cuuuuute <3

    • Jane Maree

      YEET. <3 I got such cuteness overload when I read over the original draft, that I just couldn't help but polish it up so I could post it.

      Yess, he does. And she lives happily ever after. 😛

  3. Sally

    But then what happens? You can’t stop there. I don’t like flash fiction 🙃

    • Jane Maree

      Haha! The man helps her and they all live happily ever after, of course. 😉

      • Sally

        Ok. Well that is alright then.

  4. J.A.Penrose

    Gaaaah yas! I love it still! *happy claps* And yes. I must know how it ends. *sits down to stare at you until it is written*

    • Jane Maree

      Yeess! *claps with you* Thank you!

      It doesn’t go any further! That’s the end already. xD

      • J.A.Penrose

        *pouts* Okaaaaaay then.

        • Jane Maree

          Maaaybe one day I’ll write more, if more jumps into my brain. 😛

  5. Paul Farrelly

    More, more, more, more. Wow. Turmoil, emotion, hope!

    • Jane Maree

      Maybe one day… I’m so glad you enjoyed it though! 😀

  6. Joanne

    Jane i am so plsd i took time to read your story. I loved it, very well written and i cldnt stop till the end. So yep it must be good. Actually i thought it was going to stop before he answered. 🙂

    • Jane Maree

      Aw, thank you for taking the time to read! 😀 I’m glad it was worth your while. ^-^

  7. Kate Flournoy

    Awwwwww… *fuzzies* I love this. 😀 <3

    • Jane Maree

      Yesss. <3 Thank you! 🙂

  8. Catherine Hawthorn

    Ahhh, I loves it very very much!!!


    • Jane Maree

      Eep, I’m so glad you loved it! 😀

  9. Hann Remraf

    But I hate flash fiction because it always leaves me wanting more xD

    • Jane Maree

      Awk, thank you! 😀

      Haha, that is a definite downside. XD

  10. MiddleEarthMusician


    • Jane Maree

      Thank youuu. <3 I'm smiling so big right now, girl. 😀

      I might! But I've also got so many other things I want to write. xD

  11. Jenna

    Aw, I love this so much!!! Surely you’re going to continue this…surely…you must…or I will die…

    • Jane Maree

      Oh dear…I wasn’t really planning to, but I can’t have you go and die on me. 😯

  12. GJE

    So sweet! You are SUCH a talented author, my friend!!!!! <3

    • Jane Maree

      Thank you so much! Your encouragement really means a heap to me. <3

  13. Jem Jones

    So sweet – “Everyone’s special enough (to deserve help)”. <3

    Reading over the comments, there's a lot going "MOAR" and I think that's the sign of a good flash fiction?? xP

    • Jane Maree

      Yess it was so adorable to write. <3

      Haha, I think it might be. XD

  14. Audrey Caylin

    aaaahhh I loved that <3 Just the sort of hopeful thing I needed to start my day off 😀 AWESOME JOB (and pls write more XD)

    • Jane Maree

      Awh, I’m so glad! 😀 Thank you. (Hehe, maybe…)

About Me

Monthly Newsletter

My Posts—Your Emails

Enter your email address to subscribe to my blog and receive notifications of new posts via email.

Recent Posts


Pin It on Pinterest