DELAYED

They had been waiting for three hours in the airport terminal. The departure boards were full of yellow-highlighted rectangles reading ‘DELAYED.’ The fog looked thicker than ever out the window.

The children were climbing on the seats again.

‘Joe get down from there and let go of your sister,’ Claire said.

The kids ignored her. Pete gave a look of apology to the serious-looking woman sitting opposite them.

A loud groan grew around them. The yellow rectangles turned to red – ‘CANCELLED.’ An announcement came over the loudspeakers. Pete managed to pick out the phrase ‘return to your airline check-in desk to make alternative flight arrangements.’

There was nothing else they could do. Pete grabbed the carry-on luggage and Claire rounded up the kids. They joined the disgruntled crowd heading back to the check-in area.

The woman who had sat opposite them remained. What should she do now? The explosive belt strapped underneath her clothing gripped tightly to her sweating skin.

She had no instructions for this eventuality.


photo-20170220154614795
© Dawn Miller

Written as part of Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. The challenge is to write a flash fiction story in around 150 words, based on the weekly photo prompt. Thanks as always to the challenge host Priceless Joy. For more information visit HERE.

To read other stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

53 responses to “DELAYED”

  1. So chilling! Even more so because of all the terrorist attacks these days. I sure hope that the cancellations of the plane meant she would not detonate her explosives! Great story, Iain!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks PJ. Let’s hope she is cancelled rather than delayed…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s a lot of tension there – although I wonder how she managed to get past that crazy airport security. Maybe they were too busy with water bottles and scissors.
    Great story!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks J.A. That’s the problem with terrorism, if they want to do it they will find away no matter what security is in place – unless the weather gets in the way!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Whoa!! Didn’t expect that ending. Good job!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Holy mackerel! I did not see that coming.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Barb. Always good to find a surprising twist.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Very visual, liked the build up of tension and the twist. Very well written, Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks David, much appreciated.

      Like

  6. Foiled by fog. Hopefully she’ll get fed up waiting and blow herself up in a field somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe she’ll return to sender with a surprise when they open the package!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I find it amazing every time you start with the mundane, you always create a twist ending that leaves the reader unsettled! I am a tad surprised she managed to get the belt across security – I wonder what’ll happen to her eventually.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Chris, very kind. Always a challenge to keep finding a twist to keep everyone guessing.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Felt something coming, but wasn’t quite sure what it was! Nicely done, Iain, deflecting us towards domestic, personal strife when a huge catastrophy has just been averted – for now.
    Great tale

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lynn, they’ll maybe never know how lucky they were to have a flight cancelled.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The moment when an inconvenience becomes a blessing. Lucky for those passengers. Great twist.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Angie, they’ll never know how lucky they were.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Now, that was something i just didn’t expect. Wonderful sudden twist.
    And the theme very topical too. Liked the slow buildup and the domestic squabble that contrasted with the frightening enormity of the situation. Very well written, Lain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Neel, glad I can still find a surprise twist for you.

      Like

  11. interesting and also a little scary story Iain – always the unassuming ones it seems that get past security checks and such. Like the way your words really gave the feeling of a busy airport terminal. kids, dad, luggage all the typical ingredients!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, you can never tell what anyone is thinking or doing while sitting at airports waiting, but I’m sure this would be the exception.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow interesting take indeed. I’m happy all the planes got canceled now but I’m wondering what this woman will do, if she willthink for herself? I hope she doesn’t let the bomb explode in the airport. I hope she can somehow get out of her situation — she could hurt a lot of people a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wonder if she was really sure about what she was doing – or she would have set it off in the airport. Maybe she takes it as a sign and changes her ways!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hope she does Ian. Crossing my fingers. Lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow I love your writings. Nice pieces. 👌

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, much appreciated 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Anytime. The pleasure is all mine.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh, I do so love a twist ending and this one was delightful. And all the playful thoughts you have about what’s inside this woman’s mind! Mischief be thy middle name, Iain! Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks John, always appreciated.

      Like

  15. oooooh! What a surprise twist! Well done. KL ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, appreciate the read and comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Your story, so realistic, totally drew me in. Thank God for the fog — gives her a chance to rethink the project. As long as “the enemy” is faceless dogmas work, but maybe seeing the families she was about to blow up will change her mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Christine, I get the feeling she is having a change of heart about it.

      Like

  17. Scary!! Gosh, with such things becoming so common, that one may not know when is the time.. Good take on the prompt, Iain. Stark reality put upfront…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hopefully not too common but definitely a scary thought. Thanks Su.

      Like

  18. Great story Iain. You know I love a twist!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Divine intervention? Brilliant Iain.

    My FFfAW!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fate possibly? Thanks Keith.

      Like

  20. Oy. So glad I’m seeing this now that I’m BACK from my cross country flights! Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 sorry, glad I didn’t cause you to worry on your flights!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Wow! That was unexpected and chilling. I can’t help wondering what would happen next…any scope of a glimpse?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I hadn’t really thought but I think she has a change of heart. How she gets out of her situation I hadn’t figured out!

      Like

  22. The tension is palpable. I wonder what her choices were?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not many easy or good choices in that situation!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Well she better come up with something quick.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hopefully it’s not on a timer!

      Liked by 1 person

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