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.

© 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. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

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