[ uhm-bruh ]
- A conical shadow excluding all light from a given source; specifically: the conical part of the shadow of a celestial body excluding all light from the primary source.
- The central dark part of a sunspot.
- A shaded area.
** Either a story beginning, a story ending, a piece of flash fiction, a poem–inspired by the word, umbra, where does it take me? Where does it take you?
Charlie saw nothing but blackness out of the corner of his right eye. The peripheral vision, on just his right side, was just cut off. It had always been that way, and he never gave pause to wonder about it anymore. That was until it started speaking to him.
“Charlie,” came a whispered voice from the darkness.
Naturally, Charlie turned around to face the person that was just out of his view. No one stood behind him or anywhere near him. The sidewalks of his neighborhood were empty, as were all the front lawns. He was alone on his walk.
“Charlie,” came the whispered voice again.
Charlie turned around again, because what else could it be?
“No, it’s not anyone else,” the voice said.
“What is going on?” Charlie muttered to himself.
“I just thought it time we were officially acquainted.”
Charlie thought he saw a flutter in the darkness of his vision. A bit of light shining through where there had only ever been black. Like the defect in his vision wasn’t a defect, but something was standing there blocking his view.
“Today is your lucky day, Charlie.”
“And why is that?” Charlie said, abandoning all fear and talking to the air, to the darkness.
“Because today, you will see that I am not a hole in your vision, but a chance to see more than you ever could without me.”
“Why would I want that?” Charlie spoke with attitude.
“I can tell you what other people are thinking, what they’re doing from miles away, behind their closed doors. I can see all you need to know to attain all the things you dream about. And yes, I can see your dreams.”
Charlie paused, his heart racing. “So, you can help me–“
“Win the girl you long for?”
“Yes…” Charlie said hesitantly.
“An easy feat and we can start there, but soon I will teach you to dream bigger!”
“Ok, let’s see what you got. How can I get a date with Sarah?”
“Just do what I tell you to do, simple as that.”
Charlie paused for a second. What do I have to lose?–he thought.
“Ok, tell me,” Charlie said.
I think we can all see where this one is going! Charlie begins taking advice and direction from this voice. The instructions gain him all he ever wanted. Then, he realizes at some point, that in the wake of his successes is nothing but devastation.
A classic story of selling your soul to the devil. So, how could it become different?
One idea to play with is there’s someone else out there who is taking instruction, not from a darkness, but from a light. Both forces using these two people in some kind of chess battle for the Earth.
Maybe the two sources aren’t heaven and hell, but just an alien race having fun, competing against each other, and the two humans come together to turn the table on them somehow?
I think if I spend some more time brainstorming, I can take this nugget of an idea and turn it into something different.
The idea I just went through was really just changing the genre. If it’s heaven and hell, forces of light and dark, I’m thinking the Fantasy genre. If it’s aliens, then we’re in the Science Fiction genre. A simple switch, and now the story might have a fresh feel.
Something we can all try with any art form. Take the idea you’re having and switch the genre. See where it leads. From writing, to music, to art. Switch the genre.
What do you think of Umbra?
Aliens or Cosmic forces? What idea sounded cooler? Let me know in the comments!
Leave your thoughts, your own story beginning/ending, flash-fiction, or whatever in the comments! Where did umbra or my story take you?
If you want to read something along these lines, check out my short story The Devil’s Tri-Tone. A “horror” story (not gory horror) with a fun twist!
Today’s word is from Merriam-Webster.
Get THE WORD Every Day!
Enjoy a One-Minute Story, Learn a New Word, and Create With Me! Delivered to you every Tuesday and Thursday morning.