Flash Fiction: Guide (Act One)

Late last year we did something similar to this week’s Flash Fiction Challenge. Then, we spent five weeks (here, here, here, here, and here) writing 200 words each week. Each week we used the previous work of someone or some group to build on. It was pretty fun.

This time we’re doing the first half of a story, 500 words. Surprisingly, my muse delivered this one easily and I like it a lot. Assuming that next week we’ll all be instructed to pick someone else’s first half story and finish it with our second half, I hope that someone likes this well enough to tell me how it ends.

GUIDE (Act One)

We had been to Mazatlan a dozen times before on these cruises, so our interest in the various shore trips was just about at zero. You can only see so many beaches and wanna-be cathedrals before staying on the boat to drink sounded like a much better alternative.

This cruise, however, was my brother’s first to the Mexican west coast. He wanted to do it all and had picked a tour called “Underground Mazatlan.” My husband and I had grudgingly agreed to go, smiling a lot, agreeing it would be spectacular, and counting the minutes until we could get back to the boat and into the bar.

At the bottom of the gangplank we met our guide. In passable English, he told us we were the only ones signed up for this tour. He didn’t have a car, but assured us our destination was only a few blocks away, an easy walk. Yeah, right.

Thank God I was wearing flats instead of heels. The brick and cobblestones were supposed to be quaint but they were simply torture to walk on. My brother was snapping pictures like an idiot, asking one question after another. You would think he had never been outside of New Jersey before.

Our guide, Jorge or Jose or Juan or whatever, enthusiastically answered all of my brother’s questions. He was practically falling over himself to point out things considered to be fascinating and unique. In my mind there was no doubt he was merely fishing for a big tip when the tour was over, but my brother lapped it up.

It was hot, sticky, and there were mosquitos the size of hummingbirds. We occasionally would pass something which smelled offensive. It was beyond me how these people could live like this.

At last, after must have been at least fifteen minutes of walking, we arrived at an adobe church. Of course, where else?

As we went inside, our guide took off his hat and did the holy water thing at the door. I wasn’t sure if I should take my hat off or leave it on, and the other rituals were way beyond me, so I took off my sunglasses and called it even. The place was dim, lit only by the light coming in from thin windows.

We were led along the outside walls toward a small room at the front. As my eyes adjusted, I could see twenty or thirty people in the pews, holding some sort of ceremony. None of them looked at us as our guide led us to a small opening in the floor, filled with an inky blackness.

Our guide pulled flashlights out of a cabinet, handed them out, and then started slowly down the narrow, steep, stone steps. My idiot brother was right behind him. I looked at my husband, who shrugged silently and started down next. I thought about just finding a cab back to the boat, but instead started down into the pit.


Filed under Travel, Writing

3 responses to “Flash Fiction: Guide (Act One)

  1. Ronnie

    Good one dear


  2. Jemima Pett

    I’ll take up the challenge on this one, if you don’t mind! Response next Friday (19th) on http://jemimapett.com


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