Addiction | Flash Fiction

Stack of books illustration - "Addiction" Flash Fiction

Amber scanned the tower of books in front of her, but she couldn’t find the right one.

Her friend had wittered on about the book for hours, insisting that it was the best work of literature that the world had ever known. Amber was chuffed with herself because she’d predicted it would be the best work of literature the world would ever know as soon as she’d seen it in the bookstore eighteen months ago. Trouble was, she hadn’t got around to reading it yet. And now, she was out of the loop.

Unread books were everywhere. Her bookcases – all six of them which were positioned throughout her home – were overflowing. Every available surface – tables, chairs, desks, kitchen worktops – was scattered with books. Piles of the things were stacked up precariously in every room, but it was the spare bedroom that was the worst. And that is where Amber stood as she tried to find the cursed book which was, supposedly, the best work of literature the world had ever known.

On every side of her there were books. The stacks were taller than her and a couple even reached the ceiling. She took care, obviously, to ensure the spines were facing the right way for easy identification, but since the tomes were ordered according to their purchase date, rather than alphabetically by author name, finding the right one was always a monumental task.

Amber had thought back to the cover design of the book, hoping it might aid her search. She was sure it was green with metallic gold lettering. That was what had drawn her to it. But strangely enough, she’d already found many books with the very same colour scheme, and none of them were the book. She surmised that she must very much like the green and gold theme and wondered if she should adopt it for her interior décor.

No, she thought. Redecorating would mean she’d have to move all the books, and even the thought of doing so made her feel weary.

Ah, there. She spotted it. Right at the bottom of the tallest stack. She crouched and stroked at the book’s pretty spine.

If it really was the best work of literature the world had ever seen, perhaps her copy – one of the first editions – would one day become a very valuable one. She considered for a moment leaving it where it was and running out to the bookshop to purchase another copy. That one, she would read. The first, she’d simply leave alone in pristine condition. She’d get far more satisfaction from owning the best work of literature the world had ever known if its spine was still intact.

But what if it wasn’t a first edition at all? She was sure she’d bought it soon after its initial publication, but was it an original? She couldn’t be sure. She’d have to extract it from the pile to check.

Amber positioned her fingers on the ends of the book and wiggled it. The tower of books wobbled, but she wouldn’t be deterred. She’d always been good at Jenga. Slow, steady movements would do the trick, she was sure. She tugged gently at one side of the book, and then at the other.

And then the whole tower came tumbling down, bringing its neighbours with it.

Amber wailed as books rained down upon her. Time seemed to slow to a crawl as she listened to the creak and whoosh of collapsing stacks and felt the increasing weight of dead trees fall upon her helpless body.

Then it all stopped, and she was pinned to the floor beneath the avalanche of her own addiction.

“I should’ve bought a fucking Kindle,” she thought.


Author’s note: This is not an autobiographical story, but it could be a premonition of my future demise.

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Author: Ellie Scott

Ellie Scott is a freelance copywriter and fiction writer from Sheffield, UK. She writes speculative and silly short stories and flash fiction. She has published two short story collections - 'Merry Bloody Christmas' and 'Come What May Day'. In 2018 she was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize Short Story Competition. She can often be found loitering on Twitter (@itsemscott), Instagram (@tinysillystories) and Medium (@elliemaryscott).

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