Hourly Arithmetic

My story Hourly Arithmetic got an honorable mention over at Flash Friday! I’m excited!

Flash Friday gives a weekly picture prompt that must inspire the 140-160 word story. This week we had an image of a small boat with two figures in it, surrounded by flat water. One figure appeared to be fishing–or something–with a net or a tool. The head dragoness of FF also demands that we incorporate a specific element into our story. This week the required element was a politician.

Here’s my 158 word story:

Hourly Arithmetic

Betty stared at the television, blank-eyed. The candidates blathered on about tax cuts, mouths gaping and flapping. They might as well have been screaming. A scream was all she had heard for sixty hours.

“Forty-eight hours,” the officer had said calmly, as if it wasn’t her daughter’s body they sought in the lake.

“Forty-eight hours?”

“Statistics show that if a lead on a missing person isn’t found within forty-eight hours, case resolution decreases by fifty percent.”

Betty’s forty-eight had expired twelve hours ago. The presidential debate was meant to distract, but Betty’s gaze crept back to the lakeview window.

Her heart nearly exploded every time the searchers lifted the dredge. It leapt every time the dredge came up empty.

They were bringing it up again. Did they look more labored? Did the winch bear a body’s weight?
She held her breath. The candidates screamed. The reeling seemed to take hours.

Water rained down from the dredge.
Empty.
Again.

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