IN A FLASH • by James Boone Dryden

In a flash — in a brief, starlet moment — under the lights and sound, they were brilliant: they were the debonair and the beautiful, and for every moment from that time forward, we loved them.

We watched with eyes ablaze as they danced for us. They were graceful as they swayed through the darkness — the lights following them like some love-sick boy on the playground chasing after his new-found girl. But it was strangely sensuous how they moved, never touching one another but always close. I wanted to be them; I wanted to feel the energy that they embodied. There was an energy that came from them that I wanted to harness and take as my own and be so much a part of. I was enamored of them, and I wanted them to love me, too.

All of us gathered together, huddled close as though we were protecting ourselves from the cold; and we watched. We could not touch them; they were to us too delicate. I felt a hand on my arm, but I did not look to see who it was there beside me. They held fast to me, and I protected them in some way as we stared, mesmerized by the dancing and the lithe movements — and the brilliance.

“Dance,” I whispered. It had only meant to be in my head. There were gasps all around me, and I felt the fool for my outward jubilance. There was no retribution, but I kept reign of my tongue.

Then in a flash — in a second that I wanted to last forever — those two atoms were four.

“Dance,” I said.

And they did — just for me.

James Boone Dryden is currently the Managing Editor of Sheer Speculation Press and Staffs & Starships magazine.

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Every Day Fiction

  • What a lovely flash! I was intrigued by the dancing pair, wondering who they were. The discovery that they were atoms was unexpected yet very satisfying, and I really enjoyed the portrait of this scientist who sees particless dancing and is embarassed to say so in front of his colleagues but then blurts it out. Great choice!


  • Boone, that was a really beautiful one. Thanks!

    – Firle

  • Bob Powell

    A scientist serenading splitting of atoms! What a wonderful example of superbly written flash fiction!

  • DJ Barber

    A remarkably well-told story. Hope to see more.

  • Oonah V Joslin

    Really lovely!

  • Ray M. Solberg

    Beautiful. I really enjoyed this one.

  • A graceful, well-written piece where the art of dance meets the “art” of science. Beauty and magnificence is truly all around us. Well done!

  • Jeremy Hartline

    Very nice, Boone. It has a Haiku quality to it that I liked very much. A pleasant savory morsel of something one hasn’t tasted in a very long time.

  • Poetic and enjoyable

  • This is how I feel about fiction. I want the words to dance, and when they do, as they do here, I’m entranced.

  • HvD

    “Flash,” I whispered.

    And he did.

  • There’s a beautiful idea here, and the writing has flashes of poetry. The concept of it being atoms dancing dawns on us slowly, which I love.

  • Tootsie McCallahan

    This was probably my favorite story I have read thus far on this site.

    Beautiful and surprising.

  • Lyn

    Very poetic and evocative. Unexpected revelation. Nicely done. Lyn from ResAliens

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