This month, we’re having a flash fiction party! You can RSVP by entering an original story with the following criteria:

  • Your story must take place at a PARTY of some kind.
  • Your story must include a BUTTON.
  • Your story must include the following sentence (which you’ll complete with one or more words):
    THE AIR WAS THICK WITH ________.

‘Welcome To The End Of The World’.

The banner hung from the sky, its ominous message diminished somewhat by the fact that it was neon pink and covered in glitter. Mounted to the wall below was a giant LCD clock, which read 23:54 in glowing red digits. Six minutes until it’s all over. Brian wasn’t buying it. In fact, he was fairly convinced the 21st of December was going to be a Friday like every other, and was considerably more concerned with whether his boss would count ‘the end of days’ as a valid excuse to call in sick. Unlikely.

A rhythmic bass filled the room, powering a gyrating mass of sweaty people. They were an eclectic mix, adorned in an assortment of brightly coloured feathers, glow-in-the-dark jewellery, and face paint, and seemed to share a euphoric acceptance that they were going to spend their last few hours engaged in a primal dance.

It helped, Brian supposed, that most were well and truly off their trolley. He saw them excitedly queueing for gumball dispensers that lined the walls, each filled with brightly coloured pills. Above them was a sign that said: “In case of apocalypse, push button.” Brian had a strong suspicion they were not lollies.

“You came!” sang a voice from inside the mass of dancing bodies. A girl ran out, leaping on Brian and wrapping him in a hug. He tried to conceal his blush.

“H-hey, Sadie,” he managed. “‘Course, I couldn’t miss an end of the world party. Nice, er, hat.”

Sadie was dressed in pajamas, and a full Native American headdress.

“Thanks!” she giggled. “These are the only clothes I have left. I burned the rest. Come dance!” she started leading Brian into the crowd.

“You what?” Brian shouted, his head narrowly missing the foot of a vigorous breakdancer.

“I burned them! It was so therapeutic, to be, like, rid of my earthly possessions, you know,” Sadie said. Her eyes glazed over, and Brian noticed she was licking her lips an awful lot.

“Ha, yeah, sure,” he said, glancing at the wall. 23:58. “Hey, crazy thought, but what if … you know … tomorrow comes?”

Sadie stopped dancing and unsteadily grabbed Brian’s shoulders. She appeared to be trying to focus on his face.

“Brian. The Mayans knew,” she said. “They *invented* astronomy.”

Brian’s brow furrowed. “They also sacrificed people as ‘blood offerings.” He shook his head.

“I guess it doesn’t matter. Thanks for inviting me. If this is really it, I’m…”

Sadie was spinning, her eyes closed, smiling broadly, arms outstretched. She wasn’t listening.

Brian tried again. “If these are our last few moments…”

The music had stopped. The red numbers shone 23:59, and the air was filled with tension so thick it made Brian’s skin prickle. Sadie finally stopped dancing and looked up, her face a mixture of excitement and fear, her headdress leaning at a precarious tilt.

“…I’m glad I’m here with you,” Brian finished.

The clock read 00:00.