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  • Writer's pictureShelly Powell

The OCD Train (200 word flash-fiction story)

Updated: Aug 21, 2019

So I just entered a writing contest on! The challenge is to write a short and sweet, 200 word story about a picture they posted. I don't know if I can post the same pic here, so I'll just describe it. A guy with a backpack and small, rolling suitcase is the only one standing on the platform in front of a modern looking train. He is mid-step, which was the inspiration for my contest entry. I don't know if it will win, but I had fun writing it. Enjoy!

The OCD Train

One step, two steps, left foot, right. His left foot still felt funny. He stepped again, rocking like a toddler needing the bathroom, wondering how he could board the train without touching anything. Left foot, right foot, left, then right. The lady before him had coughed three times before touching the door and twice after. Even if he managed to touch nothing, her germs were everywhere. They would probably fly straight up his nose. Could germs fly? Maybe he could hold his breath or exhale really hard as he boarded. That didn’t feel right either. Left foot, right foot. He had to get on this time! His therapist had threatened to stop seeing him if he didn’t try harder. He closed his eyes, exhaled as hard as he could, and plopped into the seat by the emergency exit. He ruffled through his bag, frustrated his hand sanitizer was lost among the disinfectant spray, back-up disinfectant spray, extra toilet paper, and emergency blankets he always carried.

Suddenly, a hand from the seat across was offering sanitizer. He looked up, holding his breath, and stared into the most beautiful eyes he had ever seen, electric blue to match his own hand sanitizer.

...By the way, it's exactly 200 words (not including the title)!


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