These 100 word stories were inspired by photo prompts and written as part of the WordPress Friday Fictioneers Challenge.
For more flash fiction please visit my blog.
There’s a sour smell and I cover my nose with my sleeve as I creak across the floorboards, towards the cellar. It’s been a stroke of luck spotting the brown, curling paper advertising this place to rent. There are no neighbours for miles. No-one to hear the screams. My fantasy will become reality and my head’s spinning with fear and excitement.
The door’s stuck and I shove it with my shoulder, and creep down the stairs.
This is where I’ll bring her.
A slam. A key turning. The shaft of daylight disappears. Something brushes my neck.
It’s me that screams.
Photo courtesy of Ceayr
You knew today was coming. Seconds. Minutes. Hours. You wish time would slow and stop, or the hands on the clock would speed and spin and it would be tomorrow, the day after, next week, and you’d still be here. Still be alive.
You can’t get out of bed. Your legs are heavy with fright You're surrounded by the stench of your own fear.
A clatter. A thud.
It’s only the postman and you ball your fists tight and press them against your chest as if you can slow your heart.
You know he’ll come. How could he not? His first day out and you’ll be on his mind. Not in his heart. Not anymore. Not after your betrayal.
Is it the morning or the afternoon they queue to claim their plastic bags full of possessions and step blinking into the almost forgotten sunlight? You really don’t want to know.
The shattering of glass. Footsteps thud on the stairs.
You screw your eyes tightly shut and pray it will be over soon. In a way, it will be a relief.
It isn’t just the house I miss.
The sunflower yellow kitchen. The light streaming through the French windows, warming a spot on the carpet where the cat would sleep. It’s the noises that make up a home. Waking to the sound of crashing waves, the creak of the third stair whenever someone stepped on it, the screech of seagulls as I walked Ella to school, her small hand wrapped in mine. The crunch of shingle underfoot as I strode across the beach on the way home - salt air filling my lungs.
I miss those sounds. I miss you.
Photo courtesy of The Reclining Gentleman
‘Here come the waterworks,’ David sneers.
My chest burns as I fight to keep tears inside.
‘Honestly, Jeanie, a child could cut better than you.’
He holds up a slice of bread, wedged and full of holes.
‘A pig wouldn’t eat this.’
‘You are,’ I whisper.
‘I. Am. What?’
Courage stutters through my veins. I swipe the bread knife and jab it towards him.
‘Think very carefully about what you’re doing, Jeanie.’
And I do.
For about three seconds.
And as I scrub blood from the kitchen floor I wonder what to have for tea. A ham sandwich perhaps?
I hold my breath as I hear the whistling approach of the postman, exhaling as he passes my door. Nothing for me today.
I unscrew the whisky, although it is not yet ten o clock, and lie to myself that I will only drink a drop. It’s not as if I have any plans. Besides, this bottle is the only thing I have to open today.
I chink ice cubes into a crystal glass – it’s my birthday after all – and wait for the warm bloom of alcohol to flush the loneliness away.
I check my silent phone. Thirty Facebook friends hope I have an awesome day.
So why am I alone?
Do you remember choosing the kitchen lights my love?
The children thought it so funny they looked liked planets. Do you remember buying the glow in the dark stars, holding the ladder while I plastered the ceiling with our make believe universe? We would roll down the blackout blind shutting out the world, and lie on our sleeping bags on the kitchen floor concocting stories of rockets and aliens. We never thought things would change did we? That the children would grow, that we would age.
Do you remember those lights my love? Blink once for yes and twice for no.
I stumble, splay out my hands to break my fall landing hard on the dry earth. Pain rockets through my shoulders and neck. I rest back on my heels, brush dust from my palm, examine the wound. Dripping blood turns the dusty ground crimson.
I sit for what seems an interminable time in the scorching sun. Every muscle in my body stings, sweat trickles down my shoulder blades. I shake my empty water bottle. I cannot carry on.
But then I think of him. Rise, press myself forward.
I lurch over the finishing line clutching my sponsor form.
I did it. For him. For them all.
‘You’re a beautiful bride,’ William said.
Lily swished her train, the beading sparkled in the light. ‘You don’t think it’s too…..’.
‘You look stunning.’
‘I can hardly breathe.’ Lily ran a finger around the bodice, tried to ease it away from her ribs.
‘You look beautiful.’
‘I don’t, I’m……’
‘Not seeing what I see.’
William smiled. ‘Ready to renew our vows?’
Lily took his hand. Kissed the lined and baggy skin.
‘Are you sure I don’t look ridiculous? Too old?’
‘I don’t see you looking any different to the day you first wore it forty years ago.’ William said. ‘I just see you.’
‘A million green bottles, hanging on the wall, a million ………’
‘You’re not singing that all the way to Grandma’s.’
‘Stupid baby. There’s not even a wall big enough for a million green bottles.’
‘There’s not even a wall big enough for your stupid face.’
‘That doesn’t make sense.’
‘A million green bottles, hanging on the wall, a million …………’
‘If you stop singing I’ll give you my mars bar.’
‘I can’t believe we had to stop so you could throw up.’
‘You shouldn’t have given me chocolate, it was your fault.’
‘Was too…………….. A million fat sausages sizzling in a pan, one went…….’
Our foreheads touch at the airport as we vow this is more than a holiday romance. We’ll Skype, Instagram, Facebook. It will be almost as if we’re still together. Almost.
You take your suitcase, and my heart, and fly thousands of miles home.
I tag you in photos, change my relationship status and wait interminably for your promised call. The phone is silent and I’m broken.
I’ll never get over you.
The sand is hot beneath my feet as I stare out into the ocean where we once swam. There’s a boy surfing, tousled and tanned, and I raise my hand and smile.
Life goes on.