Sunday, 28 March 2010

Friday Flash Fiction #26 SLIP SLIDING AWAY

My first offering for Friday Flash Fiction - let's hope it's not my last!

Slip Sliding Away

"What do you see when you close your eyes?"

If I hear that just once more I am going to go mental! That must be six or seven times they’ve asked Pete the same question.

I know they’re just doing their job and they need to get the details correct but for crying out loud - can’t they leave the poor man alone? I’m getting fed up of hearing it - he must be going round the twist with it!

Now, if they asked me I could tell them. I can remember everything. And while I’ve been waiting I’ve been re-playing what happened over and over in my mind.

I remember the noise. It was Friday lunchtime. The streets were packed; people with shopping bags, mums with over-laden buggies and screaming, fractious kids. Office workers out for a lunchtime drink to begin the wind-down for the weekend.

And that’s how Pete and I happened to be walking along Hunter Street. He’d met me at the office and whisked me out to lunch. OK, I’d have preferred a restaurant, but there are some good pubs along there.

It was a “Please forgive me” gesture after the flaming row we’d had earlier. My fault really. I’d accused him of seeing someone else. Of course, he'd denied it. But I sometimes felt I was somehow surplus to requirements. Like he almost wanted out. We both said some pretty nasty things. But then making-up afterwards, when the fighting’s over – that’s always good!

I remember it was warmer than of late. My coat was open and flapping as we dodged around the pedestrian blockages. And I remember the feeling as Pete reached out and grabbed my sleeve as I slipped off the curb. In my mind’s eye I can picture the shock of seeing the truck veer in towards the gutter and the thud of impact as it smashed into my hip and I went flying headlong into the street.

There was a lot of shouting, the squeal of tyres and I distinctly remember hearing bleeping noises as several mobile phones were pressed into action together with a disorganized chorus of voices requesting an ambulance.

See, if they asked me I could tell them so much. Pete isn’t saying anything, really.

Shock, I expect.

Funny thing is, now I’m starting to remember something I didn’t hear. Like, for instance, he didn’t talk to me at all as we waited for the ambulance. He talked to other people standing around, I heard that. And to the paramedics when they arrived. Oh, they talked to me. Called me by my name. And there was a bit of poking and prodding.

But Pete was silent.

Except, and I know this will sound strange, I’m sure I hear him snigger. Just about the time he pulled my sleeve.

No, wait - he wasn’t pulling me back. Now I think of it, he was pulling me in front of him. And I can just remember that little push in the small of my back as I lost my balance and fell into the road……

I think I know why Pete’s not talking. When he closes his eyes he sees what I see. He knows what I now know. If only I could get this plastic tube out of my throat I’d give him a piece of my mind.

But I can’t speak.

I can’t move.

All I can do, laying here hooked up to monitors while a machine breathes for me, is replay it all in my head. And wonder if there is another woman after all……


  1. A fine first effort, Susan! Congratulations, you are on the author list and your story is already set to be posted on this Tuesday, at 17:00, your time.

  2. Nicely done! Welcome to FFF from a fellow newbie!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Bloody awesome Sue! That's the best piece of flash fiction i've read in a long time! So much so that i keep using exclamation marks, which i normally try to avoid! I'm really, truly impressed.

  5. Thanks, you guys! (altho' I just had a squizz at David B's offering on FFF - and I think I'll just give up now! That, or lie down in a darkened room......jealously sticking pins in a wax effigy of said person.....!)

  6. A fantastic debut story, Sue. You've set your own bar now. I sincerely look forward to your next one. Great job.

    Regards, David.

    P.s. Thanks for the kind words. I think I needed a bit more editing as it was a bit rushed (Busy for next few days). Oh, I was wondering what those pains were in my arms, legs, neck, back...... ;-)

  7. Sue, welcome and what a great debut story. Very nice the way you brought out the little details one by one, building nicely to the push in the back...hope to see more from you!

  8. I hope this won't be your last either. Very nicely told. Welcome to the FFF circle.

  9. Thanks for the nice welcome, guys! (I expect the gloves will come off for the next one ;-p)

    I've had a great time reading all your stories - still have a couple to go.....:-)

  10. Welcome to FFF -- I look forward to reading more of your work, so don't be a stranger

  11. Welcome and its great to see another woman finally joining in the batch, we have so few... speaking of...where is Ubermilf?

    I love your story, lots of great build-up and well written.

  12. Very cool theme, the notion of having a books-worth of material to say and completely silenced.

    C'mon Nicole, that's 'cause you all have cooties.