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……

13 comments:

  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.

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

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  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.

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  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.....!)

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  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...... ;-)

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  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!

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

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  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.....:-)

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

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  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.

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  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.

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