Flash Fiction April 2022

A hint, maybe? That his criticisms punctured her self-worth. No, if he loved her he’d support her, unprompted. Marsha grasped the handles of her packed suitcase and walked out. Forever.

House, car sold, cat put down, all for a dream life ten-thousand miles away promised in an internet romance. Pyrite, not gold, awaited her at the end of this rainbow.

In the blackness, a distant glow. He accelerated, feet groping for the jungle track. Until he reached, not the sanctuary of his cabin but the incandescence of a million fireflies.

A fifty-dollar note, on Mum’s bedroom floor. Young Robbie pockets it. Unable to cope with a fortune so large, he drops this week’s grocery money in a Salvation Army till.

Zac talks to everyone, nerds love him. But he’s no idol. How’s he snaffled the highest award? Oh, it says on the plaque he makes the school a better place.

Swift dark grey clouds. Patches of blue. A setup for intermittent rain. Here it comes. Didn’t last. Sun’s out now. Started raining again. Don’t care, I’m hanging out the washing.

No streetlamps tonight. Another power cut. The crescent moon’s not bright enough. A dog’s howling. Perfect night for a burglary. Or an exorcism. Where did I drop my house keys?

The full moon, behind clouds, withheld her romantic presence. But the pitch darkness provided other opportunities. And that’s when the clouds parted and gave the other campers an unexpected spectacle.

He perceived a world to be feared. To hide from until someone whispered, be kind to yourself. When he found that he was ok after all, the world welcomed him.

We loved the twinkle our new neighbour dispensed to everyone. Until we sampled his orchard and he menaced us with a shotgun. It was then we noticed his glass eye.

It broke my heart. Uncle Alexis, post-stroke, right side paralysed, struggled from chair to piano. But his Chopin shone, like sequins so bright no one notices the frayed garment underneath.

‘She’s here,’ he whispered. Gripped by icy fear, I saw nothing. His voice commanding, words unintelligible, he addressed the darkness. Suddenly a faint luminosity shimmered along the hedge and disappeared.

Every inch a man’s man. Even his desk, festooned with portraits of sporting idols, an altar to manliness. Imagine my surprise, and let down, when he crocheted me a bedspread.

Over her son’s shoulder she said, ‘Don’t you think you are looking beyond the horizon?’ ‘Why?’ he asked. ‘Well, perhaps you should first win the lottery, then buy the Ferrari.

Diffused light, best effort of a struggling sun, and sea and foliage becalmed by windlessness produced a subdued ambience that persisted above the din of thousands of Easter weekend campers.

With parched throat and sagging spirits he wandered in relentless scrub. Suddenly, scrub gave way to an oasis of dark rainforest. He descended into its heart and found a stream.

A perfect morning. A glittering sea. Screams rose above the nautical hubbub. Dapples of sunlight on the water scattered in a million directions as a majestic humpback broke the surface.

Faint lights grew in intensity as they traversed the night sky. The second coming, one cried. Not as a thief in the night, asked another. They never learned about Skylab.

He weight-trained, he ran. In his seventies he trekked the Himalayas. A motor accident crippled him. In the blink he took up writing, wrote a bestseller. What’s next? He’s unstoppable.

He wavered. At the prospect of a twenty-kilometre trek up the mountain. Beholding the forever climbing track. Gazing at the daunting final ascent. Not at the summit. Only pure exhilaration.

How he fell imperilled his chances of gold. When his injuries became known, survival dominated. After months of rehab, an effort worthy of gold: he put on a sock unaided.

He always thought his wit scintillated. Then she remarked that he sounded more like a wit divided by two. Nothing, not even counselling, has been able to save their marriage.

For fifty years I kept alive hopes of romance and marriage by hanging onto friendship. Then I told him and we became lovers. Regrets? Yes, but also worth the wait.

We give Romeo a wide berth these days. He welcomes rubs and scratches, but without an inkling he’ll lash out and leave a lacerated hand and heart in his wake.

Despite wrinkles, sagging skin, no makeup, her beauty sparkled. When she spoke I knew why. Her face fronted a mind full of compassion and goodwill. Good thoughts always outshine cosmetics.

Mesmerised by neon lights, he yearned for applause and adulation. In time he realised success is an illusion. He knuckled down to hard work and never noticed the lights again.

Shaken by an earthquake he leapt out of bed and sank in mud. His screams emerged as soft whimpers. A croaky voice said, ‘Wake up, time to go bike riding.’

Running boy looks back, urges on his pursuer. He catches up. They hug. I hear ‘I love you Dad’. Flashback: I’m running. My father, furious, catches up, drags me home.

What set him apart was his eye. His paintings always depicted indomitable nature. Houses cowering under a lightning onslaught. A snaking train reduced to a toy against a mountainous backdrop.

He strode in, flashing teeth and rings. She glanced and regretted instantly. Sure enough he began to walk towards a misconstrued glimmer of interest. She looked down and braced herself.

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