So, it's been some time since I shared some of my flash fiction here, but as an experiment with showing up and sharing my creativity, here is one of my first attempts with writing back in 2018 when I joined my first Creative Writing class.
Joining the class came at a point when I was feeling quite lost in life and having a space to be creative in ways that I loved as a child - using my imagination; playing with stories and words - brought pieces of me that I thought were lost back into focus.
What follows is called Second Chance and was inspired by playing with a list of random words and the idea of what if...
I sit on the crumbling porch, a frosty bottle of beer against my clammy skin. Condensation mixes with sweat and runs down my face in lazy tracks. Hot, heavy air hangs over the street and somewhere a drill whines incessantly into the endless afternoon. Life crawls on.
Inside the cool interior of the house other noises pollute the air. The too loud TV blares out fake laughter and canned applause; a bottle clinks clumsily against a glass; Her voice mutters slurred curses. Further down the street a breeze toys half-heartedly with a tin can, rocking it back and forth on the softening tarmac.
I sip the beer, close my eyes and think of a time I had been cooler: The week in the seaside caravan maybe? Bare legs dusted with sand; cheeks sprinkled with freckles; hair kissed gently by salty breezes.
“Wait here.” she told me that day. One of her eyes swollen shut the other bloodshot and unfocused. A bag of sweets thrust into my hands and she was gone before I could ask “how long?”.
I sat on a bench by the stall selling seashell bracelets. Feet swinging freely, warm sun on my face, waves susshing on the pebbles beneath the pier.
“Toffees are my favorite.” A tall man had sat next to me; face and limbs long, crisp dark suit out of place amongst all the t-shirts and shorts. He smiled and I smiled back because I liked toffees too.
We talked about the different types of toffees; how they stick in your teeth and whether chewy or crunchy ones were best. He saw me looking at the seashell bracelets and said that I looked like a clever girl who could make my own and he knew a hidden place where the prettiest seashells were and did I want to come find some with him? I nodded yes please. Excited. Eager. Happy.
Then Her voice, shrill with outrage cut through the fairground music. My arm roughly pulled, sweets spilled down into the waves below, Seashell Man gone. Later the backs of my legs would sting with the repeated reminder of not to talk to bloody strangers stupid girl.
Inside the house a glass shatters, dragging me back to the suffocating heat of the present. The usual string of curses follows, increasing in volume and vulgarity. I stand, utter a curse of my own and open the screen door. I Pause.
Down the street a dark car cruises towards the house. The tinted rear window rolls down and the Seashell Man stares out from the back seat. He opens the door, smiles. A small, stripy pink paper bag and a yellow bucket and spade wait on the seat next to him.
I let the screen door go, it slams behind me shutting off the curses and gameshow noise. I walk towards the car dropping the bottle of beer on the dead lawn, dust soaking up the froth.
The breeze picks up kissing my skin, tossing my hair.
The air is cool and tastes of salt.