top of page

Flash Fiction

Arthur-Koestler_edited.jpg
Cat Walking

 

THE WAVES OF SYMMETRY

The Mega Million jackpot had reached one billion pounds so far. Elayne took a quick look at the previous winning numbers, then picked the new ones: 15 – 25 – 28 – 60 - 68 and 21. She placed the bet and yawned. In a few hours from now, she was going to be a very rich woman. Again.

 

‘Do you want to know how I do it?’ she asked Yellow Bob. Her voice sounded strange to her ears. The lack of a companion for so long had started to take its toll. She wished the waves of symmetry would soon bring along someone nice. Someone loving. Ever since she had read the book by the Hungarian, she had access to the parallel universe ruled by probabilities. That had brought her unimaginable riches. But money cannot buy love and she had learned that the hard way.

 

‘Do you want to know how I do it?’ she repeated.

 

Yellow Bob turned his big, yellow eyes to her, and his whiskers did a little dance. If he could talk, he would tell her he did not even care where his next meal was coming from.

‘Everything comes in clusters, baby,’ Elayne said. ‘Lotteries, card games, storms, accidents, lovers. Everything is connected.’ She thought of the time she would only meet dentists. An awful time. Going to bed with a dentist required local anaesthesia. She laughed but it sounded so unnatural, she put a stop to the noise coming from her throat.

This time she would donate the money to Takis, the strange man in Crete who had an animal shelter. He would put the money to good use.

 

'Two years, baby,’ she said to Yellow Bob. ‘Two years of loneliness. By my calculations, this is the year I get to meet the One.’

 

The cat licked his paws meticulously, then rubbed his head clean.

 

When the doorbell rang, it did not come as a surprise. Elayne walked to the door and opened it. A fine morning, after a cluster of rainy days.

 

The waves of symmetry undulated in the blue air. Her mind filled with rainbows.

 

‘Hello,’ the One said with a smile. ‘I am your new neighbour.’

IMG_5613.jpg

WE WILL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS

 

‘But what about Vanessa?’ you said.

‘Who the fuck is Vanessa?’

I stopped packing and looked at you. Your hair looked more orange than ever before. But you cannot stop time, my love, no one can.

‘Vanessa is this African girl I met on Tinder. She is twenty years old. I am in love with her. Sorry, I cannot come to Paris. Will you forgive me?’

 I refrained from screaming at you. I opened another bottle of wine, noting how soothing the popping sound was. The night had started to fall softly from the rooftops. A tree branch was scratching at the kitchen window. It was a mild night, full of whispers. The village of Ettington was breathing through its chimneys.

‘Goodbye Paris,’ I said and emptied my glass.

IMG_5614.jpg

THE BOAT

 

There was the boat, upright, at the bottom of the steps leading to the beach. It was secured to a cement pole with a rusty chain and an ancient padlock. On the side of the boat, written in fading blue letters, was the word RIFT, the two first letters having faded away.

'It has been thirty years,’ Bill said. ‘Jesus.’

‘I know,’ I said. ‘Last time we took it out, Mum was still alive.’

Bill looked away. He always had a soft spot for Mum.

‘And how are things with you?’ I asked. My little brother, my beautiful, funny, dependable brother. I tried to catch his eye, but that was an impossible task these days. We had grown apart, no doubt about it.

‘The usual,’ he said. ‘I get by.’

 

He dragged the heavy bag with all the paraphernalia along the sand and placed it next to the boat. He was sweating, having put on a lot of weight.

 

‘Is it safe?’ I asked. This reminded me of the Marathon Man. We had watched it together when it first came out.

 

He laughed. Did he remember it too?

‘Refurbished. Good as new.’

 He opened the bag and pulled out the rope and the sails.

‘I just bought those,’ he said. ‘Old ones were rotten.’

He started to put everything together, all the while giving me instructions. ‘This goes here. The hook there.’ He busied himself for the next fifteen minutes or so.

And then the boat was ready.

‘Just like in the good old days,’ I said, touching his arm lightly. I caught his eye then, briefly.

 

We pushed the boat into the blue sea. The sun shone down on us.

IMG_5615.jpg

SORRY

‘Noise,’ he said.

She stopped dead in her tracks. But the coffee was already in the cups, the vial safely back in the cupboard, the milk added, frothing, lovely.

‘I am sorry,’ she said looking back at him, but not really at him, looking at something far away behind his shoulders.

‘Now this is something we have discussed many times. And you still manage to make a right fucking mess of it. There is no excuse, Linda.’

‘I am sorry,’ she said again, because there was nothing else to say. She barely moved her lips, breathing lightly into the stale air of their kitchen, handing him his cup.

Sorry, sorry, sorry. Damn the coffee. Damn this kitchen. And damn you, you fuck.

‘I am sorry,’ she said again, for the last time.

bottom of page