Flash Fiction

 

  1. Death eclipses life.

He stands on the bridge, studying the lines beneath, steely reflections, stretching into unendingness. He is unable to consider, not jumping. He can hear the pumping steam pistons of the express approaching from behind. How simple. Let go at the right moment and fall in its path, as it emerges from the brickwork hole beneath. If he timed to perfection, he would do 0-60 in 1/50th of a second. Surely, he would feel nothing. Perhaps nothing would be left to find of him.

The locomotive emerges and shrouds him in steam and clanking, then the carriages clacking, much like laughter at a poor pantomime joke. Is his torment just a joke? Silence falls over Surbiton.

Opportunity gone. Just wait for another. Suicide is like buses.

Silence drags him back to reality. What if he had jumped? He tries to imagine the soothing scenario of his wife, his children, his parents, mourning a lost father/son/spouse in an inexplicable moment of… of what. Madness? He didn’t feel insane. His visions of their grief crowd each other out.

His mind clears. Just selfishness – thinking only of himself. Suicide to punish others. The scene made him happy. They would have to think of only him – concentrate all their emotion on his death. He – the centre of attention, where he ought to be.

He feels the bridge vibrate, as another train approaches.

 

2. Life eclipses death.

 

School is out. An amazing summer’s day. Skip to the station, get the train, open the windows and finally get it out in the open. Why not say it now? Why wait for the train journey?

She turns to her friend.

‘He did it.’

‘Did what?’

‘Asked me out.’

Squeaked ‘Yeses,’ drown out all noise, except the ping of the gate descending. The girls look up the track and see their train, still a spec in the distance.

‘Quick, through the fence, or we’ll miss it.’

 


3. Total Eclipse

An old man walks the path, separated from the tracks by a high, wire-link fence. His dog hobbles behind, but growls as he senses the approach of the express. He knows it will hurt his ears. The man turns, bends and covers the shaggy head, holds it firmly, but whispers soothing words, like ‘Soon over old friend.’

As he kneels, he spots a rag between the rails. It is new – not sun-bleached or rain-washed. The high-speed train thunders by - twice as fast as steam, he remembers.

The express disappears with a descending Doppler and in the quiet, he sees the piece of material, swept up and caught in a bramble. It’s larger than he first thought. Blue and white small checks, material gathered, narrowing at the top, the torn edges ragged and in the light breeze, they wave a terrible destruction.

His lip trembles as he whispers, over and again, ‘No, no.’

The dog whines.

‘0-120mph in a 1/100th second,’ he tells it. ‘What would be left?’

The dog struggles to get free.

‘Sorry old boy. Did I hold you too tightly?’

His voice is unsteady and draws a quizzical look from the animal. He takes his time pulling a phone from his jacket pocket. The number is short.

‘Police,’ is all he says and after formalities. ‘I have found the missing girls.’