A collection of Flash Fiction pieces written in 2014.
Night is dead around me. I wake up in cold sweats with a thudding heart that won't back off, quiet down, no matter how hard I strain myself against it. There are fluttering noises outside of the window, tapping on the glass. That must have been what woke me, I think, and roll over to face away from the window. The glare of the alarm clock tints everything an eerie green. I can already tell I won't be going back to sleep, not with the adrenaline that's caught fire in my veins. I think about getting up for a quick jog on the treadmill, thinking it might help me get back to sleep, but I know better. If I'm going to be that active, I might as well start my day and go for a run. I glance at the clock and think, it's only four hours too early.
It is ten minutes after three in the morning when I slip into my running shoes and check that my spare house key is nestled safely into the hidden pocket of the mp3 player wristband. The playlist begins and I open the front door, briefly confused about the inky darkness before remembering what time it is.
I go on my usual route, up the hill and around the hospital, down the other side of the hill to circle around the Catholic school on the other side of town.
She doesn't cross my mind until I've reached the hospital. I see her in every window I run by, doing what I can to avert my eyes to the edge of the sidewalk but it's not easy - not with the way her wide brown eyes beg me to look at her, the way her small lips form words I can't hear, secrets I can't know, truths I can't bear to hear. I keep running, I turn the music up, but she is beside me until I've passed all the windows and the parked cars and all the shop windows that reflect the place she died, the place that holds her forever.
I think I might have to leave this town. I think I might always see her here, where she has left traces for me to find. Thinking of her is a hard lump in my throat, a tub full of lava for a bath, a jagged bed of rocks as a landing place for my free fall.
You know how people sometimes say there are parts of a person that can never be fixed once they've been broken? I know them all, I can recite them - forward, backward, by size and shape and color and statistically by frequency. But none of them have names. They are almost words, things we feel and feel vividly and recognizably and with only a few words that begin to eek out the truth of these feelings but that never quite do. That never quite fit.
Most of them are small arteries leading to our hearts. Some are nerve endings, ligaments and cartilage that they leave out of diagrams; others are pressure points, rays of refracted light in our irises, synapse relays in our brain tissue.
By the time I return to the house, I am calling in sick to work, I am buying a plane ticket on my phone, I am throwing together a suitcase, I am changing into the first pair of slacks and faded tshirt I find.
I am thinking, she can have this town. Let her eat it whole. I'll never be back.