Flash Fiction Friday 043: Sleep Well by Christopher Farley

Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the forty-third piece of flash fiction in this series. This week’s welcomes back Christopher Farley with his 727-worder.

Sleep Well

He slammed the door, got into his car and drove like a madman from her house.  He was sick of arguing, tired of continually being in the wrong and now he had had enough.  Jo was good looking and had many admirers, sometimes to Mannie’s annoyance, but sex and a good looking girlfriend weren’t enough to keep him tied to a relationship that consisted of too much tension and too many fights.  This one had ended physically, and after her various insults he had hit her.  It was just a slap, he thought, as he left her holding the left side of her face.

The brake-lights in front flashed.  Possibly Mannie was distracted.  Guns n’ Roses were playing loud on the stereo.  Possibly he got caught up in “Rocket Queen” and lost concentration for a half-second.  He braked late.  The car headed into the curve and skidded on the wet surface but it kept straighter than an assassin’s bullet.  The first thing Mannie knew was the sound of snapping wood, and pieces of white picket fence flying past the windscreen.  The front end dipped then dropped away completely.  The movement made his stomach rise in his mouth.  The thought of screaming didn’t occur to him.  He checked his seatbelt and braced his arms against the steering wheel.

The car rolled at a steep angle, Mannie tried to keep track of distance but was lost in the dark.  The car then pitched further forward, nose down, as the bank dropped away.  The scream finally rising in his throat was checked by the impact of the car’s nose hitting earth.  His body thrown forward, the tension of the seatbelt was unbearable and when he was sure the car would move no further he let his head roll back against the seat.  Taking in his immediate surroundings he noticed the car was in a garden, however no lights were on in the house, even at this relatively early hour.

He saw blood on his jeans above the right knee, he was bleeding quite badly although he couldn’t feel a thing.  The engine was running but he couldn’t see the key.  The impact had forced his right knee up, snapping the key at its base in the barrel.  It was then he realised he couldn’t feel his legs, either of them.  He tried to move but couldn’t.  Then his arms, he couldn’t feel or move them.  “Dear God”, he said out loud.  “I’m paralysed”.  He felt the first tear roll down his face, almost wishing now he could hear the crackle of flame and the smell of a ruptured fuel tank – at least it would be over.

His head slumped forward.  When he came round he was unsure for how long he’d been out but was awoken by a tapping on the glass.  Unsure if it was just his imagination he saw Jo, looking through the window, her cheek a deep blue colour, her left eye puffed and bloodshot.  She tried to open his door but it was jammed.  She banged on the glass but Mannie could do nothing to respond.  “I followed you”, she said, “I had this feeling”.

“Get help, please,” he pleaded.  “I think I’m paralysed, I can speak but I can’t move at all”.

Steam from the broken radiator and the smoke of burning oil, probably from the cracked engine block started filling the car.  Jo noticed too and, taking a stone in her right hand, she broke the corner of the rear window behind his head.  Looking around the garden she noticed a length of hose and fed the hose through.  Her hand went up to her cheek as if to remind her of why she was there.  A tear fell, but her face hardened.  She stood up, let the stone fall from her hand and went round the back of the car.  “Is the fuel tank leaking?” Mannie asked, panic in his voice.

“Oh, don’t worry about that darling,” came the reply.

Then he heard a grating sound coming from beneath the floor pan of the car.  It was then he began to smell the fumes.

“Jo!” he shouted.  “Please Jo, what have you done?”

Bending down, making sure the hose was well inside the car she looked through the glass.  Holding her bruised cheek she smiled.  “Sleep well,” she said, smiling, and walked away.

Another dark piece… just how I like them. Thank you, Chris.

Christopher Farley.  He lived a sheltered life in the wilds of Kent from where he was saved by the written word.  So much so that he still corresponds with certain people with A PEN AND PAPER!!  Upon moving to London, a bit like Dick Whittington, searching for streets of gold, he happened upon a beautiful Italian lady who later decided to take him to the sunny realm of southern Switzerland, where he can still be found, smiling inanely, continuously in search of Weissbier.  When he is not working or drinking he sits in front of the computer, searching for fictional inspiration. You can find Chris via his blog http://talkingtosh.wordpress.com.

If you’d like to submit your 1,000-word max. stories for consideration for Flash Fiction Friday take a look here.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with editor and fiction author Dorothy Davies – the four hundred and thirtieth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me.  I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

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