Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the one hundred and fifty-second piece in this series. This week’s is a 336-worder by Matt Ingoldby.
Since a young boy, Phil had prided himself on a rare, unnamed medical condition that prevented him from forgetting. His whole life loomed behind him like the view halfway up a mountain, surging back at him at the least provocation, every impression of parallel importance.
Phil had two lives. In one, he was a gleeful success, skating through life, always half a mark above a failing grade. In his other life, the universe confounded his every stab at happiness and lifted each of his dreams just out of reach. Either version could be verified by a plethora of pertinent recollections, and were validated only by his present mood.
When Cassandra eventually left him (tired of listening to the minutiae of childhood memories and answering for the most insignificant offences), Phil took the train to his old hometown and climbed the hillside he had clambered up as a child. His unfailing memory led him to a scree-strewn precipice where he paused in thought.
Below, the valley flowed thickly off the slopes and settled swirling around the distant brick pixel of his childhood home. Remembering everything, he wasn’t given to nostalgia. The floors had been cold and the house was surrounded by the same faceless green frieze of indomitable mountainside. He remembered as a child scrabbling up the sheer rocks now below him, but he could never scramble more than a few feet before the pile gave way beneath him, transforming into a different shape that necessitated the discovery of new handholds.
He toed the cliff edge. The scree pile didn’t seem as jagged and unforgiving as he had once thought. There was every chance he would only be permanently crippled if he fell now; barely the painless end he had imagined. No – he would have to go higher. Phil drank in the valley, inflated his lungs with it; sucked it through his senses. Only from the summit could he be certain of a judicious demise. He turned round and continued to labour blindly up the slope.
Thank you, Matt. I loved it.
Matt Ingoldby is relatively new to writing, but he doesn’t let that stop him – he has wanted to be a writer since he could correctly spell his own name. He is twenty-one years old and inhabits a tiny London flat, wreathed in cigarette smoke and ideas.
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