Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the one hundred and sixty-fourth piece in this series. This week’s is a 496-worder by Samantha Wilcox.
The classroom darkened as grey cloud passed overhead. The bell went and I waited as chairs scraped back in a frenzied hurry.
Eleanor was sitting in the car waiting for me, looking straight ahead into nothing. I could hear Nirvana. On the way home, she talked about how she had nearly broken down on the way over and told me my knee-high socks were actually in fashion. It started to rain and I got a headache all at the same time, and then Eleanor parked up.
‘You go inside,’ she said. ‘I’ll stay out here a bit longer. Remember tomorrow is Friday.’ I nodded. ‘Oh – and soften up, soften up!’ I smiled as she mimicked the advert. This was what we did, to cheer each other up. There would be a packet of Skips waiting for me on my bed.
‘Liquidise!’ I responded, pretend-swaying, before going in.
A man was in the hallway talking to Mum about the radiator. Apparently it had been leaking. Dad had come home early and so I jumped, startled, when I saw him. He laughed and put his hand on my head. I followed him through to the kitchen. I filled a cup with water and Dad had beer and asked me why I didn’t want Doke and I told him I had a headache. He told me to get some sleep so I would feel better to go away tomorrow. When the man had gone, Mum poured herself a big glass of wine and said, ‘bloody rip off’ and sighed. Then Mum and Dad went into the lounge to relax.
I went upstairs and looked at my homework book but I didn’t understand how to do it. I sat instead on my bed and ate my crisps, letting them melt on my tongue and looking at the picture of Madonna in black lace gloves on my wall before falling asleep.
When I woke it was morning and my teeth felt furry and my school skirt was crumpled. I went downstairs and Mum had gone to work and Dad was pulling on his jacket, about to leave.
‘Don’t go near the radiator,’ he told me as he stepped outside. ‘Bloody thing’s leaking again.’
I made toast and sat at the kitchen table, staring at the water slowly soaking into the towel placed beneath the radiator. I thought of the Skips advert. I imagined myself swaying and swaying until I softened and melted and disappeared. And then I went out to the car where I knew Eleanor would be. Eleanor always liked to sit in her car.
It was Friday. Eleanor looked sad as she pulled my belt across for me. ‘We’ll be away longer this time, OK? Because of half term,’ she said.
I answered that yes, I knew we’d be away longer. I didn’t ask why we couldn’t stay at home, why Mum and Dad don’t like it.
‘It’ll be an adventure,’ she said.
‘Yes,’ I agreed, lying. ‘An adventure.’
I asked Samantha what prompted this piece and she said…
I recently heard talk about how parents who put their children into nursery as babies could be damaging their mental health.
Then I thought about those who choose to and thought, well what does that say? In honesty, I wouldn’t judge as a whole because every person and every situation is obviously going to be very different. It’s not for me to judge.
But anyway… I started thinking about the kids out there whose parents don’t seem to want them (I’m not suggesting that is how mothers feel who put their babies into nursery! – it’s just how my thoughts moved on from one to the next).
And then I found myself just writing this little story.
Thank you, Samantha. It was a very sad piece. I remember Skips crisps (I think we can still get them) but not the advert. It sounds fun so I’m going off to YouTube it!
Samantha holds a degree in English Literature with Film Studies from Kingston University, London, which she gained at age 30. Since then she has spent the last nine years writing seriously, having undertaken a fiction writing module via Open University and completed her first young adult fantasy novel, The Sister Worlds.
Samantha began telling stories from a young age, hiding herself away for an hour or so here and there while she spun her tales, living by her imagination (as much as possible within the bounds of reality!) whilst growing up. She began writing the odd poem during her teens, but it wasn’t until her late twenties whilst at university that she understood her true love for writing.
Her tastes are eclectic, not only in her own writing, but in the form and genre of the writing of others. She is inspired by Virginia Woolf and Christina Rossetti, amongst many others, including the work of Jane Austen, Philip K. Dick, Ellen Miller, and Zeruya Shalev. She has most recently been drawn to the work of Abraham Verghese. Her love for the magical and fantastical in fiction is relentless; she has particularly enjoyed the work of Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth in this respect, and once studied Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep in relation to Ridley Scott’s film Blade Runner. Samantha also has a strong interest in human relationships and mental health, and a love for the innocence of young children and the life and hope they instil in tired-out grown-ups.
With experience as an editor, proofreader and researcher, Samantha is well accomplished and finds this useful when writing and, of course, editing her own work.
Her proofreading and editing experience comprises a website research and editing project for the charity Re-Cycle, the proofreading and editing of a website story – also for Re-Cycle – together with the editing of their August and September newsletters; also a novel, short story, and flash fiction piece for author Elizabeth Los, a novel excerpt for author & translator Jasmine Heydari, and the website area and biographies for global broadcast production company Clean Cut Media Ltd. She has also read and edited various documentation including minutes, website material, presentations and more, as part of her administrative background.
Samantha has had two articles published to date and some short fiction. She previously ran a creative writing group on a voluntary basis for Mungos charity.
She is currently writing her second novel and working on a series of children’s books for illustrator Ella Parry. She regularly writes fiction pieces both for her own website, and to be entered into various competitions.
- and guest blogs about short stories on this blog: Alberta Ross, Jane Hertenstein, Helen M Hunt, Morgen Bailey, Sarah Grace Logan, Warren Bull.
You can contact me and find me on the internet, view my books (including my debut novel The Serial Dater’s Shopping List, various short story collections and writer’s block workbooks) and If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating. Thank you.
For anyone looking for an editor, do take a look at Editing and Critique.
If you would like to send me a book review of another author’s books or like your book reviewed (short stories, contemporary crime / women’s novels or writing guides), see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog. And I post writing exercises every weekday on four online writing groups.