What He Saw – short fiction by MorgEn Bailey

The following piece of flash fiction is from Morgen’s smaller short story collection (just 93 stories instead of 250!), The Story A Day May Collection, available in eBook and paperback from Amazon  and Morgen’s online store where you can not only instantly download the collection but also purchase the paperback dedicated to you or as a present! We hope you enjoy this story…

What He Saw

Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight,
Red sky in morning, fisherman’s warning.

I had a dream. That’s what Martin Luther King said, wasn’t it? Oh no, present tense, “have a dream”.

I had one too, the other night, except it wasn’t half as nice as his. I was stuck in traffic… on a motorway, I think it was. Stationary, in the fast lane, silver barriers dented and bruised. I remember there was a lorry in the lane to my left. Never liked lorries much… big, cumbersome things, but we have to have food, don’t we?

So there I was, waiting for some kind of life from the cars in front, when it got dark. I looked out my side window expecting to see rain but the sky was cloudless. Bluer, than I’d seen in a while too, or maybe it was just because I was paying attention for once. No, I do pay attention. I’m a painter so I take note. Up here, the old brain cells.

Anyway, with nothing happening in that direction I looked back ahead and that’s when I saw it, the lorry… tipping over… to its right, with me in its middle. Of course I couldn’t go forwards, car blocking my way, so I swung round to look over my left shoulder, through my car, to see if I could reverse. Stupid. Of course I couldn’t, I was in a traffic jam. What I should have done was to get out, run like hell, but in dreams you don’t think of things like that, do you? You have no control. You could be screaming at yourself but it would make no difference, you do what your sub-sub-conscious does, not your sub-conscious. Two layers of you like a sponge cake. I had to laugh when I thought of that, what with the red raspberry jam they usually use. No, I know, not tasteful. Sorry about that.

Anyway, it shook me up. Still had it in my brain when I left the house. Not sure why because I don’t even have a car.

Wasn’t really awake anyway, being that early, but had to catch the light. Tomas was a sport too but he said he didn’t mind, that he was often up at that time to go fishing.

I’d picked the perfect spot, just off the main road, by the fence over the river, beautiful even without the sky. I reckon he thinks I’m a bit mad, that it would be too ordinary when there are plenty of other things to paint. But I wanted to paint him, he’s quirky-looking, since he lost his hair.

And he was there already, in that long navy top he’s addicted to. His wife must be sick of washing it.

I settled on him standing near the end of the bridge so I could get the river in, a nice swirl of blue, trailing off behind him, the banks either side. I set up my easel and was about to start when I spotted a couple in the distance. At first I wasn’t best pleased but then I thought “hey, why not”.

Then I spotted Tom’s expression, wide-eyed like he was trying to stretch the sleep out of his eyes. The easel slipped a little, so I grabbed it, instinct, losing my focus on Tom. Sound without the vision. The sound of him calling my name, “Edvard! Edvard” before I could look up or turn round.

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