Category Archives: Flash Fiction

Short stories, less than a thousand words or thereabouts…

Not what you thought…?

It was so many year ago, I can’t remember the last real person who visited me, the only people I see now are the ones whose job it is to keep me alive, if you can call this living that is, imprisoned in a world without a future. I think back to the world I once knew, of colour, of fresh air, open blue skies… of freedom.

Twelve o’clock, time for my dinner. It’s Friday so it must be fish – and the boiled potatoes, steamed of course. I shake my head, thinking back to those delicious meals of the past, that other world. I wish I could throw this swill away but I can’t, not if I don’t want to go hungry. I take the food, as I do every day.

I ignore the slamming shut of my door, the snap of the lock, I’m used to it. I try not to look at the food, close my eyes, and dream of the real world. Then I remember, realise, there is no real world other than this one, at least not for me anymore. Back to reality, the four walls and ceiling that is my world, one that’s every nook and cranny I know intimately from the thousands of times I’ve stared at them hours on end.

My dinner’s still there in front of me. I push it aside in disgust. Perhaps hunger is the better option I think. What does it matter if my health deteriorates, or id I steadily grow thinner, locked away as I am. I get up and walk a few paces to where a tarnished mirror hangs lopsidedly on the opposite wall. I gaze at my reflection for the umpteenth thousandth time, noticing my hair’s a little greyer, a little thinner, my features more shallow, and a dullness of the eyes now. And my appearance too; what does it matter if I let things go a bit, not bother to shave, wear the same clothes as yesterday. I’d always looked before, but that was then, when I was free, when there was a reason to look good. But what does it matter after so many years, when you’re old no one cares. I continue to gaze, still dwelling on the past. But I know that’s all gone now, that other world I know I will never return to. I decide not to think anymore about what lies beyond my four walls; instead I turn to the bedside cabinet where I’ve been storing my daily medication, hidden in a little biscuit tin, lots of different coloured pills.

The doctor had said they’d help, just not in the way he probably had in mind.

It’s taken me a long time for it to come to this, but I’ve had plenty of time to think about it, far more than most in fact. I sit down in my chair to scoop the little clutch of pills, my escape from a society that keeps me trapped. It takes awhile for them to take effect but at my age and in my condition it isn’t too long.

It isn’t long before I drift off to sleep, away from the life within these walls, to a world behind my closed eyelids, filled with the colours that have been missing from my life for so very long. For the first time in longer than I care to remember an involuntary smile forms across my lips as I drift away to the only freedom left to me…

*****************************************

It was the social services who found him, meals on wheels to be precise. The woman who delivered them knew why he’d taken the pills. He’d told her often enough and all the others who’d taken the time to listen. In a way he wasn’t as alone as he thought. He was afraid of all the thugs and criminals who’d taken control of the world he once knew and loved, afraid of venturing outside for fear of them taking what little he had left. Like so many others, he was trapped by it, a prisoner in his own home…

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