Category Archives: Flash Fiction

Short stories, less than a thousand words or thereabouts…

A Silly Thought….

Well, blog no:4 – I wrote this short story a few years back when there was a lot of talk in the press about the spread of nuclear weapons. Now with all the speculation about when and not if Iran becomes a nuclear power I thought it might be time to give it another airing, enjoy,..

 

A Silly Thought….

 

 

It was just past the third sunset of the day, on a world far, far away, when the three of them began the long journey home from the Bi-Centennial fireworks display.

“Wow, that was the best ever!” the little boy exclaimed from the back seat of his parents shuttle-pod.

“It’s just not fair we can’t have them more than just once every two hundred years, and bigger too?”

He was still very young. His Mother turned and smiled, seeking to explain:

“Because of the radiation,” she said. “And you know how dangerous it would be if it was any bigger. We all do.”

The little boy fell silent, thinking about what his mother had said, knowing she was right: “I suppose so, but… it’d sure be nice to see it close-up next time.”

This time it was the Father who addressed the little boy’s innocence:

“If only that were true, but it’s not,” the father began, knowing the time for explanation had come: “You see, when the scientists discovered atomic power, everyone knew it was a gift of nature, a marvellous gift to warm and light all the worlds for ever and ever.”

“Just like a star?”

“Yes, in a way, but not quite – more like having our very own ‘little’ star, right in out hands. But like any precious gift, it has to be looked after, and treated carefully.”

“So?”

“Well, the scientists realized how, if the little star ever got away from us, it could destroy entire world; because it’s more powerful than anything else we know – more powerful than any earthquake or volcano. That’s why we had to wait so very long before we made the atomic power stations, until we knew enough to make them absolutely safe. So once every two hundred years we have the atomic fireworks show, not just to entertain us and to remind us of how lucky we are, but also to remind us how careful we have to be.”

The little boy understood. “I never thought about it like that. I suppose if we weren’t so careful, some people might even try and throw the little stars at each other.”

Ronnie! The little boys parents gasped, momentarily stunned.

Mother spoke first: “What a silly thought. That would be insane.”

Then Father spoke: “Even more insane than me aiming this shuttle into the sun and just killing us for no reason at all.”

The little boy was ashamed of his silly thought now that he realized just how insane it really was: “I’m sorry,” the little boy cried.

Mother and Father took him in their arms, soothing his fears: “I love you both. I love everyone,” the boy said.

“We love you too, Ronnie,” Mother and Father answered, smiling and forgiving. And in that far away world, life went on… happily and forever…

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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