I am delighted to have made the Longlist for the Fiction Factory March 2021 Flash Fiction competition.
Congratulations to the winner of the competition, Bobbie Allen, with News About Leah.
Out of the dark, comes the light and the sounds of a commotion. I am focusing on colours, flickering and dancing behind closed eyelids. I snap my eyes open, but the light is blinding, and I close them again. My heart is fluttering, and I imagine a swallow flying in the summer sun.
It is cold. So cold. The icy chill has worked its way into every pore, every cell. It has seeped into the very essence of my being. I am wet. Lying in a foul-smelling ditch, I feel like an alien forced to land on an uncharted planet. I don’t know where I am.
‘She’s down there.’ Someone cries. Who is she? I wonder.
My head is throbbing. Something is trickling down my forehead, over my eyelids, pooling in the corner of my eyes, blurring my sight. It dribbles over my nose and into my mouth. I run my tongue between my lips, they taste salty.
I inhale deeply and wince. My ribs hurt, as a pungent, metallic smell drifts through my nostrils. The constant drip is blood, and I panic. I want to wipe it away from my face with my hands, but my arms won’t move. Pain sears through my body and I start to scream. A strangled wail, as through the pain, I remember what carnage looks like.
Driving in the early hours of the morning, I have the motorway to myself, there is nothing on the road ahead of me as far as the eye can see.
Then, out of the darkness, a thunderous crash. A van travelling in the other direction careers across the central reservation. It shoots over the barrier and into the air like a stunt motorcycle flying off a ramp. There is a light in the cab, the driver and his female passenger look like they are floating. Their arms are flailing, and their terror-ridden faces pressed up against the windscreen. My heart freezes inside my chest, and they slam into me.
Squealing breaks, crunching metal. The stench of fear and screams that are not all my own. Slow-motion, contorted images in the darkness. Bodies, limbs flying. My car rolling, bouncing, plummeting, splintering glass. Then nothing.
‘Lily, can you hear me?’ A disembodied voice asks, I blink my eyes open again and see a blurred outline. Human, alien, I can’t tell. I can hear, but I can’t speak. I can smell, but I can’t feel.
Is Lily my name? Because I don’t remember.