Since the accident

by | Nov 1, 2011 | Fiction, Flash fiction | 8 comments

Since the Accident
By Laura McHale Holland

Since the accident, the sun shines only at half mast and wrens roost in other yards. All day, she looks out the window as pine needles fall to the ground. At night, he drinks alone in the den while she knits in the bedroom.

Since the accident, soot falls from the clouds and rats nibble on the insulation in their attic. Over breakfast, their tongues bleach memories of that day from bright to blurred to translucent. No gouge remains in the trunk of an old oak tree; their Camry is not scorched; a blue tricycle is no longer smashed at the side of the road; a child is not struggling for each breath in a hospital bed.

He opens the front door and steps onto a porch stabbed with icicles. He walks down the empty driveway and into the street. She follows. Hand in hand they amble down blocks they used to know but no longer recognize. Horns blare for them to get out of the road. They pause at a curb, each one wanting to go home, neither one knowing the way.

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8 Comments

  1. Kenneth Weene

    More a prose poem than flash fiction, but well done.

  2. admin

    Thanks Ken. I’m intimidated by poetry because I don’t understand so much of it. But I love poetic language.

  3. Robin Leigh Morgan

    Here I go again reading my way too far into your flash, but this is the image I got as I read it for the third time.

    Interesting

    Husband and wife, both on in their years. One has already died [husband] waiting patiently for the other, his wife, who’s knitting, just waiting for her time to come so she to join him. All their problems pass and present have disappeared. They walk into death together, hand in hand, sites they used to know have begun to disappear. The horns are not really blowing for them to get out of their way, they’re welcoming them instead. When they reach the curb [the gate], they look back at their past, wanting to return to those days they had lived. But since they’ve reached heaven no one can remember the way.

  4. admin

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the story, Robin Leigh. You have a fertile imagination!

  5. Jerry Kohut

    to me the couple has lost a child on his tricycle as a car hit the bike and then the tree. Time has passed and now the couple are on the way to join their child.

  6. admin

    Jerry, I think that fits. I’m going to re-read it tonight (I’m finishing up my late lunch break right now and have to get back to work) with your interpretation in mind. I hadn’t imagined it was their own child who was hit by the car, but it could have been. This is a fun process. Thanks, my friend.

  7. Jessica K.

    The imagery really gave the story a surreal feel for me, and really helped convey the tone. Nicely done.

  8. admin

    Thank you, Jessica. I’m gathering some of the short fiction I’ve posted into a collection, and this one will be in it. I may change the bleach image though.

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