Flash fiction – a piece of writing, usually less than 1,000 words, done quickly – is a great way to start the cogs whirring after a period of inactivity when it comes to fiction. With so much freelance work, I don’t always have as much time as I would like to write my fiction, but writing a quick flash is something I like to do to ‘keep my hand in’. Here is one I wrote a little while ago. It’s just 200 words, but it tells a story nonetheless:
The door swung open. Reluctantly. I thought it would be easier. On the way here, on the journey that you said was too long but which was really much too short, I had rehearsed what I’d say, what I’d do, how I’d cope with the disapproval.
But you told me not to come, didn’t you? You said that you didn’t want me to see you like this, old, in pain, that you weren’t the father I had known. And I, glad of the excuse, told everyone that you wouldn’t see me, that you wanted it this way. Which is why this is the first time I’ve been here, in this place they call a home, in the place you called home for the last three years of your life.
I stepped over the threshold – reluctantly – to collect what few belongings you’d left behind and I felt the loneliness being caught out and scattering to the walls. And what was there apart from some dried up flowers and a tatty paperback? Just one thing. That photo, the one of you and me smiling at each other, happy.
As I left, your distant voice still echoing, the door swung shut.