So, I thought I’d do something slightly different this week. I wrote a short – and hopefully humorous – flash fiction story. It’s 500 words long so it’s an easy read with a slice of red velvet cake and a coffee (I do not endorse the eating of cake and drinking of coffee. Who I am kidding? Go! Get cake! Read! Enjoy!)
Raising The Dead
When I was four, my grandmother died. Well, not my actual grandmother. My adopted grandmother. I wasn’t upset. Not really. Not until she reached out of her coffin with her cold-as-marble hands and stared me down with bloodshot eyes, asking me to look after her begonias.
* * *
Biology was always my favourite subject. Emily Burrows was always my strongest competition until she took a tumble down the stairs. I didn’t know how those marbles got there and that’s exactly what I told Mr. Branson. I learned the lesson “what goes around comes around” pretty soon after that on Dissection Day. I took the scalpel in my hand, pressed my thumb to the pig’s heart and passed out promptly after it beat. Twice.
* * *
Arthur was my world at The Half-Light Institute. He claimed to be better than me at Biology but we both knew that to be a lie. We got on just fine. I learned a lot about myself from my time with him. And a lot about him. I learned that I’m – and I quote – “an attention-seeking diva that thinks the world should revolve around her.” I asked him what was wrong with that and he just stormed off.
I learned more about Arthur than I probably ever wanted to know. For instance, on Saturdays, when he told me he was spending time with his family, he was really playing football with his friends. Sunday evenings when he claimed to be doing his homework, he was rolling joints behind our local cinema. And when he left class on his mysterious toilet trips, he was motorboating Felicity Somers in the janitor’s closet. I didn’t get mad though. Maybe for a minute but then I smiled when I saw the shock register on his face that his feet were stuck to his shoes with industrial-strength glue.
* * *
On Graduation Day, my mentor Mr. McAdams was delighted. I was the only student that had set records and managed to break those same records year after year. I was the only girl to be suspended three times in the same week and remain at the Institute. Nobody came close to my hide-and-seek game that lasted for two days (We had a History test. I hated History.). And despite it all, I still made it to D-Day. Mr. McAdams’ smile vanished though when I accidentally raised the bodies of his dead ancestors. I mean, really, who buries bodies next to a school?
* * *
I rock back and forth in my wicker chair.
Counting the minutes.
Counting the days.
Relishing the memories.
I stare at the windowsill, at the blackened begonia and wonder how I managed to set fire to the plant. I catch my reflection: sunken eyes, withered skin and grey hair. I am reminded of the inevitable. I am reminded why I am sitting in this chair. Waiting. Contemplating. Reiterating. Listening for the swift blade of the Grim Reaper as he approaches.