This is a story that I wrote for one of the recent Bath Flash Fiction competitions. The criteria for the competition is any genre or topic within 300 words. Trying to tell this story, which is quite emotive was difficult to do.
I think the lesson I learnt is that some stories cannot be chopped and dissected so much without losing the heart of the story. It is much better to submit a story that feels finished around 275-300 words. Maybe that was a reason why I didn’t win. No, it’s not the reason. There are many fantastic flash fiction writers around at the moment and I am still learning my craft.
Today, I wanted to share with you the full version of this story. I may on another occasion share the abridged version.
What had changed? Was it him, was it the street?
Those questions rested in the back of his consciousness. He was neither disturbed or perplexed by the questions. They were more part of a scientific experiment. He didn’t care much for cats, so curiosity was welcomed. He turned the corner at the top of the road, and he thought about the last time he had walked this street.
He hadn’t actually been walking, rather being driven down it as he left this area for good, or so he thought. He had never planned on returning. He had returned on a couple of occasions over the years, but that was for a holiday. This felt different. He remembered the pain in his chest that day that came from the sobbing as he was driven away. Minutes earlier he’d had to pries himself away from the bear hug of his disabled father and loving mother. He was leaving on an adventure that had been in the planning stages for nearly ten years. His whole life, being, existence had been aimed fairly and squarely on that day. It was an emotional departure.
Here he was again. What had changed? Had he? Was it the area?
The concerned, caring husband stretched his arm out to protect the dignity and respect of his wife.
“Step back please,” the husband orders whilst his hand is still raised, palm facing the overly curious tourist.
“Give the lady some room” A family member uses both arms to wave the small but intrusive group back a little, who are stopping nearby. “There’s nothing to see, and there’s no need for photos.”
Sat on the bench, a stone’s throw away is Mario, he’s on holiday from the Philippines. His hand had instinctively gone towards his backpack as he saw the lady go down, but the concerned urges of the family had stopped him whilst unzipping the side pocket.
Mario himself was a family man, two lovely teenagers that had grown up to be good responsible adults. It hadn’t been plain sailing, particularly since their mother had died. He’d had to take on an extra part time job, taxi driving. That was in the evenings after he’d finished at the restaurant waiting tables.
Mario took a small water bottle out of his backpack, unscrewed the top and took a large mouthful of water. It was a hot one today.