Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Flash Fiction

Running and Waiting

The rhododendron, paler than white, leans in the heat towards the path which is sunk below the road. The glistening heat has melted the rhododendron petals off the branches; they settle as browning water lilies in the grass. But the grass doesn’t pour down towards the path because it isn’t water.
The path is a deep dip, so that a child can race with her dog down one side and make it up the other before running out of puff.
The child runs down the path, her knots of knees pumping past faster than the eye can grasp. There is a splash, but this isn’t water. The dog pulls on the lead and drags the child, strains to move forward. The child’s grazed knees bleed in rivulets. She pushes herself upwards, stands, sobs for a moment.
Calls to the dog. Calls the dog names.The dog sits on the hot pavement, indifferent. English is not his first language.
The girl dabs at her knees with a tissue: the heat of the sun is already drying the rivulets of blood. The dog waits, as dogs do. The pavement is warm. Waiting isn’t difficult. Boredom is not in his experience, or vocabulary.
The grazes sting in the heat. The child brushes the stings aside in her mind. Self-pity is not in her experience, or vocabulary.
This story first appeared online in the February 2012 Flash Frontier anthology: Heat

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