Midnight run – flash fiction

She liked running in darkness.

Not skipping a day on Halloween,

the shadows didn’t bother her.

That day, the Moon floated in a pool of blue like a big orange.

Pilkington Avenue, always a movie set –

tiffany glass in every porch,

pictures hang neatly.

Men with books and beards sat by the fire, the kind she would fancy.

Not that there was anything wrong with her loving husband or their terraced house.

You’re leaving these runs too late’, he would say. But it was the way she liked it. Their two children tucked in bed. She was light. The wind carried her with ease. She loved drizzle.

It was in front of 52 where she slipped.

A thudding sound in her heart that no one else should hear but

the God himself. The head hit the pavement.

Tree branches wallpapering the sky is what she remembers. They were both still and dancing.

How unfortunate‘, the voice said.

A trench coat silhouette as if cut out from charcoal – a man stood behind her.

We are not meant to come this close’, she thought, yet her body leaned against the cold coat.

His face appeared from behind the fringe. Shyly, she wanted to draw it back in like a theatre curtain.

Her arms were heavy. She lost the fluorescent vest.

It’s all right, you can relax your foot‘. The man’s voice had no age, his skin was flawless.

We are not wearing face masks‘. She was now aware of her sweat, her matted hair and the pandemic.

We don’t need them Dasha‘.

She let out a cloud of breath that landed on his cheekbone. (‘How does he know my name?)

The sound of crunching stones underfoot behind the entrance made her realise she’s now inside.

It was a house too grand, even for this expensive neighbourhood.

Two pillars and a lion sculpted into each of its head, smell of woodworm in the distance.

There was a tree on the horizon she could vaguely recognise, only it grew bigger.

His brows. She thought hard about those brows being carried. ‘Where are we going?

You should know by now Dasha. You’ve been here many times before’.

You mean running?’

‘Yes, that as well’.

The sound of ambulance woke up the neighbourhood of Pilkington Avenue at approximately 10.30pm.

No one has ever seen the road so still on All Hallows Night.

A woman lay on the cold slabs in front of 52. A pile of building works materials for the renovation of the ‘duke’s mansion,’ as they all know it, must have got in the way.

The mobile phone that fell out of her pocket rang a few times before the ambulance crew accidentally run over it.

Paramedics rushed out. One, two, three. A giant bag. Leaning over, performing CPR.

The clouds covered the Moon and mist has fallen on Pilkington Avenue. Even the neighbours stopped talking.

A flick of wispy light has appeared in the far end of the mansion.

The stained glass window revealed two faces, one with the fringe and the other that of Dasha, her hair short and matted as runner’s. One could mistake them for two male lovers if the mist hadn’t been so thick.

Soaking up the smell of burnt city fireworks, the grand mansion stood as it always did. Chimneys cold and crumbling in the distance. Only this time, the Duke has brought home his most precious possession yet.

The Man who held the Sun

In memory of my father-in-law, a farmer and winemaker who was kissed by the Sun.

The Man with the Hat who greets the dawn

and the valley spreads its wings before him

will not be coming out today.

Blackbirds invaded the weepy willow again.

They’re bigger than black,

their voices go unnoticed.

The Man with the Hat left a widow.

But she does not feel a widow yet.

That will come come with each drop of rain

muddying the yard

in search of his footsteps.

He won’t roll up his sleeves

to hold the Sun in his palms and kiss it.

In truth of the truths, it was the Sun that kissed him.

One day in the vineyard, just like that – a kiss of death shot from the sky,

a deadly cupid with a cancer arrow.

How could you do that, to burn my love? To scorch his skin?

They say his soul is still wondering the Earth.

For 40 days, he still visits his home.

That is why his widow hangs his favourite shirt on the front door.

His bed is made, there’s bread and water to quench his thirst

and a towel in the window.

Today, the Sun keeps touching the window

brazen, as if it didn’t cause enough grief,

it wants to see the Man with the Hat one last time.

The breeze sneaks him in on the dust from the road.

The towel trembles,

The room shines up for a moment and suddenly it’s overcast.

The fridge is humming, the curtains are stale.

Her head is down, remains of the flour on the table he writes: ‘I should have held your hand a bit longer.

Good bye my love’.