Last Call

2003_4_prThis was flash fiction originally posted as part of the #FlashMobWrites competition. Read more HERE. And I got an honorable mention, yay! This means so much to me, because not only are the other writers that participate excellent, but if you’ve been following my blog you know that flash fiction is my brand new passion. The prompt for this challenge was to either write about  “maybe she isn’t real,” or “I don’t need it, I just want it.” I chose the latter, and here’s my story in exactly 500 words…

We reached and breached last call hours ago, but there’s still the playground. I don’t need it, I just want it. What better way to end a night of celebration, than with more celebrating? Our ragtag troupe swarms around seesaws and swings, ignoring the warning sign that, “All adults must be accompanied by a child.”

Are we adults yet? I don’t feel like one. But kids would be home, safe and sound in their beds at this hour, so we are decidedly not kids either. We’re something strange in between. Unnatural. A gang of vampires invading the nursery.

“The ducks look like ghosts floating in an abyss of black,” a friend calls by the iron fence enclosing the safety of the playground from the dirty, dangerous world beyond.

Balmy breeze kisses my face and I smell slick rot at the edges of the water, earth soaked with algae and duck droppings. The swans—not ducks—glide over black water like hovering angels. A hint of morning fog buffets the edges of the lake, still and ghostly.

“Eerie…” I mumble.

Wind picks up in answer and enormous live oaks shiver from leafy crowns to sprawling feet. Cypress trees sway as if in a dream, admonishing us to go home.

“Bed time.” He slides out of the shadows. Light from an antique street lamp catches a blue haze of cigarette smoke. The cloud drifts over his shoulder, slipping down towards the lake as he climbs up into full light. His eyes are icy glinting crystals under a sheaf of lazy black hair.

I clutch my heart in jest. “My God, you scared me.”

His hand slips through the bars to grab my waste. “That’s blasphemy, babe.”

I laugh and throw my head back, my arms up, cradling the moon and tempting the sky, “Oh God—strike me down, I dare you!”

He grins and leans in for a kiss. “Your place or mine?”

*

Queer smells. Hand sanitizer? Latex. A heavy weight on my hand. I raise it into view. I’m laying in… a mattress cushions my elbow…in a bed? There is some kind of makeshift cast attached to my hand. It doesn’t hurt—I’m numb all over.

A melodious soprano: “Your finger’s broken, sweetie.”

What the hell is my mom doing here? Where is ‘here’? My pulse thumps in cotton candy veins. I try to rise and something cold shifts between my knees.

“You have a catheter—don’t mess with that. I’m sorry.”

Oh.

My good hand goes for my hair, wanting to smooth it out, wanting to make sure I look as pretty as I can. My head is sticky and crusted, and I pull my hand away like it’s on fire.

“You have blood in your hair, sweetie.”

“Where are my clothes? My shoes? Where is my boyfriend?” I was wearing a new outfit, and my favorite strappy high-heeled sandals…

“They had to cut those off in the ambulance.” Sniffle. “That boy’s in custody. He can’t hurt you anymore.”

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