My hands are frozen, my legs feel like heavy lead. My head is pounding, every cell in my body screaming for oxygen. I’m going to die. I don’t want to die. I scream for help. But nobody is looking for me. The only one looking at me is him. Unseeing, unblinking, his eyes grotesque and bulging. “Help me,” he pleads.
Insomnia haunts my nights; fatigue rules my days.
I reach for my PTSD pills. I don’t want the chemicals, but I can’t survive the dreams.
Because sometimes the dream changes; sometimes the unseeing eyes are mine.
Trauma effects not only the survivors but the rescuers too.
In 2011, the World Aquatic Health Conference recognised PTSD as a legitimate concern amongst life guards, particularly because the profession regularly employs teenagers and requires making split second decisions that have life and death consequences.
This work of fiction was written in response to Bikurgurl’s 100 Word Wednesday: Week 92 challenge based on a photo by Alex Iby
The old town clock struck five as she screeched into her driveway. Meg was late, and Jenny was not a patient child. Her chants of ‘We are going shopping,’ still rung in Meg’s ears.
It was an hours drive into town. An hour of Jenny’s non stop chatter. But it was their first Christmas since freedom, and Meg was determined to enjoy it.
Until she saw ‘it’.
And then she knew.
After all she had been waiting in dread for this very day.
Jenny flew into her arms the moment she stepped in. ‘Shall we go? Shall we go?’ She was so excited.
‘Yes we have to go. But first we must pack.’
‘Pack what, momma?’
‘The little suitcase we discussed about. Remember what I told you.’
The colour drained from Jenny’s face. ‘Did he find us already?’ she squealed.
I pointed at the wreath on the door. They very same one. The last thing that we had seen when the social worker had helped us out of there.
‘Rush baby. Before he comes back. Rush.’
In response to Priceless Joy’s 163rd Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge
Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby…
You’re going to love it, honey. A week at a remote home-stay, out in the middle of nowhere, living the life of a farm-hand, free of pollution or technology.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true…
They don’t even have cellular coverage, so no urgent messages from the boss. And it’s so cheap. He said that we are his first guests and he’s planned everything perfectly.
Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me…
Why are you doing this? Please. We’ll give you whatever you want. Just let us go. Don’t touch her. I’ll do whatever you want. STOP. STOP.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me…
NO. NO. O GOD. NOOOooo
If happy little blue birds fly beyond the rainbow
Why oh why can’t I?
In response to the 150th Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge.
This week’s photo prompt is provided by @any1mark66. Thank you Mark!
The story is intertwined with the lyrics of Judy Garland’s “Somewhere over the rainbow”. My thanks and apologies for the same.
“You’re sick, you need help,” he screamed as he stormed off, the slamming door a slap across my face.
If you know that*, then why wont you help me. Why wont you stay. Instead you walk out. You leave me alone. Just like every body else. Everybody who I ever loved did just that. Like I don’t mean anything to them. No one needs me. I’m not worth staying for. Too much of a problem to love. If you love me, you wont say things like clear out the trash or I’ll clear myself out. I’m trying. Can’t you see that. But every time I pick something up, I freeze in panic. What if I need it some day and then it won’t be there. How can I get rid of these things? I need them.
Please. Please don’t leave me. Not you too. Come back. I swear I’ll clean up this place.
In response to Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers challenge of 24th November 2017
*Hoarding Disorder is a form of OCD, and can be quite debilitating, seriously and adversely affect the person’s health and social functioning.
PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot
My heart sinks. The river is wider than I had imagined. Swifter. Stronger. An ominous muddy turbid brown. I do not see any fishes, and I wonder why.
Unbroken dense clouds darken to burnt orange and gun metal gray. The rain will wash away my footprints and remove my scent from the bracken.
I should leave now.
The little canoe that I had planned to make my getaway on, now looks like it will be my coffin, carrying me out to sea rather than to the opposite bank.
If I go forward, most likely it will be my doom. If I turn back without help, I doom them all.
I get into my little boat.
In response to Rochelle’s Friday Fictioneers challenge of 27th October based on a photo by Roger Bultot
Keep moving, rushing, focused on aisles and platforms, anchored by the weight of your baggage.
Don’t slow down long enough to look ahead, don’t tarry long enough to look behind.
The past might break your heart, the future might unsettle your soul.
In response to Week 90 of Three Line Tales based on a photo by Andre Benz via Unsplash
Her name was at the bottom of the list.
He had warned her. Unless her GPA improved she wouldn’t get any apprenticeship. No apprenticeship, no job. End of the road. Maybe he was right. She was not good enough. They were all right. She was useless.
Suddenly her chest constricts, like something tightening her rib-cage, making it difficulty to breathe.
She stares at the hot pink wall, and remembers Mrs. B’s psycho babble. Pink represents caring and sharing. Pink asserts strong sensitivity. Bullshit sensitivity.
Even the smiley taunts her.
Should she go talk to the professor. Cry. Beg for help. Her body was 70% water. Certainly enough to cry for hours. Then when she was all done, she could drink a glass of water and start all over again.
Surely she was at least capable of crying!
“Excuse me,” a gentle hand nudges her. “I need to put up the second half of the list.”
In response to the 137th Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge, based on a photo by Grant-Sud
I stare at the obnoxiously large stone sparkling on my finger, waiting for excitement to kick in.
Scenes run by like a movie on mute.
If only life came with instructions and a reset button.
In response to Sonya’s Three Line Tales, Week 89 challenge based on a photo by Austin Chan via Unsplash
Shit… I mean, this is not like my usual route or anything. Usually I take the highway. But today Eddy’s with me, and he’s so slow, I mean, had I known I never would have brought him along. First he’s late getting out of his house, then he like takes double the time to cycle uphill. So I think, bloody hell, at this rate we are going to be late. So I decide lets cut through the reserve. Ya, there is a fence and all that, be it’s pretty easy to just duck under and pull the cycle through. I’m telling Eddy we need to speed up. That’s when the fool hits smack into a rock and goes flying across, landing down there. Shit, I’m scared he’s dead or something. Then he gets up laughing, actually laughing. All cool man, he says, the leaves cushioned my fall. I’m so damn relieved. Then suddenly I see the bone sticking out of his arm and I’m screaming, Eddy man, your bones sticking out. At first he’s shit scared, and then he realises it’s not his fucking bone. That’s when he saw the damn skeleton…
In response to The Sunday Photo Fiction challenge of 24th September 2017.
Photo credited to A Mixed Bag 2013
Inspector Justin’s eyes automatically go to the gorgeous blond stepping out of the hotel. Tall, slim, with legs that seemed to go on for ever under that little black dress. Suddenly she trips, dropping her clutch. In a flash two young men rush to assist. Tossing her hair, she pats down her dress, giggling at the men admiring her perfect derrière.
O to be young and single again.
Something catches his eye. “Lady. Stop.” he shouts out.
She looks back at him. Takes in his uniform. Hazel eyes dilate. Before he can say anything, she turns and bolts across the road into the darkness, oblivious of the traffic screeching, swerving and honking around her. Amidst that melee he hears the distinct sound of impact, of a body flying through air and landing with a thud, of bones being crunched. Everything freezes except for the piercing wail of a jammed horn.
Justin breaks out of his shock, radioing in for an ambulance.
Her lipstick, still in his hand, is long forgotten.
In response to 133rd Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writer’s challenge based on a photo by Pamela S Canepa.