Inspiration for these weekly blog posts comes from all angles and on occasion some unlikely thought processes.
But here we are at Wednesday ( I wrote this last night) and inspiration has yet to strike this week……drums fingers impatiently.
Part of me has been itching to write a piece of flash fiction but again the inspiration bank was shut tight.
Hmmm…..time to Google “writing prompts”.
The screen lit up before me with a multitude of ideas. I read through several screens worth then one finally caught my eye
“Dying is easy. Coming back is when things get tricky.”
I gave myself an hour to come up with something inspired by this statement.
Here’s the result:
Dying is easy -Coming back is when things get tricky
Everything around her was totally still and calm. As she sat at the picnic table staring out across the river, there wasn’t a ripple on the water. A sea of tranquillity.
Inside, she felt far from still or calm or tranquil. So much had happened over the past week. So much had changed. Her mind was racing with thoughts of the things she still needed to do but time was against her.
From the position of the sun and the length of the September shadows, she guessed it was around four o’clock. If that was the case, she had less than half an hour….. time was slipping through her fingers like grains of sand.
“Just one more goodbye to say,” she thought to herself as she turned to go.
The warmth of the autumn sun had brought people outdoors and she passed close to several couples as she made her way along the road. No one gave her a second glance as she walked by.
Silently, she wished she had her phone. At least if she had that with her she could check if she was going to be on time. Both of them were creatures of habit and she prayed that this was one of the days that they were in sync with each other. Part of her realised that it was unlikely considering how events had unfolded over the week but she had to try, had to hope.
Her energy reserves were dwindling. It had been a manic forty eight hours.
“So much to do, so little time,” she thought as she walked along in the sunshine.
When she reached the next grassy area, she was relieved to find both the benches were vacant. Ever conscious of the time, she decided to sacrifice a moment or two to take a seat. Around her, she could hear birds singing in the bushes and seabirds calling down on the shore. Resting wasn’t helping and she felt even more drained as she hauled herself to her feet one final time.
The next section of the road was in shadow and cooler. Up ahead, in a patch of sunlight, a flash of colour at the bend in the road caught her eye. As she reached the spot, she stopped. The area around the bent signpost was covered with floral tributes and mementos.
Rooted to the spot, she read over each of the cards nestled among the flowers; read the messages of farewell; read poems; read stories of shared memories; smiled at the photos cradled in amongst the flowers.
Who knew so many people cared?
Images flashed before her eyes. The silver 4×4 taking the corner too fast. The squeal of its brakes. The crunch as the vehicle struck. The screams as she was thrown forwards before being crushed against the pole.
Then the searing pain of separation as her soul tore itself free from the broken body.
Unseen, her soul had watched the scene unfold; watched an ambulance arrive, closely followed by two police cars. As the paramedics had worked on her badly injured body, her soul had slipped quietly into the ambulance, fearful of being left behind. She had watched over the body she had inhabited as they transported it to the local hospital, operated on it then waited in the corner, invisible to her family, as the hours ticked by in a small private ICU ward.
Almost forty eight hours ago, her broken body had surrendered it’s fight for life. Just as panic was about to set in, she had seen an old woman enter the room. No one else reacted to this new arrival.
“Come on , my dear,” coaxed the old woman gently. “Time to go.”
“Go where?” she had heard herself ask.
“Well. Some folks call it Heaven. Others think its Hell. I prefer to think of it as home.”
“But I can’t! I’ve not said goodbye to everyone. I need more time!”
“Your time has passed, my dear. Time to move on.”
“Please,” she had begged. “Just a few more hours. Let me see the people who mean the most to me one last time. My children. My family. My friends.”
The old woman faltered then shook her head, “Highly irregular but, if it helps you to settle in your new home, I’ll give you two days. Not a second more. Two days to the minute of your physical death.”
“Plenty of time.”
“Is it?” asked the old woman. “We’ll see.” She paused then continued, “When the time is up, I’ll come back for you. Be warned, you’ll start to weaken as the time passes. When I come back, you need to come with me. No more begging. No pleading. You just follow me.”
“I’ll come,” she heard herself promise.
As she stood reading the messages, she acknowledged that forty eight hours had been too short. It had broken her heart to see her family grief stricken, knowing she couldn’t reach out to comfort them. Only the cat had sensed that she was there. She had watched helplessly as friends arrived at the house to offer their condolences. Neighbours kindly delivered meals to the family as they too dropped by to express their sadness over their loss. It had touched her to see that so many people cared.
The flowers and messages spread in front of her reinforced that once and for all.
She knew her time was almost up but there was still that last goodbye to be said. Squinting into the sun, she looked along the pavement, praying that her instincts were correct. She thought she saw a movement in the distance, a familiar outline approaching at a steady pace.
Behind her, she heard a soft cough.
Before she turned round, she knew it was the old woman come to escort her home. With one last lingering glance into the sun, she waved and whispered, “Till later.”
Everything around her faded to nothing.