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Flash Fiction #1

Flash fiction is extremely brief. I find it is a lot harder to write because you have to boil the story down to its very essence. I entered this story into a contest that limited the entries to 500 words and wanted to share it with you. Enjoy!

Faded Memories

Harold entered the kitchen, scratching his head. “What was I doing again?” he muttered.

“Looking for her medications,” the paramedic said.

“Oh right.” Harold placed the meds in a plastic grocery bag, then handed it to the medics. His guilt for not hearing Angela calling for help after she fell in the bathroom distracted him.

“I’m sorry,” he said, his eyes welling up.

Angela smiled with a warmth that only 56 years of marriage can provide. “Don’t worry, hon,” she said. “That’s why we have these AlertNet bracelets. I’m just going to St. Joseph’s as a precaution.”

As the medics wheeled the stretcher out, he ambled into the living room and settled into his recliner. The phone rang and he heard his daughter’s concerned voice on the other end.

“Is Mom ok?”

“Yeah, just going to get an evaluation.”

“Do you want me there?”

“Nah, it’s late. I’ll call you tomorrow.”

“Ok. Love you, Dad.” He hung up the receiver.

He turned on the TV and found a rerun of Knots Landing. He looked over to Angela’s chair for approval and saw she wasn’t there. Horror struck him as he had completely forgotten what had just happened to her.

He stood up shouting, “What am I doing? I need to be at the hospital!”

Grabbing the keys to the Buick, he burst through the kitchen door and hopped into the car. He guided the behemoth through the neighborhood easily and turned left onto Hillsborough Avenue, joining the heavy Saturday night traffic.

The ambulance was gone, but he knew the way to St Joe’s. “Both the kids were born there,” he said. “I had my knee surgery there, and now Angela is going there for, um, something.”

In the left lane, he set the cruise control at 45. He’d gone decades without a ticket and wasn’t about to get one tonight. The car behind him flashing its high beams could go around.

After passing Dale Mabry Highway, he became uneasy. “Do I turn down Armenia or Habana?” he asked.

He turned on his blinker and slowly merged into the far right lane, ignoring the congestion behind him. He stayed there until he saw Fire Station 12 on the left which assured him to turn at the next light. He easily cruised down Habana Avenue in light traffic.

Seeing the well-lit sign of St Joseph’s Emergency Room, he guided the Buick up the ramp and parked it in front of the valet.

A young man took his keys and gave Harold a claim ticket. He went to the information desk to find out what room she had been taken to in the ER. He placed his visitor sticker on his shirt and made his way back.

He found the room she was in, talking with a nurse.

“Oh, Harold,” Angela said warmly, “you forgot that you didn’t need to come.”

He took her hand and squeezed it tightly. “I promised to always be by your side,” he said. “That I’ve never forgotten.”

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