Featured Review on this writing by Joe Stuart

The Row

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium

Submitted: October 01, 2018

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Submitted: October 01, 2018

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The Row

How did it happen? Such a big row over such a small thing? And now it seems that I am very much lost.

I thought you’d come after me. Even if you still believed that you were one hundred percent right and I was totally in the wrong, I still believed that you’d not let me go. Not here, in such a strange place so far from home.

It’s not your fault I thought that though. I should have paid more attention to where I was going, but it is hard to take note of directions when the tears are streaming down my face and my heart is shattering in to a million pieces. Even so, I should have been more on my guard.

I’d not even noticed the trees around me until I was surrounded. Tall, dark, rising straight up in search of the slightest bit of sunlight they can find, they are densely packed together. I shiver. With the sunlight almost non-existent here the temperature has dropped. I don’t think that that is all that is making me shiver though.

Fear – I can’t help feeling at least a bit of trepidation.

Paths seem to branch off, only to disappear in the undergrowth when I try and turn back. I’m not dressed for a trek through a forest, let alone one as wild as this one seems to be. I can feel the blood trickle down my leg where a trailing bramble has caught and torn my skin.

I’m cursing you now. How could you just leave me to wander here lost and alone? You might be breaking up with me but surely the months we’ve already shared counted for something!

The snap of a twig; not one that I have trodden on, it came from somewhere behind me. You’ve come looking for me after all; maybe....just maybe, you do still care. I slow my pace, giving you more of a chance to catch up.

Another twig snaps, and I turn my head to glance over my shoulder. I am no more than walking now. Even with all the trees I should be able to get some glimpse of you, but there’s nothing that I can see. A crow takes flight from the top of one of the trees, cawing through the air. Soon it is joined by another one. More shivers, but I know there is nothing to fear. No now that you are coming to guide me back.

But where are you? Is this some kind of game that you’re playing, for you’ve had more than enough time to catch up with me. I still can’t see you there at all, and those twigs have stopped snapping behind me.

What if you have taken another path? We could both so easily become lost in here.

There is a rustle to my left. Something moving fast is passing me. Not you, it can’t be you, you’ve never been one for sprinting around.

Aiden!” I call out, softly at first. You would have to be near to hear my voice at all. I try again, louder this time, and a whole bunch of birds takes flight. I can hear skittering and scuttling caused by my shout. I’ve done it now, haven’t I; I’ve broken the peace of the forest.

More steps, to my right this time. I stand still, turn a circle, but everywhere I look it’s all the same. I don’t know where I am at all now.

My breathing is too loud, too laboured. I need to make myself quieter, smaller, try to blend in with the trees. There’s something here with me; I know that. I don’t think it is you, though.

A whoop sounds out, so close I can feel the exhaled breath. I’m running, turning this way, that way, stumbling and struggling to stay on my toes. I reach out a hand to steady myself and my palm comes back wet and sticky. It is too dim now to see what it is but it smells like.....blood!

I run in to you. Or what was you. My Aiden, hanging upside down from a tree, throat opened, not by a blade though. Other teeth marks too. The scream comes out even though I know I should have stayed silent.

I’m running blindly, bumping in to walls, feeling my skin being torn over and over by the thorns of the brambles. It’s got to end, this forest, it can’t go on for ever. All I’ve got to do is keep running. But in which direction?

I feel sick, dizzy, my lungs burn, my muscles cramp but I dare not slow my steps. I have got to get away from here, get you help, just in case you are still alive. My heart is pounding, my pulse is thumping through my head. Which way? Which way?

I turn to the left, to behind me and then I turn right and stare straight into that gaping mouth, those razor sharp and blood stained teeth and I scream for all I’m worth for there is no point in me trying to hide any more.


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