Alison WellsWinner of National Flash-Fiction Day 2013 Micro-Competition - Highly Commended.
Read her winning story: 'Dot to Dot Man'.
Alison Wells is a mother of four, a former technical writer and communications and psychology graduate who lives in Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Her short fiction has appeared in Crannog, The View From Here and Metazen and in several anthologies. She has been shortlisted for Hennessy New Irish Writing and for the Bridport and Fish Awards. She is part of the online #fridayflash flash fiction community. Random Acts of Optimism is her first completed short story collection and she's working on a literary novel. Her space comedy adventure Housewife with a Half-Life will soon be released on Kindle. The story 'Flash' (below) is one of a set of interrelated flashes that will be released as Flashes of Sadness and Light. She blogs at www.writing.ie and www.alisonwells.wordpress.com. Some articles include 'The Wonders of Flash Fiction' and 'Why Flash Fiction will last'. She was also quoted in the Irish Times article 'Intense, Urgent and a Little Bit Explosive'.
Follow on Twitter at @alisonwells
Flash by Alison Wells
Emily and Eddie were baiting lightning on the quay, and it was forked. Across the bay the flashes lit up midnight townlands in isolated glimpses as if God with torches was looking for his keys in the eternal driveway. Here. There. This way a bit. Further back.
When the breeze still had air in it they knew they were okay. They wore t-shirts and jeans and Emily felt the solid beam of his arm around the outside of hers. He felt the seam of her jeans against his thigh, he leaned down and kissed the edge of her hair. Her calves lick curl lifted, shook and died. When the thunder smothered them they knew they were chancing it. They kissed completely. At the end of the quay the wires crackled. All Emily wanted to do was swim, dive-bomb off the pier and sink in, watch the lightning experimentally dance on top of the water.
Eddie was leaving at the end of the summer. He was filled up with love for her; he just didn't know he had to do anything with it. She was loathe to count the days. Her Dali calendar was disgruntled by her apparent indifference. But there was a lot you could ascertain from the periphery. Time was flashing by.
If her father was the air traffic controller and her mum was the girl who delivered the sandwiches and coffee then she fell below the radar. Emily flipped the axis of 24/7 and slept in a honeyed bed, roamed the black night with confidence and fervour. But if it were the other way around and her mother was the mistress of flights and near misses then she was sussed and she strung out the summer with Eddie under the heavy lidded gaze of her mother's restless vigilance.
But they did the beer on the beach after dark. One of the lads, giant limbs, small head, acted the flasher for the whitehead bus tour sea front promenaders. He used hen party props, chocolate penises melting in the humidity. They collected tuts and shaking heads and the odd raucous cackle. They slid into clubs once in a while when the rain drove them inside. When midnight passed, in the tribal stomping, she lit up her phone and it was already August. Eddie was slouched in a corner on a slope of coats. She found his hand and she made him dance. There was no rain here only sweat, brine and coffee.
Emily found out she was epileptic on the dance floor. The strobe lighting sent her into a spinning fit, flit, flit; flashbacks of dream sequences and recent dalliances.
When she awoke she was cold, shudder huddling while the world switched on again, in portions, vision, feeling, sound. She had become a small creature at the bottom of a mountain of human concern. The dance music was still playing; drumbeat dissonance, out of time with the trotting of her heart.
Three weeks later the gang wanted to know if they were going to cut her brain in half. Someone else asked if that would make her schizophrenic. They were on the beach again and the nights came quicker now, her mother's shift had lengthened and the fact of epilepsy added a high note to her voice when she said see you later to Emily. Across the bay the lighthouse spun, flashed, there, gone, there, gone.
Eddie was leaving tomorrow. Emily pressed into his biking leathers. He was going to take her for a drive somewhere but he hadn't decided yet. They were going to stay out all night. She didn't care. Her mother could jump. You only had one life and this was it.
They went into the mountains. The bike roared and so did the wind. Eddie sang something but the sound was swallowed whole. They paused for a view of the city, like stars they said; but the stars were meek in comparison. They went further until the string behind them broke; they went on like a prayer without rosary beads.
It was just them. Turned this way, at the crest there was no city. There was gorse, stones. They sat on granite. His-her hands found warm places. In his silence was the remembrance of his voice. In her stillness was the echo of her fervour. She drifted into him and thought it could be the epilepsy. He drunk her in and thought of nothing.
They saw flashes, out of the black; ripples of light, undulations snaking the sky. The aurora borealis this far south, they weren't meant to be there.
In the morning they went home, the cold in their bones and the light in their heads. Her father was up early on a ladder fixing the flashing. Her mother was drowning in coffee. She hadn't slept. Her fury was thunder and Emily felt it overhead. But all she could see were scenes, flashes of her and Eddie, on a beach, on a mountain, dancing like one person in the club. Then him on his own, driving away till whenever.