Saturday 31 August 2013

Life: Interrupted by Andrea Harding

Image Credit: Adam Woods

Andrea Harding won August's Short Fiction Contest with her story entitled 'Life: Interrupted', you can read this rather excellent story below.

If you haven't read the other winning stories yet then you can do so here:

September's competition is also open and you can take part here:

Life: Interrupted by Andrea Harding

Pregnant clouds gather overhead, rumbling their stormy conversation as they converge upon one another. The wind whips the tall grass back and forth, whistling through the openings of the old, sheet metal shed. Its doors and windows are open maws, beckoning and threatening at the same time.

It has been quiet in here for weeks. Miles from anywhere, nobody comes here. Nobody visits me. I lie still, unmoving; the threats of the elements do not bother me. It’s empty in here, save for the muddied shovel, propped against the wall. The structure groans as the wind grips it and shakes it with violent hands. The heavy tool shakes with the walls, threatening to fall. It could crash to the ground where I lie at any moment, but it is of no consequence.

A tiny creature scampers in, seeking refuge as fat raindrops start to fall. They beat a tattoo atop the corrugated iron as the assault intensifies. My new friend burrows into the dry grass in the corner, only feet away from me. He doesn’t notice my company, so stilly I lie; his presence is welcome.  

His tiny ears prick up; he can obviously hear something I can’t. Before long, the sound of a motor grows in volume as a vehicle makes its way along the winding lane. My furry friend flees, preferring to take his chances with the elements rather than risk the unknown intrusion on our dry sanctuary. 

The windscreen wipers squeal in agonised protest as they engage in futile battle with the sheets of water falling from the heavens. The noise is familiar. The door hinge groans, audible even over the sound of the storm, though the sound of the heavy black boots hitting the gravelled path is muffled as he swings his legs out of the old, red, rusting pickup truck. He slams it shut violently and makes a dash for shelter, pushing through the undergrowth at the side of the road. He stomps his feet and rustles the crackling material of his waterproof jacket as he shakes the excess water from his back. 

For a moment, his eyes rest upon the spot where I lie and a half smile creeps across his lips. Moving to the side of the shack he retrieves his shovel. He turns to walk away, but something catches his eye. A single, flesh coloured, silk stocking lies, almost camouflaged, amongst the dried grass. He snorts and retrieves it, passing centimetres from where I rest. He lets the smooth material run through his calloused fingers, relishing its soft sensations, before roughly stuffing it in his pocket and returning to his truck, shovel in hand.

The engine fires up and the noise recedes into the distance as I lie there, ignored.

It was my stocking. But I couldn’t care less that he has taken it.

I have no use for it anymore, lying under a foot of loose soil, trapped endlessly in the repose of a life interrupted.

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