Tuesday, July 30, 2013

To Sleep (600-word freaky flash fiction) by Oren Shafir

I stepped on the teenage girl's narrow sandaled foot with my hard black heel. Crunch. She whimpered, and I registered her look of pain and surprise, but I just moved straight past her. I was too tired to speak.
Source - Photography Mojo

And pissed. I'd missed my flight. Then the new flight via Stockholm had been delayed cause they had waited for a single passenger – a young blonde who entered flushed and out-of-breath carrying a bag over one shoulder and hushing her tiny baby cradled in the other arm. She looked no more than a teenager, a beautiful mother, but I hated the bitch. I missed the connecting flight as a result, and now I was stuck in Arlanda airport for 6 hours.

If only I could sleep. Just an hour or two. They'd told me there was a rest-and-fly bed you could rent in Sky City, terminal 5, and I hustled through arrivals and across terminals 1 to 4 only to find they were fully booked. Now I couldn't even get back to the plush couches in the departure hall.
The airport had shut down and was starting to look like a crack den full of homeless people scampering for shelter. The benches were all hard and unwelcoming, placed in the harsh light of open areas that offered no privacy.  As I scanned my surroundings, I could see that they were all taken anyway. People of all ages and ethnicities were strewn over their belongings barefooted and contorted like freak-show artists, snoring and turning restlessly, Still I envied them.

I spun around in a slow arc until my eyes fell on an escalator with a sign at the top that said, "Heaven's Gate." I climbed the escalator feeling like it was going to start any second. There was nowhere to go at the top; everything was dead and closed, the restaurant blocked by a gated shutter. To the right of the escalator was a gap of about a meter. I looked down and felt dizzy. On the other side was a lifeless elevator and a patch of isolated floor. It looked good. I threw my carry-on bag over, hoisted myself up and jumped landing on the hard floor with a thump that sent a wave of pain through my tired old knees.

I kicked off my shoes and spread out on the cool floor using my bag as a pillow. It was secluded and dark. But as soon as I settled in, I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep. Thoughts looped in my head. Sums of money and thwarted plans. Things I had said, and things I never did say. I remembered that I hadn't taken my blood-pressure pills that evening and got up to find them. Swallowed them dry.
Then I went through my usual routine on my phone. Wordfeud, email, Quora, Google Plus and Twitter. The battery died, and it went abruptly dark. I was more awake than ever now:  my heart beating rapidly; my breath short; my eyes wide open. I started to cry. I wiped the snot with the back of my hand and tasted salty tears. I rubbed my eyes and focused and that's when I saw him.
A figure crouching in front of me. I knew who it was.

"Why are you crying?" he asked.

I opened my mouth to speak, but it was so dry. Then I cleared my throat and answered, "I missed your funeral, Dad."

Read another freaky flash fiction story

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...