Today I wrote my first ever flash fiction piece. The limit was 750 words and this was the remit given in our writers group:
This was my offering:
George sat quietly at the back of the church, watching his mother take communion. She wasn’t steady on her feet anymore so George drove her here every week. He wasn’t a religious man but his mother clung tightly to her faith. Well, she didn’t have much else in her life. His father had died ten years ago and his younger brother, Andrew, was doing time in Broadstairs. Although not for much longer – he was out in three days and George was scared. He knew Andrew would want recompense for keeping his mouth shut all this time. Seeing his mother walking back up the aisle, George forced a smile on his face but his head was spinning as he worked out what he was going to do.
Andrew Smith packed the last of his belongings in his small hold-all. He didn’t need a big one, there was very little for him to take. His cell-mate Charlie was talking but Andrew had blocked him out. He needed to think about where he went from here. He’d taken the rap for George and he couldn’t decide whether to let it go or to exact his revenge. For his mother’s sake he should do the former but his heart really craved the later. George was the apple of his mother’s eye and it would kill her to know he was anything but the angel she thought him to be. Andrew had always been a rebel as a kid so it hadn’t surprised anyone that he’d ended up doing a twenty stretch for armed robbery and murder. Only he and George knew the truth – that it had been George in the balaclava that day. Andrew had been fishing along the canal but no-one had seen him so he had no alibi. Sighing deeply from the turmoil within, he placed the hold-all under his bunk and lay down for his last night of incarceration.
George waited to be served in the small off-license. It was late and he was the last customer. Barney had already turned the sign to ‘Closed’ on the door. As he waited, he took in Barney’s appearance. He looked exactly what he was – a hardened thug who took no shit. His scarred face told the tale of many battles where his opponent had come off worse. He’d never gotten over his father being killed twenty years ago when he was just a kid, and his anger had only festered over time. George felt no twinge of conscience or guilt over what he was about to do. The money he’d stolen that night had helped him on his way to becoming a millionaire and he wasn’t about to lose it all now. If that meant hanging his brother out to dry, then so be it. They’d never been close anyway. As the woman in front left the shop, he gave Barney his order. He let out a big sigh when Barney began to bag up the bottles and smokes.
“Hey man, bad day?”
“You could say that,” George replied. “I’ve heard that Andrew Smith is being released tomorrow. We live next door to his mother and I don’t want to be neighbours with a convicted criminal. The kids you know…” He let his voice trail away. As he’d anticipated, Barney’s face took on a thunderous look. Barney didn’t know who George was as he’d been too young to attend court when Andrew had stood trial.
“Is that so?” Barney responded, his voice tight as he fought to maintain control. “That’ll be £43.20 please.”
George made sure he paid in cash. There would be no trail back to him.
Andrew left the pub at 11p.m. After three nights at home with his mum, he’d needed to get out. The pub was two streets away so he hadn’t gone far.
As he turned the corner, a figure stepped out of the shadows. Suddenly he felt a cold, sharp sensation in his side.
“This one is for me Mam,” a voice said.
Falling to the ground in pain, he felt the cold blade enter his groin.
“This one is for me,” the voice said again.
Andrew felt the blade begin to pierce his chest and heard the voice above him say “And this one is for me Dad.”
Andrew’s last thought, as the blade was slowly pushed into his heart, was that he hadn’t seen George to tell him he didn’t want revenge.
He’d decided he was going to move on and let it go.