A few people have asked if they could read my two Flashbang entries, so here they are. Both were longlisted. ‘Mercy’ was then shortlisted and won 3rd prize. This is such a fabulous competition, with very generous prizes, and anything that encourages a bit of flashing gets my vote!
I’d planned it meticulously. The virus would spread on your laptop and you’d need the technicians. I would allocate myself the job and plant the images, each one selected to make the judge’s pupils dilate.
You, the most un-computer savvy person in the company, the one who just happened to have nabbed the guy I’d been warming up for the last two years. Oh, I’d seen you, swishing that blonde hair of yours with its split ends, throwing out that hyena laugh.
And I’d watched him fall hook, line and bloody sinker.
But he wouldn’t want you for long. I knew him. Unlike you.
I’d emailed my concerns to the CEO. He’d be onto the police in a flash.
Ah. Here they are now.
‘Ms Harris? I’m arresting you for installing indecent …’ The words were a blur. What …?
You’d only gone and installed tracking software, hadn’t you?
He’d asked for freesias. ‘They were Jean’s favourite,’ he said.
In the vase by the bed, the buds loosen and release their delicate aroma.
He’s already half asleep. His body, barely a bump under the covers. Eye sockets hollowed out and cheek bones protruding.
‘No-one important,’ was how he described himself. ‘Not famous or special.’ A simple life, of love and loss: fish paste sandwiches eaten on the beach in the wind; an afternoon movie and night-time drive; the death of his wife.
Except – he was no ordinary man. He’d survived the war but was no match for this disease.
Six o’clock he’d requested, the same time he was born.
I glance at my watch and check everything’s in place. Increase the dose into the cannula. And clutching his frail hand, with skin gathered round joints, I sit with him and wait.
And say farewell to my beloved dad.
‘Mercy’ is dedicated to my lovely father, who, sadly, suffered – but I didn’t murder him. Honest.
Vicky Newham © 2015