Saturday, June 8, 2013

Between the Flags

No, you can't, her husband, Bill had bellowed.

But she'd flung the open can, pink petroleum fanned over his car, the path and front porch. Lit the firework. Mt. Egmont. Her favourite. Tossed it. Phosphorescent hiss flared up into sheets of flame.

Metre-high seedlings already packed in her boot and back seat. Their trees'd get planted elsewhere now.

Wheel turn, another kilometre forward, a woman floating on adrenaline and furious flashbacks. Grey-blue road like water streaming by. Carylyn's four-wheel drive swam along.

What did her father often say? Had a snarl temper, but such silvery talk, New life springs from ashes.

Every fourth or sixth year, Australian bush accidentally alight had raged around their creaky house. He'd cleared a wide firebreak beforehand even if it was against the rules. Always pushing... the law, her mother's patience, wild schemes to capture tourist dollars, Carylyn's arm up behind her back. It still ached where he'd broken it, twice.

Fresh leaves soon spiked from grey ground.

Ran away to New Zealand's wet, isolated islands; married. Carylyn and Bill bickered through digging, planting trees; both early properties sold for fine prices. Then she'd caught Bill whispering fondly on the phone, O darling, just wait til this farm sells. I'm leaving, I am....

Fierce red sunset now in the rear-vision mirror, coastland glowed with it too around her SUV. Fire followed like a clingy sibling, and Carylyn's rage felt like acid, inside.

The road her asphalt river. She gripped the wheel and ranged the landscape. When did recall ashes fall, so her new green could appear?

At the roadside, broad-shouldered, all in blue with his thumb out.

Carylyn stopped. The stranger got into her car. 'Hi. Thanks f'the lift. What're all these uh, trees for?'

'Guess.' She smiled.

'Hot.' He grinned back. 'Need a hand?'


This is an entry in a flash fiction short-short story competition. Details here -

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