Flash Fiction: 30 Seconds

The first blue skies in weeks. I grip the wheel, finger-tap to The Horrors, check the mirror, smile occasionally into my boyfriend’s eyes.

Then… I see you in the distance.

At first, I can’t work it out. The movements are all wrong.

You’ve come to a standstill, sideways across the carriageway. The concave remains of your car door glinting in the sunshine.

Thankfully, my reactions are quicker than my conclusions.

I stamp on the brakes, slowing right down as I grasp at the wheel, white-knuckled, nearly skimming the central barrier in a bid to avoid you. The car judders as we ride over debris, a hubcab and a smouldering scrap of car tyre.

30 seconds, that’s all. 30 seconds earlier and it could have been so different.

Suddenly, we’re in slow motion. Together, if only for a moment. I see your terrified face as you fumble to get out.

Our eyes meet and I recognise it… fear. Yes, this IS happening.

My momentum is such I simply cannot help you. I am almost too soon.

Our lives goes on.

I pick up speed again, and I catch the last of you in the rear-view mirror.

The silver cage in which you are encased shines defiantly in the glorious sunshine.


Later, I unpack the bags, stashing presents on top of the wardrobe.

Preparation for my son’s birthday on Saturday. He’ll be four years old.

I wonder what you were like at four.

You see, I can’t stop thinking about you.


Eventually, I sit with my coffee at the table.

I hear your story on the news.

And I find out your name was Lisa. You were only 32.

Only half a minute between us.

And I am just so sorry.

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