I stumbled across this fabulous flash fiction challenge on Woven Strands and was compelled to give it a try. The rules were to write a story in reverse:
-The story must be in the following order: Ending, middle, beginning.
– It should be 1000 words or less.
-Submission should be Original and created for this challenge.
– Challenge ends July 1st.
Here is my entry:
Ellie’s body betrayed her, as if all the strength had gone from it. Her bare back slid slowly down the cold tiled wall until she landed with a thump on the damp floor. She felt as though she needed to crawl over to the toilet and be sick but there was nothing left in her stomach. She took a deep breath, tucked her legs under her and leaned forward to look once more at the plastic stick that lay on the floor in front of her. Its blue plus sign was even more vivid now. She was unsure of how to react. Questions flew through her head, why now and how did this happen, were the two most persistent ones. The water from her freshly washed hair dripped on her face and mingled with her freely flowing tears. She had never managed to keep even a house plant alive, her goldfish died after just three days and Mr Mittens her cat snuck out through an open door a week after she adopted him from the shelter. She was clearly not mother material. Then she thought of Sam. She was still trembling but a small smile began to creep across her face.
Ellie had been raised in a proper Catholic family, she was meant to be in mourning at least a year and a day. She had a bit of black in her wardrobe anyway so she only bought a few more pieces to please her mother. She worked as a freelance writer and rarely needed to leave the house in the first few weeks after Sam left. Every morning she laid out some black clothing, had a shower, sat at her desk and typed away for an hour or two before the visitors would start to arrive to make sure she was okay. They offered to take her out or do some shopping for her. She would do her best to convince them she was fine as she pushed them all towards the door and thanked them for stopping by, again. She had the local Chinese takeaway restaurant on speed dial as she could not get enough of their spicy ribs or hot and sour soup. She really found it no great mystery when she started gaining weight but she was not really pleased when her sister had pointed it out.
Sam had never ridden a motorcycle before and he had never gone on a lad’s weekend. He rarely drank, never smoked and had only experienced true intimacy with Ellie. He was a true outsider for most of his life. His adoptive parents had sheltered him and he was not allowed to experience things that most boys experienced whilst growing up. So when Ellie’s brother Joe asked him to be his best man he was more than flattered. Joe and the other men in the wedding party had decided they would go away the weekend before the wedding. They weren’t doing anything too wild just hanging out and having a good time. On the last day away they had all decided to rent motorcycles from the shack just up the beach from where they were staying. Sam struggled driving his bit at first but soon got the hang of it. They stopped for a meal a few miles up the beach at a lobster place. The food was amazing, all freshly caught and cooked to perfection. The others each had a couple of beers with their meals but Sam only had cola. On the ride back up the beach Sam felt free and happy as the warm breeze blew against his face, the smell of the ocean washed over him and he knew his life would end this way. Then he hit a hole in the sand with the front wheel of the bike. He was thrown forward and the motorcycle landed on top of him. He suffered a fatal head injury.
Sam and Ellie were perfect together. They married and tried to have a family before Ellie even finished college. The years went by all too quickly. Sam opened his own café and Ellie began to freelance but no children ever came to them. One night not long before her brother Joe was due to get married Ellie rolled towards Sam who seemed so serious. He held her tightly and then assured her that if anything were to happen to him, a part of him would always stay with her. She felt uneasy but shrugged it off before finally falling asleep.
Ellie hadn’t felt the same sort of love at first sight for Sam that he claimed he had felt for her but it didn’t take her long to fall deeply for him. She did the cliché writer thing most afternoons and spent an hour or two at a coffee shop with her notebook and pen. She was taking a few creative writing and journalism courses at the local college. She wasn’t truly sure what type of writer she really wanted to be but she knew the only thing she wanted to do for a living was to write. Sam used to bring her an extra-large Americano and extra biscuits as soon as she sat down. Ellie teased him that one day she may change her order and then what would he do. He told her he would join her and drink it himself. She took him up on the offer one day when the shop was particularly busy. She giggled as he sat there trying to drink the extra-large coffee as fast as he could so he could get back to serving the other customers. She sipped her dainty cappuccino with a smile on her face and he worked up the nerve to finally ask her out on a date.
Sam had only worked at the coffee shop for one day when he heard the bell on the door jingle as he looked up, he saw his entire future appear before him, both the joy and the sorrow.