This extract is one of the pieces of flash fiction from my second collection of short stories, Tales from Dark Corners
The road stretched out in front of her, twin headlights piercing the gloom like the eyes of some nightmarish beast, glaring into the Norfolk countryside. The radio played the hits of the eighties, a time when she began to learn about life and relationships. The songs filtered through to her subconsciousness, drifting in and out of her thoughts.
A song faded, and a loud, crashing jingle jerked her out of her thoughts and she jabbed the mute button on the steering wheel. The hum of the engine was the only sound in her life at the moment.
She experienced a mixture of emotions. Her anxiety was high, but that was nothing new. Overriding that, however, was a feeling of freedom. The ringing of her mobile phone, ignored many times until she’d turned it off, no longer interrupted her.
She was going to be better without him, that’s for sure. Without thinking, she lifted her left hand from the steering wheel, and touched the side of her cheek. She wanted - needed - to keep the hurt and the pain, and she deliberately pushed her fingers hard against the bruise. Was that so wrong?
And there was a bang. A loud, sudden, thunderclap-type of bang. Her heart leapt, and thumped inside her chest.
“What the …?”
The steering wheel, for so long a guide to her future, her steady state in a world of near-chaos, juddered in her hands. As she slowed, the juddering increased, and she struggled to stop it from being wrenched from her hands.
A sign appeared, and then passed behind, almost before she could take it in. A lay-by! She continued to drive the car, now at sub-walking place, peering through the windscreen. Small whips of mist swooped in from the sky, curling around the windscreen, before being pushed aside and over the roof. What had been a smooth journey in a warm and safe cocoon, protected from the cold and darkness, was now a lurching, vibrating nightmare.
She noticed dotted lines at the edge of the road, lining the green grass verge, and she breathed more slowly, peering harder through the windscreen. The mist seemed to turn into a mini fog, turning everything a milky-white. She emitted a sigh when she saw the dotted lines split, the ink-black tarmac extending sideways. She indicated, more out of habit than necessity, and pulled into the empty parking space.
She shifted the lever into Park, and switched off the engine. And, for the first time, she realised what it felt like to be alone.
She was fine. She could do this. She would do this.
Universal Link to book at Amazon sites