Thursday, July 8, 2010

No Returns

I’d never stolen anything before. Honest. It was the first time.

I guess there’s a first time for everything.

A first time for living, and a first time for dying.

It slipped silently into my pocket. No one saw, no one ever does. Least of all him. I don’t exist as me. Just a useful puppet. A puppet with broken strings.

It’s lavender fragrance. “Calming” it says on the bottle. It swirls, blends with the steaming water. The deep purple essence dilutes to shades of lilac bindweed, warm, inviting.

My fleshy thighs fade to shapeless shadows. My breasts lie flat. No more womanly curves. Just an amorphous being who cooks, cleans, and draws clouds in the dust.

Water trickles down the overflow. I don’t suppose many people have a waterfall for a requiem.

The bottle sits on the shelf, carton discarded. The scent spirals upwards, weaving its way to freedom. If only I could escape my box so easily. Climb free, run wild. But I’m sealed with sellotape and tied with string.

The water creeps into my ear, my head lolls. I feel relaxed, sleepy.

Sometimes it can be quite cosy in my box.

I hear small muffled voices. Crying, laughing. It’s just a trick. But it makes me wonder. Wonder whether I should sleep or not.

Bubbles in my nostrils. Only a moment longer now. I could hook my leg over the edge...or welcome the embrace.

But whatever I choose, they’ll be no return.

No Returns is a piece of flash fiction that I wrote for Gary Davison's writing competition. The challenge was to write a story in less than 250 words which included a given title and first sentence. Gary (my blog buddy) assures me my winning story wasn't a fix as he had 4 judges, including the author Ray Robinson who wrote this about No Returns. I put together this piece in a very short amount of time and submitted it exactly on the hour of the closing date (promptness is not a speciality as you know!) - with hindsight I'd probably change a couple of words.


Oh, and before anyone thinks I have plans to kill myself let me just say I am of completely sound mind; this is a work of fiction. Although I admit, I did once try drowning myself in a bath of liquid chocolate. Strangely enough, it didn't work.


  1. Jane, congratulations! I love the story. Btw, thanks for the last bit of info. Was a bit worried.

  2. It was good to re-read this story, Jane. It's still a nice piece.


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