For the past two years, writers of all genres from all over the world have contributed wonderful tales to Flash Fiction Fridays. As my gift to you this December, here are four stand-out pieces from previous years that definitely deserve another look.
Three and a Half Minutes
By Jules Carey
Molly had run out of ideas. She kept smacking him, over and over, pounding her little son’s back. Was he turning blue? No, it hadn’t been that long. Had it? She wished for someone to be there who knew what the hell to do. Nothing she did worked.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
She had heard that the brain could only last four minutes without oxygen. How long had it been? The panic in her chest distorted time, making it difficult for her to track. Ten minutes? An hour? Couldn’t be or the paramedics would have arrived already.
Molly feared something would break if she kept hitting him so hard, but the desire to free his airway outweighed any other concern. She couldn’t see the obstruction while looking down his throat. It must be deep.
Bang! Bang! Harder. Softer. Change the rhythm. Higher on his back, then lower. Still nothing popped out of the little boy’s throat.
What the hell did he swallow?!
His eyes rolled up and closed. She flipped his little body over on her legs, his face to the ceiling. She shook his shoulders desperate for something to work.
“Open your eyes! Open your eyes, dammit! Grayson! GRAYSON! OPEN YOUR DAMN EYES!”
Her voice grew horse; her face soaked. The room blurred from through the tears. Sobs wretched from her lungs making her whole body shake.
“God! God! God!” she begged. “Don’t take him. Please, don’t take him!”
A powerful force flung her to her back and whisked the boy from her lap. Without hesitation, Molly bolted upright to see a man in dark clothes turn his back to her, blocking her view of Grayson. A fearful rage sprang from somewhere deep inside. She’d be damned if someone would take him away from her now. The last few moments of his life were hers to witness.
Bolting for her son, Molly was again thrust to the floor. This time the hands that grabbed her didn’t release. She thrashed her body, squirming and hitting the arms that pinned her down, but as quick as it had come, the rush of adrenaline was spent.
A short cry pierced the room. Molly’s heart skipped when she realized her voice was too hoarse to have made it. She stopped breathing for fear that any movement may disturb the room and prevent the sound from coming back. The hands that held her eased up, but she remained staring at the popcorn plastered ceiling.
One second... Two seconds... Three seconds...
There it was! The cry rang out again, softer this time. Small and scared. She would know that sound anywhere.
Renewed adrenaline flipped her over and sent her scrambling on hands and knees. Nothing stopped her this time as she clawed her son away from the man in uniform and clutched the boy to her chest. Her continued sobs filled the room, now accompanied by words of praise and gratitude.
“That’s alright, Ma’am. Just doin’ our job.” The paramedic laid a gentle hand on her shoulder while his partner gathered the equipment they had dropped rushing into the room. “Don’t think he has any permanent damage, but we’d like to take him in just in case.”
Molly only nodded as she wiped the back of her hand across her face. Neither man attempted to take her son from her again. She rode to the hospital in the back of the ambulance with Grayson, crying and thanking the paramedics the entire way.
This piece was originally published in Zouch Magazine.
Jules Carey spends most of her time in a world whose language has no translation for the word “normal." Five kids and a self-employed husband keep life full for this Ohio-based author. After spending five years writing technical documents for marketing companies, Carey decided to embrace the craziness surrounding her and pursue creative fiction. When she isn’t reading, editing, revising, or setting her keyboard on fire, you can find her tutoring math and reading to young children. To learn more about Carey, visit her blog.