This is a flash fiction piece I wrote for a contest. The prompt was to use the words rain, mud, coffee pot, and puddles. The story had to be less than 1000 words and had to be complete and entered into the contest within 24 hours. That means no time for a rewrite. Here it is in all its glory. Let me know what you think.
Chris ran along the wet path through the field. The steady, light rain created shallow puddles which he jumped as he ran. Every now and then a spot where the grass was worn away revealed slick patches of mud. He knew if he was going to get home to his coffee pot and that perfect first cup of coffee he had to avoid those patches. A twisted or broken ankle out here would ruin his day.
Everything was damp. The rain had soaked through his clothes and he was pretty sure he would have several spots that would begin chafing before long. This thought caused him to push even harder and he picked up his pace. Chris chanced a glance over his shoulder, nothing there. A chill ran through him and he began to shiver. A fleeting thought ran through his mind, “Why am I running?” Another glance over his shoulder and he thought he saw a dark figure running toward him.
His heart pounded in his chest and he ran faster. “Someone or something is chasing me. Why? Without a second thought he veered off the path and into the unforgiving forest. Low hanging branches slapped against his face and shoulders while the lower brush grabbed at his legs. He jumped and slid and ran harder. He gave no thought to possible injuries he could suffer by running into the unknown.
“You’re going to pay,” a disembodied voice said, almost like a whisper in his ear.
He remembered a car accident he had while driving. He had been drinking and someone was killed. “Who was it?” he thought.
“You killed her. You killed Gena!”
The voice was in his ear again and everything came back at once. He was driving the car, his fiancée with him. They’d left a party where he had been drinking. Gena begged him to let her drive but in his drunken state he refused. Now she was dead and he was running. He looked toward his feet and realized he had no shoes. His pants were ragged and bloody. His arm was cut and blood oozed through his torn shirt. “Did I run from the accident?” he thought. “I’ve got to go back.” Chris opened his mouth to scream but nothing came out. He cried and fell to the ground.
“I give up,” he whispered. “I don’t deserve to live.”
The steady beep of a heart monitor sounded in the sterile room. Tubes ran from an IV bag to the arm of the man in the bed. Gauze covered his arms, one leg, and his head. In a chair next to the bed a man sat with his chin resting on his chest. Tears covered his cheeks and deep sobs racked his body.
“That’s a real shame,” a nurse in the hallway whispered as she looked through the door.
“What happened?” a lady passing by asked, pausing to look.
“He was in a car accident and it doesn’t look like he’s going to make it.”
“Who is that in the chair next to him?”
“I guessing that’s his father.”
In the room the man sobbed and wiped his eyes. He leaned forward and whispered into the ear of the patient, “You’re going to die if I have to kill you myself. You killed my daughter and you’re going to pay. You’re going to pay for Gena’s life.”
In the rain soaked forest Chris sat with his back against a large tree. Thoughts of Gena and what they had planned danced in his mind. The accident became clearer. He now remembered letting Gena drive. She was so convincing when she said she hadn’t had as much to drink as he had. When the car rolled she was thrown from the car and somehow he ended up on the driver’s side. He remembered calling for her when he regained consciousness. She didn’t answer. He later woke long enough to hear one of the medics mention the girl was dead. It was more than he could take. The voice told him he was as good as dead and that was fine with him. He didn’t want to live in a world without Gena.