Flash Literature, Poetry, Art and Photography!

Empty Wheelchair Waits






Bill West




Spokes flash orange under street lights. Tires rumble across pavement cracks. Andrew bats his wheelchair wheels.


The tires suck a dry track, picking up chip wrappers and leaves to scatter them in his wake. He doesn't care that the dogs bark and snap or that children jeer as he passes. He's headed for the fair.


Music thumps in his chest; red, yellow and blue lights chase across his upturned face. He peers at waltzers, carousels and bumper cars. He licks his lips at the smell of hot dogs and the sight of pink candy-floss on sticks.


He weaves amongst the crowd, his eyes fixed on the Ferris wheel with its red and yellow spokes reared up on a giant A and decked out with lights. Gondolas grunt as they are hoisted into the crisp, cold sky.


The man with slicked back hair and tattooed arms takes his money and lifts him into the gondola.


And then he rises. Each gondola fills with giggling girls and joking boys. The wheel moves again inching him into the sky.


He's at the top. From here he can see the town, beyond the docks, across the river's estuary. Below his empty wheelchair waits.


Stars rain pin-prick light on his face. The man in the moon swims out from a cloud and winks. That solitary cloud, green and ragged like floating seaweed, sweeps inland, bringing the tang of ocean-spray. Closer, it looks like a fishing boat with nets spilling fish and mermaids singing in its wake. And on the boat will be Andrew's daddy coming home from the sea.


And tonight there will be boiled sweets and angel rides, fish and chips and games by the hearth. Mum will lock the door in the faces of 'uncles' smelling of beer and Andrew will laugh as he rides on daddy's shoulders again, arms out-flung, spinning 'round and 'round.


Higher than everyone.



BIO: Bill West lives in Shropshire , England . He is a member of the Shrewsbury Scribblers Writers' Group, I*D Books Writers' Group and a number of on-line Writers' Communities. His work has appeared in FlashQuake, Foliate Oak, Heavy Glow, Boston Literary Magazine, Every Day Fiction, Right Hand Pointing and other places. This is a reprint from The Linnet's Wings ezine This flash is set in the city of Hull, Yorkshire, England where the largest Fair in Europe is held every year amongst the streets of terrace houses where once lived the families of Hull Fishermen.

MOTIVATION: The bravery of the young, even when they don't know they are being brave.

Photo by: Gravity X9

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