New Writing In Various Forms, edited by Michael Blackburn

The Review is now on permanent sabbatical.

Many thanks to those who contributed.

The rest, as the man said, is silence.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

The Brush - Flash Fiction by Wayne Dean-Richards

It was late November and the sky was full of snow and the shops were already full of Christmas stuff but she stood out so I followed her into a steamy cafe.

She sat alone at a table near the window and drank a cappuccino. I ordered the same so I'd be in step with her, sitting two tables away, close enough so I could see she wasn't wearing a wedding ring but not so close, I hoped, that it'd be obvious I was watching her.

Ten minutes passed. I wished I had on my good shirt instead of an old sweater, frayed at the cuffs. When she finished her cappuccino I followed her out of the cafe and along the high street to an office block at the top of the town.

The front doors swallowed her up. If I'd looked like I worked there, if I'd looked like I worked anywhere, I'd have gone in after her.

I crossed the road to the bus station. When she came out I was going to speak to her. I wouldn't try and smooth talk her because I've never been any good at it, and since the operation I slur. My best bet, I decided, was to come clean: to tell her I'd seen her and had followed her and hoped she believed in love at first sight and felt it for me - because I felt it for her.

In the end I got so so worked up I almost missed her. She was crossing the road, going away from me before I made my legs move. When I got close enough to call out to her she stopped and turned. I said: "I know this'll sound mad, but bear with me a minute, please, because it's really important - "


I hear banging. The old man in the next room beats on the wall with the handle of a brush. I must've been shouting again. I didn't mean to. Why do rented rooms have such thin walls? Through the window I see a grizzled fox nuzzling an overturned dustbin, the scars of his life in his watchful eyes, whilst behind me the banging continues.

"Alright!" I call, and when the banging stops I close my eyes and wonder how many years it's been since I saw her...

Wayne Dean-Richards lives in the West Midlands. His writing output includes poetry, short stories, novels and scripts. His most recent novel is Breakpoints. His website is:

1 comment:

Henna said...

This makes me feel so sad.. I really wanted there to be a happy ending! Does that make me naive?!
Henna :)