Saturday 8 September 2007

Black Sheep - Short Story

A vicious wind bit through the thin cotton jacket that had seemed substantial enough beneath the midday heat. Anna huddled beneath it, while her curly brown hair whipped with violence across her face, blinding. Traffic tore past at competitive speeds. Lauren grinned against the bite of the wind, her arms spread thick with goosebumps. They were trapped on the central reservation of the want-to-be motorway, the pedestrian lights defunct and the traffic offering no leeway.

“We’ll have to run for it,” Lauren screamed against the wind.

Anna shook her head. She couldn’t, she… Breath knocked out of her as scream perched on her lips, stolen by the howl of the wind. A body lay splattered in the centre of the road, the road kill evident in the sporadic gaps between tyres. She clutched onto the railing for support.

“The traffic’s thinning out,” Lauren urged.

Anna tried to point, to indicate the crush of bones and muscle and blood that… That… A blink between tyres and the body was gone; no trace evidence, no hurling of body across the lanes. Bile rushed up her throat, and she gagged. Her jacket had been on the body, and the hair had matched hers and…

A glint in Lauren’s eye as she nodded towards the road. “We’ll be blown out there anyway, even if we don’t make a move.”

Lauren’s straightened brown hair had regained its natural kink beneath the force of the wind, making it seem almost as curly as Anna’s. It could have been Lauren splattered if it were not for the damn jacket. A cold hand scratched at the inside of her belly as if a demon had made its home there.

“Okay,” Anna said. “But here, take my jacket, you look freezing.”

“What about you?” Lauren asked, slipping the jacket over her shoulders. “Look, the traffic’s stopping.”

The green man flicked on and the beep, beep, beep urged them out into the road. Anna’s hand trembled, gripped tight to the railing, her feet felt concreted to the ground. Lauren dashed across the road, pushed forward by the force of the wind. Horns hooted as the wind whipped her skirt up revealing pale thighs. And then, there Lauren was, on the opposite side of the road waving and grinning and pointing…

The deafening wind fell silent beneath the screech of the juggernaut as it twisted and turned and hurtled out of control. Anna’s hand felt the full weight of the truck first, fingers crushed between vehicle and railing and then it knocked her down like the last pin in a bowling alley and its wheels spat her out into the centre of the road.


Anna watched as the jacket was placed over her corpse by a tearful Lauren. A zephyr brushed against the scene while a tornado swirled about Anna's disembodied soul.

copyright Catherine J Gardner 2007

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