I am writing a couple of thousand words a day at the moment. My aim is to write 60 short stories by the end of the year. Here is the beginning of one. I am just tinkering about. I’ll take it down again in a few hours. I hope that by the time I have written 60, 15 won’t be bad. I am hoping that writing with the word count of a 1940s pulp magazine writer, I’ll eventually stumble on the story I am looking for. Most of the ones I have written in last few weeks fit broadly in the horror genre, not sure where this one is going yet.
He should never have been looking for his toy, but it was new and he was excited.
A blue water pistol.
He must have been fiddling with it in the car on the way to the farm and it got caught up in the rug or dropped under the seat. Now they were on the way home, he wanted to look at it again.
While he was searching for it under the seat, something happened.
The car stopped sharply, from 30 to 0 in a second, but he wouldn’t have known the numbers.
It was confusing.
Why did it stop?
His sister was crying and holding her head. She was his big sister to him. Seven is so big when you’re three.
His mother was behind the wheel.
Still, utterly still.
He had never seen her so still.
He’d seen her sleeping, but never this still.
“Why’s mummy’s eyes closed?”
His sister didn’t stop crying. There was blood in her hair. There was no blood on his mum. He didn’t know why she had stopped everything, but he did know it was his fault.
He shouldn’t have gone under the seat. It was the passenger seat. No one in there.
But it had done something.
He had been fiddling around, and the fiddling had caused this.
His sister was told off for fiddle faddling around all the time, and now he knew why.
When he was older, he might realise how much time went by as he sat confused in the crying and the silence.
He didn’t cry.
He didn’t know.
He couldn’t see into the dark.
He couldn’t see the van that seconds before had been over the speed limit and unaware of the curves in the road. It was still now too.
For the time being, all that had happened was some kind of nothing that he had brought upon everyone by looking for that gun.
He wasn’t looking anymore.
It was probably in reach now, but he didn’t want to move, because he didn’t know what movement would do. He didn’t want to cause anything else, he had done enough.
There was a woman now. He thought she might be quite round, tied up in a big beige coat.
He didn’t know if she’d come out of the fields or from along the road. Maybe she was from the van or car behind.
Did she know what he had done?
She had a big roll of toilet paper ready to mop the mess in his sister’s head.
It was all becoming jumbled now.
Had she come to the car twice and gone back for the toilet paper, or did she come running with it in hand?
So much going on, people looking at him, did they know he was guilty?
He wondered if he was concealing it all or giving it away.
No one seemed angry with him.
He was waiting to be told off, but everyone was busy with his sister, with him, while his mother was left alone. Did anyone know she was still silently there?
(And then something more happens)