I managed to make it to a Lemon Tree Writers’ meeting for the first time in ages today. A new wrinkle to the meeting format has been to have everyone spend ten minutes coming up with a piece of Flash Fiction from a prompt. Today we were told that the last line of the story had to be: “she could no longer distinguish between joy and sadness.”
I was able to come up with something which I have taken away home and polished up a bit which I have added below. I might come back to it again in a couple of weeks to see if I have anything else to put in.
Anna collapsed into the chair and wept. The pressure of the last few days had finally brought her to breaking point. It was either sit down and cry or start screaming at the walls. The Police had left barely half an hour before. The two detectives had snapped their little notebooks shut and tucked them back into their respective pockets, satisfied with her version of what had happened. The younger one had even let his professional mask slip for a moment to express his sympathy at her terrible loss.
She had agreed that Ross’ death had come as total shock, such a tragic accident – he had stepped on one of Alan’s toy cars and gone headfirst down the stairs, landing awkwardly against the stair gate. The pathology report had concluded that Ross’ neck had most likely snapped on impact, killing him instantly.
Now the Police were gone, leaving their half-drunk mugs of tea and empty biscuit wrappers behind while Anna sat in her armchair bawling her eyes out. There was no one else but her in the house – the kids were at her mum’s, poor wee Adam distraught at the notion that his toy was responsible for the tragedy. He would never be allowed to know the truth. It was for him that she cried now, and baby Rosie and most of all for her and for the ten years of her life she had wasted with her recently deceased shitbag of a husband. Now she had a funeral to arrange and, for the moment at least, she could no longer distinguish between joy and sadness.