Eve of the Fall
by F. E. Clark
Too hot, headachy, no sun, yellow clouds pushing down. I’ve daydreamed too long about the time they say is coming. Late with chores, no time to stop and eat. He’ll be home soon. I run. Empty the washing machine, water spills out, did the cycle finish, looks ok, separate out what can be hung out (his), what must be kept inside (mine). Stir the pot on the hob, but it’s taking so long to boil. Out to the courtyard with the wet clothes, hot air slams my overheated body. Hang his clothes up, work overalls, shirts, socks, underwear, where’s the line pole, in the grass, it’s wet and dirty. I hoist the clothes to the strange-looking sky. The doves that live in the trees are absent today. Rub my hands dry on my skirt, run back inside, stir the pot, it’s still cold, put the next load of washing on, gray dust on my bare scarred arms. It’s getting darker, the clouds are even lower. There wasn’t a storm forecast. He’ll be home soon. His food isn’t ready. I run through the house, to the big window. Is he coming? Everything is coated in ash, the sky is pressing down. I’ve not seen any of the neigbours today. His car is there. Stopped. Halfway down the road. It’s forbidden, but I walk out of the house through the front door, down the path, onto the road. My footsteps echo. The air feels kind. The car door hangs open. He never made it out of the estate. The car is facing the wrong direction. He’s been gone since morning. It’s begun.
The sky was bright blue the afternoon I wrote this piece. I remember finding the knapweed plant that grows out in front of our kitchen was crawling with aphids. Later that summer we noticed that there were many more ladybirds than usual.
F. E. Clark lives in Scotland. She writes, paints, and takes photographs—inspired by nature in all its forms. A Pushcart, Best of the Net, and Best Small Fictions nominee, her poetry, flash-fiction, and short stories can be found in anthologies and literary magazines. She can be found online at www.feclarkart.com and on Twitter at @feclarkart.