Grey day; warm for the season. ‘If anyone knows any reason…’ intones the priest, hearing the palpable intake of breath. A breeze flutters the feathers, salmon-pink, of the bride’s mother’s hat. Her sneezes ricochet off the ancient church stones. A cough, an embarrassed giggle, a ripple stirs through the congregation. The bride’s father compresses his elastic face into a deeper frown. Fecund and sullen, the swelling bride clasps her groom’s sweaty hand, his ratty moustache too small for his upper lip. The bride’s mother cries harder into her hankie. Silence stretches to snapping point. The priest smiles.
Helen Chambers is a flash and short fiction writer who likes taking long walks seeking inspiration by the river where she lives in Essex, UK. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Essex, and is the 2018 Fish Short Story winner. She blogs at HelenChambersWriter.wordpress.com
Sometimes I stop, peering down the road and trying to make out shapes in the fog. There is something hanging from the trees. Yellow eyes wide. Watching— —“What are you?” I call out. It grins wider, mocking me in my own voice “Ore no kanojo?” I echo, “Maybe I should bring a bouquet for you.”
I looked away, into the trees and the mist. If I went off the path for a little bit— just a two-hour vacation— what would I see there? A mermaid, twisting through the grey air, or jewelweeds twined together with their friends? I could catch a midsummer shower, run with the wolves in the wilderness, follow them to the edge of the trees and peer into oblivion— It might be the best day of my life.
I step forward onto the road, flowing cherry blossoms catching in my hair.