Unplaced entry published in Microcosms Flash Fiction competition – Microcosms 148 – on 09/11/2018. The rules required a story in no more than 300 words in response to the following prompts.
Character – Nurse/ Location – Funeral/ Genre – Memoir
The story had to be written and submitted within a one day deadline.
‘After retiring, I nursed him at home until he transferred to the Hospice. When too feeble to write he dictated this letter to me. To be given to you immediately after his funeral.’
You’re 18 and I’m dead. I’ve had a good life. I need to tell you something important. You’re old enough now to understand the explanation and its implications.
All your life you’ll have noticed that you can hear your mother’s voice inside your head, even when she’s miles away from you. Faint but real. You’ve kept it to yourself since the other kids laughed at you. So far you’ve managed to shut it out because your life has never been endangered. At those times it becomes very noticeable.
Every male descendant in our family has had the same ability. The female line can pass it on but they can’t hear it. That’s why my daughter and granddaughter couldn’t tell you about it. Your mother only knows now because of this letter.
It’s saved my life … At the Somme, my mother’s voice stopped me from walking down a road. If I’d ignored her I’d have been killed by a shell along with many others. Later she told me to miss a flight. The crash killed everyone on board. Finally, she woke me to get everyone out before that gas leak destroyed half the street… it could save yours too.
The voice stopped when she died.
‘Do you believe this?’
‘I’ve no idea, Sam. Do you hear my voice inside your head?’
‘Yes; that part’s true. It’s been my secret. Have you ever tried to warn me of anything?’
‘Remember, if you heed her voice, you could live a long life … as I did … without the full burden of fear.’
©David Lewis Pogson 2018