Where it stops

Competition Eight Shortlisted: Where it stops by

If it’s tails, she will step into the rain that thrashes like shingle against the window. She will criss-cross the pavement to dodge the invasiveness of people, while the torrent soaks through her skin to freeze her bones. In the shop on the corner, the weight of being observed will push her down as she drips along the aisles, scraping some of what she needs and none of what she wants into a basket. The man behind the counter will remark on the weather while he scans her items and judges her choices. She will fumble with her purse, spray coppers onto the floor, hold her breath as she taps a card on the reader. She will run home, all the way.

If the penny lands heads up, she will stay where she is. As the afternoon wanes, the light will drift away, leaving her alone in the dark. She may press her cheek to the pane to feel the rattle of the storm. She will shiver. She will see neighbours passing beneath the glow of the lamp across the street and will wonder if they see her. She will feel seen. When hunger becomes too much, she will trace a line along the wall to the kitchen, where she will open a cupboard and brush her hand from corner to empty corner. One more day, she will tell herself as she sips water from yesterday’s glass.

One more day.

Cold and hard, fate falls. She follows as the coin rolls and comes to rest on its edge against the skirting board. She stoops and extends a finger, before closing her eyes and prodding it flat.





Mark Stocker is a writer from Suffolk. He has won prizes for his short and flash fiction, and has been published by a number of journals, including The Phare, Sledgehammer Lit, Ellipsis Zine, Cranked Anvil and Virtual Zine. He is currently writing his first novel.



Photo by M.T ElGassier on Unsplash



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