Flash Fiction: A Tale O’Truth by Zoë Strachan
The newest instalment in our series of ultra-short stories
The wind picked up as Tam wended away from the Howff. Stoating from lamp-post to wall, and realising he was singing out loud, he took the longer, more sobering, route through the park. The moonlight on the shadowy trees almost brought on a poetic reverie, quickly superseded by the image of Kate’s thunderous face and memories of the night she’d bolted the door, forcing him to sleep in the greenhouse. At the peak of the old brig, Tam saw plastic-wrapped bouquets and posies tied with ribbon. The water rushed and seethed below. Amidst the flowers was a laminated photo of a dark-haired girl with green eyes. A sad business. Bullying at school, they said.
He huddled into his jacket and walked on. The noise of smashing glass startled him and he saw the flicker of firelight ahead in the ruined kirk. Bloody teenagers. As he drew closer, he heard music. Not so bad, he thought, his feet catching the rhythm. Ach well, everyone deserved a good time once in a while. He drew closer. Goths or emos, he couldn’t keep up. One of the girls was dancing, whirling in the middle, black hair swirling out around her, her smile splitting her face.
‘Haw you, you perv!’
The music stopped. The girl froze and her eyes met Tam’s. Her bright green eyes.
‘But you’re …’ he began, and then someone kicked over the fire and all was dark.
Tam turned and ran, feet pounding over the path. As he neared the bridge he could feel a presence fast as the wind behind him. Just as he reached the keystone a hand seized his wee ponytail and – snip! – he was free.
That would please Kate at least. She’d been saying he was too old for it.
Zoë Strachan’s latest novel, Ever Fallen in Love, is published by Sandstone Press.