Flash fiction

 

Storageby David Mohan

THERE WAS nothing to be done about the storage tank. The storage tank would have to stay put. It lay in the back field like the wreck of a crashed plane. The grasses had grown around it. Just imagine the space it would leave when lifted. The grass beneath would be dark and moist.

He wondered what the years must be like before a house is sold. Did you lose all pride? Did dereliction creep in, making it impossible to do anything besides watch the dust settle?

Matt Earley had been like that evidently – nothing had changed after his mother’s death.

Or at least that was what the neighbour across the lane suggested.

“You’ll be buying the house off a proper hermit,” Mrs Talbot said, passing over her packets of delicate biscuits, her secret china.

But where to begin? Bin everything? Light a match?

Michael had taken against the Sacred Heart figurine in the bedroom, its straggly plug-in feature, its feeble neon.

“Country kitsch,” he’d said, tossing it into a black plastic bag.

“It’s like something from a Mexican funfair.” He wiped his hands, the dust thick on everything.

Neither of them could live with the crockery.

“Rank,” Michael said.

There were lurid tea stains marking levels. The mugs were gigantic – like medieval tankards.

He imagined Matt Earley’s mother’s ghost following them around, peering over their shoulders, gossiping with the neighbours in her head.

“Blow-ins from the city. Look at the cut of the one with his tattoo all red. Sinful. Never done a bit of man’s work in their whole life.”

Yes, he could still hear her echo, and that was what it was like in their country house.

Flash fiction will be a regular item in The Irish Times. E-mail a story of no more than 500 words to flashfiction@irishtimes.com