Henry – another Flash Fiction Challenge

Today’s flash fiction challenge comes from http://danielboshea.wordpress.com, a 500 words or less story involving snow.


Henry was an active man for his age. Almost 70, and he still walked two miles every day. He preferred walking outside, but with the snow and sub-zero temperatures, he was forced to walk indoors on his treadmill. That was ok though, he could watch Andy Griffith re-runs, and Martha always brought him a cookie while he was walking. “To keep up your energy,” she said with a smile.

With a fresh blanket of snow on the ground this morning, Henry pulled on his boots and jacket to go shovel the sidewalk and get the mail. He had made an agreement with the elderly  lady next door with the kyphosis and prosthetic leg, that he would shovel her drive so the meals-on-wheels van could pull up to the house.

Henry finished his stretch of pavement and walked over and started on her driveway. The temperature was up to 28, almost too hot to be wearing a heavy coat while shoveling for the old Minnesotan. He finished quickly and went home and told Martha how nice it was outside.

She agreed, though she hadn’t gone out today, and warned, “tomorrow it’s going to be slicker than snot out there.”

Henry laughed and told her he couldn’t disagree with that.

After supper, he and Martha sat together in the living room, reading and enjoying the quiet crackles of the fire. Henry looked out at the white world and noticed it had started snowing again. He told Martha she sure was right about it cooling down. That night they prayed together for the saftely of their friends and family over the following days.

Henry started off his day on the treadmill, enjoyed his cookie from Martha, and once again laced up his boots and zipped his jacket. It was still snowing, so he decided to grab the mail and shovel later. It would be nicer this afternoon anyway.

Walking out the garage door, he looked at the fresh layer of white fluffy snow, so perfect, untouched.

As Martha had warned, it was pretty icy, but Henry’s old boots had great traction. He started down the driveway, making it three quartes of the way down when the heel of his boot skipped across the ice, sliding on the snow.

Henry fell, landing flat on his back. His bare head, without even a layer of hair to protect his scalp, ricochetted off the ice covered pavement.

He lay there for a moment, his head aching. He felt a warm trickle, he guessed it was blood, at the back of his head. He couldn’t move.

The pain in his head increased, it felt like his skull was too small. He began to fade out. The swelling of his brain shutting down his cognitive thinking.

He began to vomit, tinging the snow orange, and mixing with the blood that was now soaking into the back of his thick jacket.

He faded into unconsciousness, thinking of Martha, as a thin layer of snow fell, concealing Henry from the world.


5 thoughts on “Henry – another Flash Fiction Challenge

  1. Pingback: The I’m-going-to-sell-books-if-I-have-to-buy-them-myself flash fiction challenge « Going Ballistic

  2. This is really good! Your writing is very emotional, something I think I have a hard time capturing. I also like how your experience as a paramedic informs your writing; all of those little healthcare details make it very believable. Like, wtf is a kyphosis? I have no idea, but Henry knows.

    • Thank you! I actually started writing something completely different for this challenge, but it felt so forced that I couldn’t continue it. Then I thought of a call I was on, and it just kind of flowed freely.

      Many of my stories and ideas for stories are inspired from people I’ve treated and interacted with while working. I loved it so much and then it was just ripped out of my hands.

      ps: kyphosis is that thing that causes little old ladies to have a hunchback.

  3. Here I am, bounced here from Dan’s blog and his contest.

    Nicely done. The story had a sense of forboding right from the start. There is an economy of decsription here that makes the moments where detail is added, stand out.

    Good place to end it as well.

  4. I enjoyed reading this one, but unlike the commenter above, I didn’t have any foreboding (though I don’t often think ahead when I read) and was expecting grandchildren or something. I do agree about your paucity of details makes this piece more compelling.

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