"Pretties" by J W Hicks
So she says, ‘Remember, Rick, this year you promised me pretties.’
Promised? Jeez, then it hits me. Last year, freezing cold and us loved-up inside the bunker. I’d have promised the second coming to keep her close. Now I gotta keep my word; wouldn’t want her thinking of a new protector, females being scarce since the plague took hold.
‘That’ll mean a scouting trip, babe. You wanna be shut in all alone?’
‘Aw, Rick, I fixed a tree already.’ She pouts. ‘And you promised.’
‘Right,’ I say, looking at the carbonised tree branch planted skew in a pot of gravel complete with wired-on twigs. That’s a Christmas tree? But she looks at me like I’m the saviour and I pull a grin. Hell, here goes nothing.
Outside there’s brick mounds and piles of twisted metal... and guns.
Ain’t nothing pretty in our shattered world. Ain’t nothing but dirt and blood and fighting for our sodding lives.
But I promised.
I get back battered, out of ammo and well blooded. She holds me tight and licks my ear.
‘Oh, Rick. It’s lovely,’ she says as we watch our Christmas tree in the light of the smoky, flickering fire.
She’s right, it is lovely. The eye-globes spinning in the up draft, show blue and brown in turn, the dried finger bones click like old-time wind chimes, and the multi-coloured hair strands wave from the twigs like genuine tinsel.
Pretty? Yeah, guess you could say that.
FlashFlood is brought to you by National Flash-Fiction Day UK, happening this year on 27th June 2015.
In the build up to the day we have now launched our Micro-Fiction Competition (stories up to 100 words) and also our annual Anthology (stories up to 500 words). So if you have enjoyed FlashFlood, why not send us your stories?More information about these and the Day itself available at nationalflashfictionday.co.uk.