KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 7: Spring 2017
Micro-Fiction: 434 words


by Michael Loveday

It was a ten-minute walk from Harrow-on-the-Hill station to the cinema, and I set off with a cocksure bounce in my stride. Seeing Hellraiser would be the climax to a good week. Things were finally falling into shape at school after a bad year since my father died. I’d spent three terms feeling like my skin had been unpeeled. But this week, out of nowhere, my ex-girlfriend had written to me, sounding like she wanted me back. And I’d been offered a place at my second-choice uni, after nothing but bluffing at interview. Maybe I was seeing some luck.

At seven p.m., buses were funnelling down Station Road in the dark. The pavements surprised me with quiet; most of the shops were already closed. I hadn’t put on enough layers, and the late October chill sliced at me. I pulled my duffle hood over my head, plunged hands into pockets, and kept walking the walk.

I was rounding the junction with Sheepcote Road, when a couple came striding towards me from the opposite direction. They wore matching blue jeans and black puffer jackets. The guy had a fat arm like a slug round his girlfriend’s shoulders. She was blonde, and much taller than he was, like he’d have to stand on something just to kiss her. They seemed older, in their late twenties. She laughed and tipped back her head to puff out some cigarette smoke. For one brief moment, they reeked of happiness, and I felt a churn in my core like a trapdoor to grief. Before they passed me, the guy stopped and said: “You looking at my girlfriend?”

I stopped. “No. Of course not.”

“You saying she’s not fit then?”


“You’re not looking at her. So she’s not fit?”

“No. I mean, I just wasn’t looking, that’s all.”

He stepped closer. “Yeah?” He looked me in the eyes. His hair was shaved close to his scalp. His teeth glinted in the dark as he grinned at me mechanically. “And what if I had a knife?”

Closer again. My heart—thudding. I couldn’t see his hands well enough to judge. His girlfriend had stopped laughing. “Jim. Jim.” She tugged at his arm. “Leave the boy alone.”

“What if I had a knife,” he said again, “and I stabbed you in the ribs?”

He stood right next to me. I could smell the stink of beer on his breath. I knew what was next. The weird thing was, I didn’t move away. His hand was clenched in his pocket, and then it was coming for me—and I just waited for it.


Michael Loveday’s
Issue 7, Spring 2017

stories are published/forthcoming in magazines such as Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine; Litro; The Forge Literary Magazine; Flash Frontier; Ink, Sweat & Tears; The Jellyfish Review; Spelk; and Stand. His debut poetry pamphlet He Said/She Said was published by HappenStance Press in 2011. He lives in Bath, UK, and teaches in adult education.

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