Flash Fiction – It’s Not the Fire That Kills You

The smell of smoke woke him. For a moment he thought he must be dreaming. His recurring nightmare of dying in a fire flashed through his mind. His first cough assured him he was awake. He threw the blanket off and jumped out of bed.
 
In the dark, he groped for the ever present clothes on the floor. They were not there. Cursing himself for not only going to bed drunk but also sleeping nude, he made his way to the closet.
 
It only took two steps for the coughing to stop him. Remembering that smoke rose, he crouched and made his way to the door. He grabbed the handle. It wasn’t hot but neither would it turn. He coughed again as the smoke coming in from under the door filled his lungs.
 
He turned and crawled to the window. It wouldn’t budge. He grabbed his desk chair and swung it at the glass but it he was too weak to break it.
 
Not knowing what else to do, he lay on the floor and waited to die. He thought of all the things he wished he’d said and done. All his regrets crowded his mind. Topmost was his decision to cheat on the love of his life. Sure she was crazy but he’d promised he would never hurt her. Before he lost consciousness he voiced his apology, one he knew she would never hear.
 
The smoke coalesced over his body. He opened one eye and almost thought he could see a face. I forgive you, he heard before the air in the room cleared. A dream then, he realized as he drifted off to sleep again.
 
When his alarm went off at seven he was surprised to find himself naked on the floor. His girlfriend wouldn’t take his calls and he never cheated another lover ever again.
Rough draft 313 words


This story is the result of a picture prompt that I wasn’t sure I could post. It showed a woman’s face mostly obscured by smoke or fog.

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