Blindness: A Flash Fiction Story
By Joshua Scribner
Copyright 2016 Joshua Scribner
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This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
“Hello, little boy.”
Colter had just wanted a Coke. He’d known Mom wouldn’t let him go out at night, but Mom was out with friends and had said she wouldn’t be home until after midnight.
Besides, the gas station was only a few blocks from their house, and the path was very well lit.
“Hello,” he said back to the old woman on the porch, rocking in her chair.
“I see you walk by here every day. But this is the first time I’ve seen you walk by at night. You shouldn’t walk down that sidewalk at night.”
There was something funny about the way she’d said that. It was like she knew something he didn’t. “Why?” he asked.
She laughed until she coughed. Then, when the coughing fit was over, she said, “You walk down this street everyday. And do you see me everyday?”
“And the only time you’ve walked by at night, do you see me?”
“Then maybe you should know that I’m always here. Or are you a dumb little boy?”
“No. I’m not dumb. I’ve wondered why you’re always here on the porch.”
She grinned. “It’s a good question. It’s an even better question than you think.”
“I’m here all the time, because the view’s worth seeing. And if I’m here all the time, and I tell you you shouldn’t walk along this street at night, shouldn’t you take my word for it. Or are you a dumb little boy?”
“You asked that already.”
“Only because you keep leading me there.”
“Hmm. No, I don’t think so. I mean it’s possible. If I were crazy, I probably wouldn’t know it. But I still don’t think so.”
“So what is it? What makes you stay out on your porch?”
She nodded. “Okay. I’ll tell you. But only because you need me to. I hate to see sweet little boys, even dumb ones like you, get killed.”
“Are you crazy?”
“Then why do you doubt what you hear so clearly. I said killed.”
“How would I get killed?”
“Well. I’m not positive, but I’d think because of blindness.”
“I’m not blind.”
“And neither were the many others. They weren’t blind, but they did have blindness in the moments before they died.”
“What? Are you sure you’re not crazy?”
“I’m as sure as I could be about it, I guess. But go research it for yourself. Ask the librarian to help you. Or look it up in one of those devil boxes you call computers. In the last ten years, this town has had thirty fatalities caused by pedestrians being hit by cars. Of those, twenty-five have died in the one block stretch between Ash and Maple along this highway. All at night.”
“And you’ve seen all of them?”
“All of the ones in the last ten years. I see them. I watch them in the lights along the road. They come up to the highway. They look both ways. Then they just walk out into the road like there’s nothing coming. Then squash.”
She laughed again, high pitched, and then it trailed into another coughing fit.
“Why would someone cross here? There’s nothing on that side of the road but a hill of grass and a fence.”
“Sure. I can see that. There’s not a lot of people that cross. All the more reason that there shouldn’t have been so many that died.”
“You’re lying. Someone would have noticed so many dying here. They’d do something about it.”
“You would think that. But there’s something you got to remember.” She smiled at him. It was a proud smile.
“What?” he asked.
“Blindness. People are blind when they step out into that street. People are blind about the number of people who step into that street.”
“No. You’re making it up.”
“Well fine, dumb little boy. How about you find out for yourself. Scoot across that road. Then come back to this side. You make it back okay, and then we can say I’m crazy.”
He looked out at the road. It was a rather quiet night. There were cars, but not so many that it would be hard to cross. “Okay.”
He waited for a car to pass. He looked and saw the headlights of a distant car coming in from out of town. There were no headlights coming in the other direction. He crossed the street. He came back.
“I knew you were crazy,” he told the old lady
She acted like she didn’t hear him. “Just as blind as the rest.” The old woman then started to laugh, and she laughed hard.
He shook his head. “I’m going.” As he walked away, he heard the old woman’s laugh become a cough. Then he heard the other voices.
“I never saw him. He just walked right out in front of me.”
“I saw him. He looked right at you.”
Colter didn’t look back. He didn’t need to look back to know what was there. He was becoming very light, and the world was fading away.
About the Author
Joshua Scribner is the author of 18 published novels and five 50-story collections. He currently lives in Michigan.