Sunday 21 December 2014

Day 21: The Flower Man or: Something About a Cat by Daniel Dowsing

I can’t remember if it was a fox, or maybe a cat, but it darted in front of the car and now the car is on its back. A damp trickle tickles the side of my face, my head feels fat and tight as it pounds and pounds and pounds.
Katherine will be worried. Or perhaps she won’t. I’m always careful, but I had a drink before I left. Or was it two?
Cold air floods through the smashed windows and I want to scratch the damp itch congealing in my hair as it drips onto the roof of the car with a



but my arms tingle with numbness.

The pounding slows, my eyes feel heavy. The dash, the wheel, the broken screen blur and pixilate. My eyes sink deeper into the darkness of my skull. Like a pendulum, my head hangs limp and long and, for a moment, I feel peaceful…

…I’m standing outside the car but it’s no longer a car at all; just a crumpled mass of glass and metal like some gutted clockwork pig. Steam that should be hissing silently oozes into the air.
It’s quiet; a starless night. Grey plumes of breath cloud against the darkness. Nothing tingles or stings out here; neither cold nor pain. Street lamps reveal the odd pocket of reality but everything else is black. I must be near the park. I can see the occasional oak tree along the side of the road.
I want to look closer at the car, just a little closer, through one of the broken windows. Maybe if I crouch down, go on all fours, I’ll see-
“Forgot ya then, did he?’ asks a voice from the dark. ‘I hate it when he does that. Bloody mind fuck if yer ask me.”
The man must be in his sixties. His tweed coat is buttoned up to the top. A striped blue and beige scarf fits snugly around his neck; loose jowls hang from his face. Wire-framed glasses so big they might as well be TV sets cover his eyes. Along his top lip runs the silver sliver of a moustache. Flowers wrapped in brown paper rest in his arms. White flowers. “And it means I gotta hang around here until yer picked up.”
“Who are you?” I ask.
“The Flower Man,” he replies.
”What’re you doing here? Call an ambulance! Please! Do you have a phone? I need to call my wife! She’ll be…” Out of the corner of my eye the wrecked car lingers as silent as an iceberg.
He snorts a laugh, shakes his head and brushes past me. A sign, planted in the verge, warns drivers that the next stretch of road is a winding one.
“What’s a Flower Man?” I ask.
“At a push I'd say a man with flowers. Or perhaps a guy who's been doing this job for so long he's forgotten his name? ... Or doesn't need a name,” he replies laying the flowers at the base of the sign. A wheeze, the crumple of paper, and it’s done. Just like that, without pomp or circumstance. A groan stretches out as he stands up again and for a moment I imagine his joints are tattooed with rust as the white flowers lay still, dead.
I had to ask: “Are they for me?”
‘Mmmhmmm’ he pulls a cigarette from one pocket and a lighter from the other. Shhrrp-click-ffoom goes the lighter as his face blooms with warm, orange light and strings of curling white smoke. 

About the author: 
Daniel (@D_Dowsing) is a writer and game narrative designer. He writes weird fiction in the form of short stories, comics and computer games. He is the co-creator of online graphic novel The Wolf ( and his short comic story I Remember You is being published by GreyHaven Comics. His gaming credits include: Recovery Search & Rescue Simulator and Primal Rumble. Maybe one day he’ll be writing for Doctor Who.
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