Flash Fiction (number 8)

You only live once

My life can be split into two distinct chunks. The first eighteen years, pretty much defined the word ‘average’. I lived in a small town, with a brother and sister, my parents were still together and happy. I wasn’t popular but I wasn’t a loner either, I had three best mates Jeff, Steve and Jon. I went into middle sets in my fourth year, coming out with grade Cs in all twelve of my GCSE subjects. I had a couple of girlfriends but no one serious. I don’t want to bore you with the details of those years though. Two weeks I met Aella, and that is when life finally got interesting. I’m Mike Perkins and this is how it happened.

“Mike!! Get up!!” Judy Perkins raised her voice, making sure that it carried upstairs and through her son’s bedroom door. She was well aware of the time, and knew that he needed to get moving. There was no response from the eighteen year old, and so Judy left her bowl of porridge cooling, picked up the freshly brewed cup of coffee and hurried upstairs to bang on the bedroom door. “Mike!!” a sleepy grunt came through the wood, which she took as a welcome, and she entered the small bedroom. Mike was covered by the duvet, only the top of his head visible over the blue cotton. Judy stepped carefully over the discarded clothes, and dirty bowls, to open the curtains, sighing in distaste when the weak sunlight failed to rouse him. “Mike get up,” she shook his shoulder, finally making him open his eyes.

“What?”

“Coffee, shower and dressed.” Judy ordered, setting the coffee down on his bedside table. “It’s that interview this morning remember?”

“I don’t feel very well.” He mumbled, as he raised the cup of coffee to his mouth. The strong drink helped to clear his head a little, but it still felt a jackhammer was vibrating against his left temple.

“That’s a hangover.” Judy told him “Your dad pulled a lot of strings to get you this interview, and you’re going to go. You will charm them, and get the job. You will work and earn your keep from now on, if you insist on not going to university.” Her tone held no room for argument, so Mike climbed from the bed, wincing a little as his bare feet hit the floorboards.

Head bowed over his mobile phone, Mike ambled down the street, twenty minutes later. His fingers flew over the small keypad as he wrote his texts, sending one off to Jeff. They had half planned to meet up after their job interviews that morning, and he wanted to nail down their meeting place. He wasn’t aware of the olive skinned brunette watching him from the bus stop, her eyes glinted and almost seemed to glow gold in the dim light of the wintry day.

He stepped right into a large lump of dog dirt, and let out a loud curse as soon as the squishy sensation registered. “Fuck’s sake!” he had spent fifteen minutes that morning, making sure that the black leather was neatly polished, at his mother’s insistence.

“Here,” the brunette proffered a paper tissue as he drew level with her.

“Thanks,” he took it from her outstretched fingers, eyes taking all of her in, especially the white sweater that neatly emphasised her curves. Balancing on one leg, he wiped hastily at the dog dirt, and felt a tell tale flush starting at the back of his neck. Of course it would happen in front of the fittest girl I’ve seen in months. Stay calm Mike.

The girl’s bright blue eyes sparkled with barely restrained amusement “You might wanna sit down while you do that,”

“Nah I’m fine. I’m very flexible…” he glanced up to see a smile curving her mouth, and lost his balance, falling off of the kerb right into the oncoming traffic.

The driver slammed on his brakes, but the action was far too late. All Mike registered was a pair of terrified hazel eyes, peering at him from behind the windscreen, and then a awful pain shot through his system from hip to shoulder. His world went black, as he fell backwards onto the cold tarmac.

The next thing he felt was a pair of warm hands resting on his stomach, the heat searing through his jumper. He could see a flash of gold through his closed eyelids, and then a husky voice said “Sit up, you’re okay now,” cold seeped into his pants, from the hard stone beneath him, and he couldn’t suppress the tremor that ran through him.

“How?” Mike’s trembling hand came to rest over his stomach, anticipating a wave of pain, but he didn’t feel anything. His eyes flickered open to see that he was sitting in a sparsely appointed room with marble floors, and a green velvet settee in his direct eye line. The brunette was kneeling at his side, and her clothes had changed, into a yellow flowered dress. “Where am I?”

“The Lighthouse. It’s the base of the Amour Federation,”

“The what?”

“You want something more than a average life.” The brunette told him, as she helped him to his feet. “We want to give you that,” she pressed a business card into his hand, “Think it over, and we’ll be in touch,” her curvy frame shimmered with a bright gold light, it poured out of her every pore, expanding and blurring the very air around her. The gleam made Mike close his eyes, and when he opened them again, he was standing under the bus shelter.

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