As is usual (by now) for the last Wednesday of the month, here’s a short piece of flash fiction for free. It will come down at the end of the week, so enjoy it while it lasts.
REPLY TO ALL
Cain’s laptop beeped at him. Damn thing! Why does it always do this when I’m in a hurry?
He glanced at the screen. The mouse pointer, frozen, the little hourglass stuck mid-twirl.
He banged the keyboard with the palm of his hand. Useless. Not even a clatter on the soft rubberised keys.
Footsteps in the corridor outside. Mr Gillman’s – coming to check up on him.
No – conversation. Dana with Mr Gillman. The office manager’s slinky voice soothed through the drywall partition, words not needed to raise the hairs on the back of Cain’s hands.
Keep ‘im talking, Dana. Good girl.
Cain’s phone blasted out the first bars of Rihanna’s Milkshake. He shoved the chair back and fumbled in the pocket of his jacket on the coat-rack behind him, damp hands rustling in the nylon. The ringtone, again, bouncing off the walls of the office.
Shut up shut up shut up!
Dana, out in the corridor, laughing now, maybe at something Mr Gillman said.
Mr Gillman? Making Dana laugh? He’s not the type. Come to think of it, Mr Gillman wasn’t too loud either. Maybe he’d seen the tape.
The phone jingled again just as Cain got his hands around it. Not now!
He clicked the battery out, dropped both parts into the rustling pocket, wheeled back across the carpet to the laptop.
Damn damn damn!
Soft voices in the corridor, Dana and Mr Gillman, moving away from his door into the general buzz of the open-plan office beyond, the clacket of printers and faxes and drinks machines and casual conversation that the file on his laptop – when the damn thing woke up – was going to bring to cold silence.
The fan on the laptop whirred, and the footage loaded.
An email, Reply To All.
Cain hit “Send”.
And one final plug for the Goodreads Giveaway of SHADOWBOX, which ends on July 31. There are five copies of the paperback to be won.