Monday, 17 June 2019

Write-In 2019: 'Half a Tank' by Sarah Mosedale

Are we nearly there?

That little voice floating up behind her. A balloon whose trailing string, razor-edged with optimism, slashes her heart, clots the breath in her lungs, rips her guts. Gripping the wheel, half blind with snot and blood, she struggles for silence. Prays the child will give up, will sleep. Her reason for living, her likely death sentence too, one warm sweet bundle, buttoned up and belted in.

Nearly where? There is no there. She’d left the death house because in the end there was no choice. She was driving because she’d managed to snatch the keys and the car was faster than walking. It is warm and dry too; outside the rain drums with cruel enthusiasm. Half a tank of petrol is all that stands between them and him. Can it possibly be enough? Can she hold that tiny terrifying balloon?

Are we nearly there?

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