I sent this story out to my Knightmares newsletter before I merged the newsletter with this blog. I thought I should share it here too. If you like it, then subscribe to Knightmares and never miss a post or future flash fiction.
Alex squirmed in the front passenger seat, strained to see over the dashboard. It was dark out, snowing, and the headlights shining through the falling snow made him feel like he was in a spaceship flying past stars. The drive from grandma’s house was long and boring, but flying through space was fun.
“Sit still!” Papa was in a bad mood, a don’t mess with me boy mood, so Alex settled back and tried to sit still.
It wasn’t easy. They never let him sit in front, something about airbags killing little kids like him, and it was a whole new perspective.
Nothing. Papa squeezed the steering wheel until his fingers turned white.
Alex turned to look in the back seat.
Alex jumped, slammed himself back into the seat.
He waited for mommy to say something, to tell papa not to shout, but she didn’t. They’d been fighting all night, so she was probably giving him the silent treatment.
“Hush, Alex,” papa said. “Leave your mommy alone.”
“Papa,” Alex said, then remembered he was supposed to hush, and whispered. “Papa.”
Papa ignored him for a moment, then sighed. “What, Alex?”
“Why am I sitting up here instead of mommy?”
They’d traded spots at the last rest area. Alex had to piss big time, and he’d wanted a few minutes away from the arguing, so he’d taken his time. His papa came into the bathroom while he was washing up and hurried him back out to the car, almost shoving him into the front seat and buckling him in.
“Your mommy was tired,” papa said, and there was something in his voice Alex didn’t like. He whispered, maybe so mommy wouldn’t hear him, “all that running her mouth wore her out.”
“Mommy’s taking a nap?”
Papa looked into the rear-view mirror, then back to the road.
“Yeah, mommy’s taking a nap. You should too. We won’t get home for a few more hours.”
“Okay,” Alex said, and he tried, but something was still bothering him.
“What, Alex … what?”
“You got blood on you.”