Here’s a link to my most recent flash fiction.
I like this wee little story of a man with tartan blood running out of gas on a mountain road, playing his pipes to keep himself warm and unintentionally provoking a social media storm of Highland Ghost sightings; although I’m not all that happy with last line. I don’t think I quite stuck the landing.
The fictional tale was inspired by a true event.
Many years ago, I looked at my calendar and was disappointed to find that a weekend industry conference in Canberra clashed with an annual Highland Gathering in Bundanoon. Whilst both south of my home in Sydney, the two locations are approximately 150 kilometres apart. In any event, my wife and I resolved to attend the industry conference on Friday and Sunday, whilst dashing up to Bundanoon for the Highland Gathering on the Saturday.
Leaving Bundanoon after a long day and a lovely dinner, we headed back south to Canberra. It was close to midnight and I was still dressed in my tartan kilt and Prince Charlie jacket. I didn’t pay much attention to the position of my petrol gauge, but the warning light came on around the same time as I turned left onto the Federal Highway, still close to an hour from Canberra with nothing but farmland and Lake George in between.
My wife was enjoying her view of the stars in the clear mountain sky, so I decided to live and die, in silence, with every sweeping bend and rolling crest, whilst praying that the petrol gauge might miraculously start moving northwards.
I contemplated, during the agonising drive, what I would do if my car did drift to an unforgiving halt. It was past midnight and flagging down a passing car meant placing our trust in the hands of strangers. And if we did, what next? Does one of us stay with the car? Do we both hitch a ride? Would the stranger even be willing to drive us back to our car once we had secured a can of petrol?
And, of course, I was still wearing my kilt! Would anybody stop, when confronted by such a shocking sight, emerging from the darkness? Or would they think they’ve seen a ghost?
Thankfully, we limped into Canberra and found a petrol station which was open. Had we run out of petrol on that lonely highway, I suspect my wife would have organised a piper to play a sorrowful lament at my funeral…after she’d killed me…