The Fly. Flash Fiction.

Doug frowned and waved distractedly at the air, that damn fly was buzzing around him again. It had been in the office most of the day, even though the door and both of the windows were open, the damn things still didn’t leave. Probably too stupid to find the way out. He waved his hand in front of his face again, he was trying, and failing, to get work done and the distraction of the fly did little to help. It was a hot day, far too hot to be cooped up in a small office, but he had little choice. If he had any left he’d have taken a sick day and spent the day pottering around his small garden, it was too hot to do any real work. He took a swig of his coffee which had long cooled and put the mug back on his desk. The fly was back, buzzing around his head in slow, lazy circles. He picked up a sheaf of papers and swung at it, cursing as he missed. A moment later the phone rang, he picked it up, still waving the paper. “Everything ok in there Doug?”
“Yes Sam, everything’s fine. Thanks.”
“Do you need anything?”
“No, no. Thank you.”
He hung up and shook his head, Sam was an attentive assistant, sometimes too attentive, at times it felt like he could do little without Sam’s notice. The buzzing finally stopped, he looked around for the body of the fly, wondering if he had managed to finally kill the damn thing. He didn’t spot it on his desk, but after a moment he put the papers down and looked back at the computer screen. He read through what he had written, fixing a few mistakes here and there. Normally Sam did stuff like this but it was an important letter and, if he was being honest, he didn’t really want Sam to see it either. There was nothing personal or embarrassing in it, but Sam was known for being a bit of a gossip, if he saw it the office would know about it in ten minutes, if not less. It was uncanny how fast he seemed to be able to spread gossip. The buzzing came back, he saw the fly as it flew around the room in a lazy arc. He swatted at it again, this time distractedly, for now he was able to push the noise to the back of his mind. As if sensing that it was no longer getting a reaction the fly buzzed closer to his head, circling it in fast, tight loops. Doug waved his hand around his head again and opened his mouth to shout out to Sam, someone in the office had to have bug spray, when the fly flew straight into his open mouth, hitting the back of his throat. Doug coughed and spluttered, he jumped back, his chair landing behind him with a heavy thud. The phone rang again but Doug didn’t notice, he was too busy coughing. He could almost feel it at the back of his throat. He cleared his throat and spat a few times, but there was nothing. He shuddered and took a swig of coffee, what ever happened to the fly it was gone now. The phone stopped ringing, Doug turned and picked up his chair and sat down again. He felt a strange lurch in his stomach, not painful, but sudden and startling. A short, gruesome thought flashed through his mind, what if the fly was alive in there, buzzing around? He shook his head, that was silly, he was just feeling a little queasy, that was all. The movement came again, this time with a tinge of pain. He rubbed his stomach, he wasn’t going to start throwing up, was he? As soon as the thought came, his stomach lurched again, his mouth flooded with saliva and he spun in his chair, just managing to grab the bin before the vomit came. He heaved into his bin, his eyes closed, he didn’t see the black bile that was filling it. The vomit kept coming in a never ending wave, his stomach clenched painfully again and again as the black bile burned his throat. He was feeling faint, weak, he couldn’t catch his breaths between heaves. The bin was getting heavier, it slipped from his damp fingers and hit the ground with a thud, it teetered on one edge for a moment before falling over completely, sending a wave of bile across the light blue carpet. Doug reached out to put his hand on his desk for support, but he couldn’t seem to raise his arm. He fell forward into the pool of bile, still heaving. A head popped around the door, “Are you ok? I thought I heard- Jesus Christ! Uh help! Someone help! Doug needs an ambulance or something!” Sam ran into the room, Doug was convulsing on the floor, bile still oozing from his mouth, beads of sweat coating his forehead, Sam turned him onto his side and checked for a pulse, it was still there but it was weak. Doug shuddered once, then lay still, Sam called out for help again, he placed his fingers on Doug’s neck, there was no pulse. Somewhere in the room a fly started to lazily buzz, it circled above the scene once, then it flew out of the window and into the afternoon sky.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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