The Front #shortstory #flashfiction

Maisie gasped for air and wondered why the young woman was in the mask. ‘Is it the doodlebug,’ she wondered but she was so tired and breathing hurt. She should ask. Maybe it was gas. Papa said they’d use gas. Panic made her struggle. The young woman leant in close.

Maisie thought about Papa. He’d say to keep calm. She’d do this for Papa.

‘Yes, Maisie?’ asked the young woman, briefly easing the covering from Maisie’s face.

‘Gas?’ Maisie managed. She needed to know; she’d have to tell Papa.

‘Yes, love. Oxygen. It’s a CPAP. Now, try and relax. We’ll be moving you soon.’

Maisie shut her eyes. Yes, she’d need her strength. Mama had gone to find Papa, when the doodlebug cut out. She’d need to be ready to help when Mama came home. Mama looked so tired and worried.

Senior nurse Yvonne Middleton blinked the sweat away. The young doctor looked as exhausted as Maisie. ‘You need some air, Fred?’

He managed a nod. ‘She’ll need ventilating. Another one.’

Yvonne felt for the youngster. Just out of med school; so much cannon fodder, she thought. ‘I’ll sort out, Maisie. You grab a drink.’

He shook his head and managed a wan smile. ‘Can’t leave the front line now.’

Maisie drifted back to consciousness. ‘Papa will be on the front line, Mama says. After this leave.’ The words formed in her head, though Maisie knew the young woman understood.

‘We’ll make you comfortable,’ Yvonne assured her.

That’s what Mr Benson had said. They’d made Papa comfortable. Mr Benson smelt of tobacco and soap. Poor man couldn’t fight, because of his leg. He never looked comfortable.

Fred Naylor watched Yvonne disappear through the secure doors and stretched his back. ‘It’s like a bloody war zone,’ he muttered. He glanced at Maisie who stared at him. ‘Don’t worry. It’ll soon be over.’

Maisie hadn’t understood when they’d said, ‘Papa’s gone.’ She’d asked Mama, ‘To the front?’ which made Mama cry.

‘What?’ Fred leant in close.

‘Front?’ Maisie managed.

‘Yes, the front line.’ Fred forced out a smile. Poor old thing, he thought. He checked her vitals. Her blood saturation was dropping and she’d be lucky to survive.

Maisie smiled. Papa was at the front. The young man had said. He hadn’t died, like they’d said. She’d see him soon.

As the alarms sounded, Fred swallowed the tears and called for help

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
This entry was posted in flash fiction, miscellany, short story and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to The Front #shortstory #flashfiction

  1. Erika says:

    Oh, this really made me swallow a few times.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh wow – an amazing story! So well done!!

    Like

  3. willowdot21 says:

    So sad Geoff and bang on MIL is still positive for Covid, but been moved out of acute care.. at 100 she will have a lot in common with Maisie.
    So hard to grasp this situation and how really hard the NHS is being pushed.
    Brilliantly written Geoff. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Perfect coalescence

    Liked by 1 person

  5. wow! incredible story! so applicable … Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jennie says:

    Oh my goodness. What a heartfelt (and true) story.

    Liked by 1 person

If you would like to reply please do so here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.