I think this section from my new novel THE ROCKY ORCHARD makes an especially good flash piece.
Sick. I felt sick, fucking sick, when the telephone rang. I wanted to snatch the old 20-pound, rotary dial monstrosity of a phone right out of the wall and fling it through the window. I wanted glass to shatter and fly in a million directions and create rainbows of light in mid-air. I wanted the shards to rain down razors and cut the room into little ribbons. I’m too young for this, I thought. I’m fourteen years old and I am too young for this. For this shit, for this utter shit.
“Hello,” I said into the receiver.
“I’m pointing a knife at my stomach,” Tim said. “Tell me why you broke up with me.”
Suicide was just a word, a vague concept. Something whispered, read about in books. Nothing that had ever come near my own world, just a specter keeping itself hidden and far away. I had not even read The Bell Jar, hadn’t thought of Sylvia Plath turning on the stove in the apartment where she lived every day. Had not been stuck with the picture of her putting her head into the oven with the gas jet running, her two young children sleeping in their beds on the other side of the wall.
Daddy Mommy, I thought. I don’t know what Tim is going to do. I’m scared. I think he’s going to do something to himself. Help me, Daddy Mommy. I need your help, I thought.
But I didn’t say anything. Not to my parents, not to anyone.
Tim’s younger sister, the one that was in my grade, the one that I knew, was the first one home that night. She found him. Still alive, but unconscious.
It’s a blur after that. I can picture flashing lights and sirens and a lot of people and a lot of running around, but that doesn’t really make sense, does it? They wouldn’t have been at my house; all of that would have been at Tim’s house. Still, I have a sense of a million faces looking at me. It seemed as if the whole world was staring at me – a vast sea of expressions. Such concern. Some people blamed me; I could see it in their faces. Most people were torn, anguished even, between the part of them that wanted to stare at me, and the part of them that wanted to look away. I’d become scary to people somehow. So many different things that people felt when they looked at me.
All I’d done was broken up with a boy. A crazy boy.