Each week, we pick a short fiction piece from our Fairlight Shorts archives to feature as our story of the week. This week, we’ve chosen a story about loss by Cecilia Dolan.
Cecilia Dolan is a Creative Writing student at her local university and she has prospects of attending a London university next Fall.
Cecilia has been making up intricate stories in her mind for as long as she can remember but she really started putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) during the 2020 lockdown. She fell instantly in love with storytelling and never looked back. There’s Nothing Left That I Can Do is her first publication.
‘There’s Nothing Left That I Can Do’ follows a woman who often dreams about her death.
If dreams count as experience, then I’ve died about 600 times. I pulled that number out of nowhere – I don’t actually know how many times I’ve dreamed of my own death, but I know it’s probably an abnormal amount. At least once a week. One sharp self-slap across the face was enough to know this wasn’t one of those dreams.
It seemed like it. The start of one, at least. Driving down an empty road through the woods which seemed to go on forever. The middle of the night. It was so dark. I could only see so far out in front of me or in any direction. It was too dark; I’d never seen a night so dark. Maybe my vision was fading, like my mom’s. Or maybe not. The rays of my car’s headlights were fighting for their lives against being engulfed.
There was all that, and the fact that I was caught in a smothering torrent of rain. That cloud. That menacing cloud seemed to have it out for me all day, chasing me like it had a personal gripe. And now, without the security of daylight, it finally released all of its wrath onto my helpless Civic. You wouldn’t even know my wipers were on; maybe they’d snapped off hours ago under the sheer force of it all. My strategy was to go straight. Straight and slow, and to hope I was still on asphalt.
I pried one sweaty hand from the wheel finger by finger to mess with the radio again, praying for an update on the forecast. Still just static. I tried to curse but my voice broke. Tears intruded on my vision as though I needed more water in the way. I forced my sleeve across my eyes.
On the passenger seat, my phone lit up and hummed a somehow unsettling tone. Andrew was calling. Probably wondering what was holding me up, though with the rain he would likely have guessed. . Driving was never a talent of mine, and in most cases, I’d been able to avoid it altogether. I responded to the shudder that ran through me by blasting the heater, and, without taking my eyes off the little section of road I could still see, fumbled for my phone. As soon as I felt the cool glass of the screen, it slipped into the crack between seats. Because of course it did.
It went on like that for a while, buzzing. The dim light of the screen still peered out from the depth, insisting on being answered.