Flash Fiction – Beep

Beep

Sensible footwear squeaked across the hospital floor. Through the open doorway James could see a shadow drawing closer, a block of darkness in the brightly lit corridor. He tightened the covers around himself and turned away, he was supposed to be asleep anyway. The footsteps stopped for a short while and James had to strain his ears to hear the soft steps as the wanderer entered the room. He closed his eyes and feigned sleep but the footsteps still drew nearer. When they stopped, James had no way of knowing if they were stood over him, watching him. The rattle of hands adjusting a drip was a a familiar sound for James, a safe one. He relaxed and sunk further into the bed, further under the covers and eventually into slumber.

Busy noises and bright lights woke James the next morning. He turned to the activity and his wary mind tried to process the frenzy of nurses and doctors. People shouting, frantic working, and then it was over. The drawl of a monotone beep that announced the end of a life. Selfishly, James thought about himself in that time, contemplating when the big beep would sound for him. His gaze managed to fall in line with a young nurse who hovered over his deceased neighbor. They locked eyes for less than a second, and to James this meant nothing. To her, it sparked paranoia. This would lead to tough decisions been made in the early hours of the night, and a plan. James didn’t hear the footsteps a few nights later.

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