Flash Fiction: Life/Cycle

As I lie here, immobile, I look back on my life.

The best memories come first: sunshine, a hillside, flying fast, wind whipping through her hair. Her name was Melanie, and we met four years ago.

Melanie, Melanie… She had the most beautiful smile, the softest hands. When we went out, she liked to wear floral skirts that would flip and dance, showing off her well-toned legs. And the places we’d go! She’d always pick me up, and as we rolled out of the garage, she’d take a right or a left, down the tree-lined streets of the neighborhood… Sometimes we’d go to the park, or the bar street, but my favorite days were Sundays, when we’d go to the mountains.

The feeling of dirt in my treads, that fresh mountain air… Yes, I lived for those days. There’s a challenge in it. Sometimes I wasn’t sure we were going to make it to the top, but then Melanie would shift a gear, and we did! We’d stop for a picnic and I’d rest, admiring the view, while Melanie unpacked her sandwiches.

It wasn’t always perfect though. I’ll never forget that day I got a puncture and Melanie forgot the repair kit. She had to push me down the mountain, three hours to the nearest village. But the village repairman did a beautiful job. I never said anything to Melanie, but his patch lasted longer than any of hers.

I could have stayed with Melanie forever. But one day, she popped inside a corner shop for an ice cream—two minutes, in and out, she’d said—and left off the lock. Before I could blink a pair of grubby hands were wheeling me away, tearing down the street like it was nobody’s business. Just before we turned the corner I caught sight of Melanie’s shocked face as she stepped out of the shop, her gentle hands—oh, will I ever feel those hands on my grips again?—curved around an ice-cream.

Then came the dark days. The grubby hands belonged to a man known as Slim. He locked me up in a dank cellar, along with countless other kidnapped brothers and sisters. Some had been in there for years, never taken out, chains never oiled, tires never pumped. We called ourselves the Lost Wheels.

Sometimes a handful of us would get wheeled out into daylight, propped along a fence. Strangers would slink up, Slim would quote them a price, they’d haggle, and then one of us would be taken away. I dreaded one choosing me, for none of those shady people looked half as kind as Melanie.

But I didn’t need to worry. A few weeks after Slim tore me from my home, he was busted. Now I lie here in this heap of junk, waiting, waiting…

Above me something moves. Metallic bodies around me stir, and are lifted into the sky. I too soar upward, slam into the magnet, joints grinding on impact. The giant machine lurches and I don’t like the look of the pit below. It looks like pain, scraped and littered with tiny body parts. We fall, twisted and broken, all sharp angles… waiting, waiting, and then—


This was in response to a Bookworm Writing Group prompt: the main character must die in the course of the piece. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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