Friday Flash Fiction
This was written for a writing course around 4 years ago... hope you enjoy.
Juliana hummed a melody she had recently played at her first professional concert. Stored safely below with the luggage was her cherished violin. Regular practise was expected. The drone of the bus sent her into a trancelike state. How hard she’d worked, how kind her grandparents had been and how exciting the next chapter of her life would be. Playing in the Queensland Symphony Orchestra was now just a couple of weeks away.
Suddenly a loud sound shocked Juliana. Was that a gun? She quickly glanced around. The bus jumped, skidded, and tipped, landing on its side, smashing the windows on the loose gravel. Shaken and bruised Juliana stood on the side of the chair and felt physically sick. The sight of bloody and broken bodies was horrific.
‘Here let me help you, my name is Juan’, a young, tall man reached for Juliana’s hand.
‘What happened?’ Juliana asked.
‘I think a tyre may have blown. What’s your emergency number?’ Juan asked.
‘What?’ she was thinking of only her violin.
‘I’ve only been in Australia one week. How do we get an ambulance, you know?’ Juan asked.
‘It’s 000, but hang on, we’re remote here. What’s it from mobiles? It might be 112, or is it 122? Hey, could you give me a hand to get my luggage?’ asked Juliana.
Juan noticed Juliana was dazed but distracted.
‘Hey mate, you help the young lady and I’ll call emergency’, a middle aged man climbed over the seats toward them.
‘Thanks,’ Juliana found a half smile.
‘What’s so important in the luggage?’ Juan kicked out the back emergency window and lifted her through.
‘My violin, I just need to check if it’s OK’. Juliana pulled at the luggage compartment.
‘Do you have knowledge of first aid skills?’ Juan asked Juliana. ‘I really should get back inside, a lot of people seem to be in a lot of pain.’
‘Uhhrrrgh’ Juliana vomited onto the dusty road then continued to climb up to the luggage door. The door was jammed, she threw a glance at her newfound acquaintance wishing he’d either help her or go away.
‘Oh shame, come, sit down here in the shade. You right?’ Juan guided her.
‘No! You don’t understand, my violin is my life! You have to help me find it’. She shook his arm off her shoulder.
‘Just a minute, I think it’s you who doesn’t understand. We’ve been in an accident. You’re in shock, you need to sit down’.
Juliana’s teeth were clench as she hissed, ‘What I need is my violin’. Her face pale and eyes narrowed.
‘Are you out of this world? There are injured people here and all you want is your stupid replaceable instrument.’ Juan glared past her, his face tense with frustration.
Juliana fell to her knees and cried. She had first aid training and knew she could help but felt paralysed by the need to hold her violin like a child would hold a teddy for comfort. Her whole body shook, sobbing uncontrollably. Juan wrapped his strong arms around her.
After a couple of minutes she lifted her head. Her cheeks streaked with mascara, nose red and dripping. She instantly felt foolish and felt the colour rising from her neck to her cheeks. The man holding her was strong and incredibly good looking. Feeling vulnerable she wriggled out of his arms and pulled at the luggage door again.
‘I know you don’t understand, but I really need your help to get into there. I just need to see my violin and then I’ll be OK’.
‘I think you should sit down. Your whole body is shaking with shock. I’ll have a look for your instrument’. Juan lifted the luggage door with little effort. He climbed in and found a violin case under a mountain of suitcases.
‘That’s it, thank you, thank you so much’, Juliana eagerly snatched her violin from him.
She climbed down to a shaded spot beside the bus and sat hugging the case until she realised Juan stood close by watching her. Juliana opened the case. Gently holding it, looking at it from every angle, the violin was in perfect condition. Again she hugged it and gentle tears rolled down her cheeks.
‘It obviously means a lot to you’. Juan had been watching from the luggage door.
‘More than I can tell you’. Juliana carefully placed her instrument in the case and closed the clasps.
‘Juan? Was that your name? There’s a bunch of people in there that need our help. What are you doing out here?’ Juliana walked around the bus until she found a safe entry point.
‘Ah… yeah, let’s get to it then.’ Juan looked from Juliana and back to the violin case and shook his head.