A fly landed on the skin of Tony’s bare arm, ran forward and then stopped, rubbing its legs together. It was iridescent green, the ones that land on dog dirt. Corpse flies. How he’d enjoyed splatting them, ending their buzzing vitality. Doing them a favour, he’d thought, helping them on the karma train. No more crap and corpses.
The fly watched him, smiling.
He’d wanted to come here, had told everyone who’d listen, Andrea, his sons, but now he’d do anything to be somewhere else.
He could hear her, voice low and gentle, somewhere close. No longer nagging, telling him to stop smoking, stop drinking. It’ll give you a stroke, a heart attack. Yes, he’d told her, good! He didn’t want to end up like her grandmother, a gnarled remnant, plagued by pain and trapped in a body that no longer obeyed. He wanted to be like his grandfather, dead at seventy-five. He’d been found lying at attention having set out on a five-mile walk.
Cheerio! Get out while the going was good…
He’d wanted to come here, had formalised it, written a letter saying this was what he wanted, but now it was actually happening he realised what a terrible mistake he’d made.
For six months he’d been trying to tell them, to stop their planning. But nothing worked.
He didn’t want to go through that door, he didn’t want the needle.
The door swung open. A nurse appeared, smiling.
The fly flew. He would be back.
Matthew Roy Davey lives in Bristol, England. He has won the Dark Tales and The Observer short story competitions and been long-listed for the Bath Flash Fiction award and the Reflex Flash Fiction competition. He has recently been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His short story ‘Waving at Trains’ has been translated into Mandarin and Slovenian. Matthew is also an occasional lyricist for prog-rock weirdos Schnauser. He has no hobbies.