Five Minutes

#flashfiction #shortstory #bloggersbash #competition

If I’d not taken five minutes, Billy, my eleven-year-old son, would now be dead.

It could have been so different if I hadn’t decided to do what I’d been promising myself to do for the last five years. Just five minutes, that’s all it took.

The world of technology had taken over my life. Like most of the rest of humanity, my head was forever buried in a screen. Morning, noon and night, I couldn’t resist it. If I wasn’t checking my social media accounts or email every five-minutes, I felt like I was missing out. Missing out on a new world! A new world that just five minutes could change.

It was the distant sound of crying coming from Billy’s bedroom that forced me to bring my head up from the screen of my iPad. Why was he awake and sobbing at this ungodly hour?

When the familiar sound of a ‘ping’ came from my iPad, I could feel myself being pulled into the online world again. I’d made the mistake of looking down and seeing the fixed notification on the screen telling me that Rachel, my online mistress, was available.

Aroused by the thought of Rachel, my finger hovered over the Skype button, where I could instantly connect with her, while my ears picked up the sobbing coming from Billy’s room. What should I do? Check-in on Billy, or find out if Rachel’s was wearing that sexy nurses’ uniform and fishnet stockings?

Thank goodness I chose to take those five minutes wisely. You see, if I hadn’t used them to check in on Billy, I’d never have found out that he’d been contemplating suicide. Not only had the death of his mother, five-years earlier, taken him to the edge of a cliff, but my new online world and the neglect it had forced upon him had also taken him there. 

The self-harm images he’d been looking at on his Instagram account were worlds apart from the images I’d been watching when Rachel was online. Ready to blackmail me, she’d had the camera ready to record me that night.

Not only had those five minutes saved the life of my Son, but they’d saved mine, too.

Copyright © 2019 – All rights reserved.

88 thoughts on “Five Minutes

      1. True, but a father who burries himself in tech now probably would have burried himself in the bottle back then. Not any better.

        1. Yes, when you’re hurting yourself it’s hard to remember that others are too.

    1. It seems to be a common way of living these days, Stevie. What really gets me are those you are eating a lovely meal in a restaurant, but are immersed in their phones rather than speaking with one another.

  1. Wow, deep thoughts on this dark story, Hugh and a good reminder we can all write a post using 5. Your third book in the Glimpses series is already collecting I see! I’ll be incubating a post this week while in Hawaii 🌺

    1. Thanks, Terri. From the comments, I think this story deserves a place in any next book. It took some time to come together, but only because I didn’t want to rush it. It was recent news events where I got the ideas for the story from.

      I look forward to reading your blog post.

      Have a lovely time in Hawaii. 🌞

  2. Enthralling til the very end in true Hugh style! Such clever writing Hugh, especially sharing in the dangers of the digital world and life and death. Compelling! And a great number fiver! ❤

    1. Wow! High praise, Debby, thank you so much. When the theme for this year’s competition was set, I had no ideas what to write. Over time, this story came to me, taking much of what was going on in today’s world into account.

  3. Very powerful Hugh … there are often woulda/shoulda/couldas and you covered them perfectly in this post. It’s too bad you can’t enter the competition as it would be a winner for sure.

  4. That was a hard choice, a nurse in fishnet stockings or the son 🙂 Hugh, I did see the funny and serious side of your short story, and yes it is entirely believable!

  5. An extraordinary write Hugh. Another, hopefully to slot into a new book. One of a collection of time maybe. Only a suggestion but *taps nose with forefinger * Remember who suggested it 😂🤣😁

    1. Thanks so much, Ellen. It’s too late for the upcoming book, but it’s certainly something I will consider putting into book number 3. Are you going to enter the competition? If so, I look forward to reading your entry.

      1. I am almost there Hugh, Just one more edit sweep. I am having oodles of problems, facebook blocking any link (5 weeks) from my blog so am a bit despondent. Not one reply from face book as to what I can do to rectify the problem (link not up to community standards). Despite six emails two phone calls. And numerous tricks people suggested. 😕🤐

        1. I’ve been reading all about the Facebook problems. Luckily, I left Facebook two years ago. I see that many users are moving to a new social media platform called MeWe. I’ve had a look at it, but haven’t joined yet.

          Good luck with your entry, Ellen.

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