This week’s flash fiction has an adult theme.
If I’d not taken five minutes, my eleven-year-old son Billy would now be dead.
It could have been so different if I had not decided to do what I promised myself 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 humanity, I had my head buried in a screen. Morning, noon and night, I couldn’t resist it.
I was missing out if I wasn’t checking my social media accounts or email every five minutes. I was missing out on a new world! A new world that just five minutes could change.
The distant sound of crying coming from Billy’s bedroom 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 notification on the screen telling me that Rachel was online.
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 on Billy, or find out if Rachel wore that sexy nurses’ uniform.
Thank goodness I chose to take those five minutes wisely.
If I hadn’t used them to check in on Billy, I’d never have discovered 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 online were worlds apart from those I’d watched 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 my son’s life, but they’d also saved mine.
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23 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Friday – Five Minutes”
You had me gripped Hugh. Very relevant today.
Good to hear my short story had you gripped. Thanks, Wayne.
Any time Hugh!
That’s a powerful story of two possible terrible outcomes being averted by a good choice. Well done.
Thanks, Norah. Glad you enjoyed it.
Gripping and very thought provoking, Hugh!
Thanks, Becky. Glad you enjoyed it.
Great story, Hugh. One that might have happened in real life somewhere, unfortunately. We all need to spend less time in the virtual world and more time in the real world. I think for a lot of people, social media is an addiction and I won’t be surprised a new disease will be invented soon that has to to do with too much internet time!
I know it’s already happened, Liesbet. Unfortunately, the scammers are there waiting for us to drop our guard. I always shake my head when I visit a bloggers ‘about’ page, and they give their full name, email address and date of birth.
But I agree that we all need to spend less time in the virtual world. I’m grateful that I grew up in a world before technology and social media existed. Like any addiction, online addiction is something that can ruin the lives of people.
Scary story Hugh with two clear messages (at least). How we can miss the signs that someone is contemplating suicide. Its so sad when a young person feels that’s a legitimate answer for them.
Also, the risk not just of losing ourselves on line but how some people we see as friends can be predatory and manipulate and take advantage of people. Rachel and her plans of blackmail – I’ve seen things like that happen to others. The online community can be a very dangerous place sometimes … the scammers are there too
Have a great weekend Hugh. I’m not on holiday this weekend 😒
I’ve been hearing a lot about men and suicide recently, Brenda. Generally, men won’t talk about their feelings. I was shocked and saddened when I heard that the job where most men commit suicide is in construction. It’s also one of biggest killers amongst young men under the age of 24.
The online world has opened a can of worms. Unfortunately, nobody is safe when on there. I’ve had my fair share of trolls visit me here and had to block them.
But the scammers are worse, especially when they take money from those who can least afford to lose money. But then there are those of us who give away so much information online for scammers to scoop up. We have to be very careful what information we give out. I saw that one of the new bloggers you recently introduced on your blog not only gave his full name and email address on his about page, but also his date of birth. That’s almost like giving a complete strange the keys to his house.
You too have a lovely weekend.
Such a powerful message, Hugh! I fear for my grandchildren and great granddaughter! What a world they’ve inherited.
I thank myself so lucky that I was a child before the days of technology, Colleen. Sci-fi stories I’ve read where people have to pay to be able to talk face to face in person socially is something I fear may come true in the future.
Good change, Hugh! It’s a scary thought!
A very sad story Hugh and sadly it’s rather a common one. Thank goodness the father made the right decision…. I hope he learned his lesson!
I’m sure he did, Willow. Well, I like to think so.
We spend far too much time on our devices thinking we’re missing out on something, where as the real problem is that we’re missing out on the real life right in front of our eyes.
Yes Hugh you are so right , it just so relaxing to leave the phone at home and just go out ….. Live in the real world 😄
Wow, Hugh, incredibly compelling. My eyes stung with tears after I read this. As much as we enjoy our online friends, face to face human contact is far better. That means I’ll have to come visit you. 😁Well done! Enjoy your weekend!
I agree, Terri. As a race, we need to get out and about and meet people in person and talk face to face. But the days of social media have cut away much of that for many. Sometimes, I get annoyed with myself that I’ve spent most of the day online or looking at my phone. Then I think back to those days before technology and think how much longer and slower those days were.
Happy weekend. It’s a three day weekend here in the UK, and for once, the sun is shinning and it’s sitting out in the garden temperatures without getting frizzled (low – mid 70s).
Yes! And isn’t every weekend a three day weekend when you’re retired? 🤣
Whenever any of the family say ‘weekend’ to me, I say, ‘weekend? What’s a weekend?’
Food for thought, Hugh and very relevant.
Absolutely in the world of today. Thanks, Cathy.