Another weekly flash fiction prompt exercise; this time from  The prompt is from You Tube, a short video of Jacqueline du Pre playing a piece from Elgar (Cello Concerto – 1st Movement).


My world is in total darkness, except for a warm light above me.  I am a tiny atom, like a speck on the second hand of a gigantic vertical clock.  The light above me is at twelve o’clock and as I circle beneath it, the light grows alternately warmer as I move upwards towards it and cooler as I drop away from it.

Gradually, I realise that I’m in some kind of torment, but can’t begin to articulate why or how.  It’s the pure sensation of an indescribable and hitherto unknown throbbing agony.  As I circle to reach the top of the clock-face, directly beneath the light, the agony peaks to an unbearable crescendo.  I try to scream out but no sound emerges.  I try to struggle but I’m completely immobilised.

Then there is a short respite, during which my whole essence pulsates with the after-glow of the torment.   Is it over?  No, it begins again.

This must be a dream.  A dreadful nightmare of the worst possible kind.  Nothing in my life has ever prepared me for such an experience.  Never have I dreamed of an unremitting agony like this, and yet still I can’t describe what or from where the pain originates, only that it continues relentlessly.

I try to rouse myself out of this nightmare, as I have sometimes done in the past, but my efforts are in vain.  This must, then, be reality but such a reality as I have never before in my life experienced or could have ever conceived of.

Even in my dreamlike state my mind still reasons and functions perfectly.  There’s an overwhelming sense of betrayal, a sense that all my life I’ve been led to believe in the existence of a general fairness, a humanity, a mercy and that now, in the midst of all this torture. I must come to terms with the fact that I have been most dreadfully misled.

There is, my mind screams out in dawning realisation, no God after all!

And then gradually the darkness fades to grey, the light above me grows brighter and the agony begins to fade to a dull reverberating ache.  I can make out shapes all around me, and realise that there are faces above me, concerned and nervous faces.

People are holding me down but as I surface from the darkness, they tentatively release me and stand back, clearly shaken.  The room is full of strangers.   Where have they all come from?

The dental surgery is strewn with broken glass.  Instruments are lying on the floor, a man in the corner is holding a pad to his bleeding nose, and the dentist’s glasses are cracked and askew on his pointed nose.  The freckles on the nurse’s face stand out in bold relief against her ashen face, looking for all the world like a bad case of the measles.  With a hand that shakes she passes me a glass of pink water and motions to the sink beside my chair.

‘My God’ says the dentist, rubbing his face and examining the damage to his spectacles, ‘I’ve read somewhere that red-heads need more anaesthetic than others.  That was a revelation.”

“It certainly was,” I mumble, spitting blood into the bowl.

About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
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15 Responses to Revelation

  1. Quill Shiv says:

    HAHA! I just read that article last week! What a wonderful way to tie it into the music. And the ethereal tone of the clip (this is not the entirety of the first movement.) I loved the humor at the end.


  2. TheOthers1 says:

    As an OB nurse, I know that red heads have a tendency to bleed more as well.

    I was reading this with a sense of foreboding that was unbelievable. I was thinking, “Oh, no. What’s going to come of this?” Then I got to end and breathed a sigh of relief. Worst dental experience ever. Well done! You really lead me down a path with this one.


  3. Sandra says:

    Thanks for commenting. This was based on a horrific dental session when I was in my teens and having three teeth removed for orthodontic reasons. At that time I don’t think it was well-known that redheads are anaesthesia-resistant, it only emerged some years later. 😦 You can imagine how I feel about a visit to the dentist now ..


  4. a.m. murphy says:

    Wow, great story. The way you described how she felt when she was unconscious was masterful. I felt the tone shifted at the end in a way that didn’t quite work for me (though it’s interesting to learn that info about redheads). I was fully invested in the dark, somber world where the story began, and I would have liked it if the resolution honored that place a little bit more.

    My contribution is here:


    • Sandra says:

      Thanks for commenting. Somehow I just felt it needed lightening up, and I’m not sure how I could have resolved it otherwise. Maybe I’ll have a think about that – some other way to conclude. Is that the correct link by the way, I seem to be going around in a loop with that …


      • a.m. murphy says:

        I think “coming to in the dentist’s office” is a lightening up, in and of itself. It just got a little TOO light to work for me. But it’s your story, so ultimately you are the best judge, of course!


  5. miq says:

    Hahahaha! This was incredible. My fiance is a red head, and he always, always, ALWAYS talks about this strange affliction.


  6. lauraj684 says:

    That was an awesome ending! The description of the torture made me think of the afterlife punishments in Greek mythology, and that was a great juxtaposition with the reality; not that the dentist isn’t bad but perhaps not on a par with having your liver pecked out every day!


  7. Fantastic twist! this was great fun – although the description at the start really had me wincing. Really took to despair and back again. It’s very easy to mistake a trip to the dentist for some sort of classical eternal punishment. Or at least a circle of Dante’s Hell. Clever writing, liked this interpretation a lot.

    My entry is here: I’m finally catching up with these!


  8. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Sandra,

    What a wonderful story. This from someone resistant to the anasthesia of bloggers in general. Thanks for writing well enough to get me past the initial ‘pinch’. I loved it.




  9. Sandra says:

    Thanks for commenting Doug. Hope it didn’t bring back painful memories! 🙂


I'd love to hear your views; it reassures me I'm not talking to myself.

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