#FridayFlash: Justice For Cody

This is something new for me. Since I’ve been so busy with the whole indie author dog and pony show, I haven’t had time to work on my latest novel in over a year. But this new thing, flash fiction, has come to my rescue and I’m finding I really like it. Flash fiction is short stories of just a few pages (or less!), and many authors have begun posting them on Fridays. Hence, #FridayFlash.

The brevity of the format makes it feel much more doable than trying to make progess on a novel, and I’m finding the limited space forces tight writing and necessitates focus in a piece. I think it builds and hones skills. As often as time allows I’ll be posting my #FridayFlash here on Publetariat, since people come to my Indie Author Blog to read stuff about self-publishing and indie authorship, not my fiction. So here’s ‘Justice For Cody’. – A


She drifted back into awareness as the voice intoned, “…but we’re afraid your son’s—” the doctor glanced at the chart, “Cody’s vision impairment is permanent.”

“Vision im…you mean the blindness?” she whispered.

“Yes, Mrs. Cortez.”

She didn’t react, just sat there, pale and blank, in shock. After a full minute of uncomfortable silence, Dr. Whaley cleared his throat and motioned for a nurse to take Linda by the elbow. “Mrs. Cortez, Carrie will take you to a private lounge where you can lie down and rest for a while. Is there anyone you’d like us to call?”

“My husband,” she mumbled.

Two long, blurry days later, Linda and her husband sat at the breakfast table in their small apartment. Linda slapped the Formica surface hard with an open palm and raged, “No, Rafael! Paying the medical expenses is the least of this, our son is blind! He will be blind forever!” She stood up and paced the room as she became desperately businesslike. “He’ll have to quit Little League, and you know how he loves it. Then there’s karate, I don’t see how he can keep going to karate. The fun run in May, he’ll have to withdraw.”

Rafael grabbed her by the shoulders, forcing her to stop her frantic movements and thinking. “Linda, please. Forget about all of that for now, none of it matters. What Cody needs most right now is both of us, and his best friend.”

Linda’s eyes narrowed and her jaw clenched. “A proper best friend wouldn’t have made him do anything so dangerous. I never liked that Steven, I never trusted him!”

Rafael pulled her firm to his chest. “Shhh! You know that’s not true. We both love Steven as much as Cody does; he’s a good boy. It was an accident.”

“No!” she shrieked, and Rafael hugged her tighter. She buried her tears in his chest. “Don’t you care? Don’t you want…justice for Cody?” she whimpered.

“Baby, there is no justice for Cody. This is nobody’s fault.”

Linda yanked herself back from him and fixed him with a hateful stare. “You can give up on our son, but I never will.” She grabbed her purse and stalked out, leaving Rafael to gaze out the window. And feel guilty for being able to do it.

It took weeks to find the right attorney, but at last Linda was satisfied the Lynch boy’s family would pay and pay dearly for what their son had done to hers. She knew Steven’s mother would be bringing him to visit Cody at 4pm today, as she did every day right after school at Steven’s insistence. All of this Linda had learned from Rafael, having successfully avoided running into those awful Lynches herself during visiting hours.

Linda clutched the papers in her hand as her heels clicked curtly on the tiled hospital floor; she was looking forward to seeing the reaction on Debbie Lynch’s face. Rafael’s ultimatum sprang to mind one last time like a warning bell, but she shoved it aside. If Rafael didn’t want to do right by his only son, then she didn’t want to stay married to him, either.

She took a deep breath and threw the door open. “Debra,” she said, flatly.

Steven rushed up to her, shoving brochures and papers up toward her face. “Mrs. Cortez? I been learning about all the things to help Cody—well, my Mom helped me look on the internet…” At this, Linda shot a glance at Debbie, who averted her reddened eyes and lifted a Kleenex to her nose.

“—an’ I found out there’s this special school for the blind right here in Austin, an’ I got this application for a seeing eye dog an’ my mom and dad said it’s even okay if I wanna raise a puppy to be Cody’s seeing eye dog, an’ I can help Cody learn his way around the neighborhood till then, an’ I’ll walk him anywhere he wants to go, an’…an’ I’ll….” he burst into tears and threw his arms around her hips.

“Mom?” Cody’s small voice called from the bed, his bandaged head swimming to try and locate the sound. “Is Steve okay?”
Linda’s hand curled into a fist, crumpling the papers. She weighed them for a moment before tossing them in the wastebasket. She put a hand down to stroke Steven’s head. “Yes, honey,” she said. “Steven’s just fine.”