His daughter sent him a mobile phone for Christmas, together with instructions on how to turn it on and charge the battery. There was an earplug on a long, fiddly wire to help him hear her, when and if she had a moment.
She called Christmas Day afternoon. ‘Well at least you’ve worked out how to use it Dad. Take it with you up and down the stairs in case you fall. Sorry we can’t be with you again this year, we’ve got such a house-full.’
He found a place for the phone on the arm of his chair, next to his spectacles and pills. He watched the little battery symbol slowly empty of light like the day outside his window.
Steven John’s writing has appeared in Burningword, Bending Genres, Spelk, Fictive Dream, EllipsisZine, Storgy and Best Microfiction 2019, amongst others. He’s won bath Ad Hoc Fiction a record seven times and been nominated for a BIFFY award and the Pushcart Prize. Steven lives in The Cotswolds, England, and is Fiction & Special Features Editor at New Flash Fiction Review.