Flash Fiction: White-out


Petersen tensed, peering. The headlights showed snow coming down thick and two feet of white road. He felt the wheels skate, and he braked without thinking. Beside him, Julius slammed his hands against the dashboard and swore, while the car turned in a circle, graceful even in its gliding. And then a hard, heavy lurch forwards into a ditch.
‘Christ, oh Christ,’ Julius cried.
‘It’s alright,’ Petersen said. Calmness he’d feigned for so long he almost believed it.
‘We’ll be too late!’
‘We’ll walk.’ Petersen took his doctor’s bag from the back seat and clambered out into the storm.


This is a 100-word flash fiction, inspired by the picture, provided by Dale Rogerson. Click here to join in and read others’ stories.


This week my second novel, Swimming Lessons, was selected by YOU Magazine in the UK as their Reading Group book. Click here to buy it at a discount, to see some book club questions, and to read an exclusive piece by me about what’s true and what isn’t in the novel.

44 thoughts on “Flash Fiction: White-out

  1. Beautiful piece Claire, as always. Such effortless, unshowy prose , and the hint of the story we long to know. I look forward to reading more of your writing – have ordered Swimming Lessons – will be waiting for me back in London later this week.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So much left for us to question and complete – it’s great! This is really lovely writing – ‘…graceful even in its gliding’ is particularly nice. You set the tension brilliantly.


  3. Oops, I messed up. Second sentence should read “A single rather trivial incident serves as the plot, with the surrounding circumstances and characters turning it into a gripping narrative.”


  4. What a great description: feigned calm, stressed passenger, sense of urgency and… and?

    I did a beautiful 360 once… ended up exactly where I had started. And on another, it was black ice, extremely graceful as I slid ever so gently into the ditch. A thing of beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You captured the tension of driving in the snow. I could feel my own hands clenching the steering wheel. And “We’ll be too late” is a cliffhanger that makes me want to know more. Congratulations on Swimming Lessons being selected! What an honor!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love lots of things about this – some of them simply highly personal to me! The inevitability of the crash is lovely as is Peterson’s character. I was reminded of the opening (openings) of Life after Life – snow is a great plot device for lateness, changes of direction.
    A few comments mentioned a baby. I was born on a snow-drizzle evening. The doctor and midwife were stuck in early evening suburban traffic in their respective cars and the assistant mid-wife arrived on her bike to deliver me (thus depriving my Dad of that duty). It was her first independent delivery and she was well chuffed. Mum was quite pleased too!


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