A Goal for a Soul

Posted: October 7, 2011 in #fridayflash, Short stories

Zak scored only two minutes into the first game of the season. His ten year old team mates jumped in the air fists first, whilst their coach screamed from the sideline “That’s the way boys, that’s the way Tiverton play!”

It wasn’t the ideal day to play football, light ribbons of rain falling on the boys and the pitch, but any day was a great day for football in their eyes. Zak had a purpose today, so the determination fuelled his bones like a coal fire at the heart of a steam engine.

The cameras were on him. The need to achieve had no room for failure in this match. Zak’s facial expressions seemed stern and yet focused, his eyes darting around the pitch and following the balls every move. His team knew how much this match meant to Zak and tried their hardest to pass him the ball and then watch the magic happen. His feet would guide the ball as he sprinted towards the goal, delicate yet controlled, his feet almost mimicking the Irish dancers as they danced by the River.

“Goal”, screamed the coach, “Zak you beauty!”

* * *

As he pressed play on the DVD player, the television screen went from static snow to a green soggy field a wash with ten year old boys pointing and yelling to one another. Two minutes into the match the red coloured shirts all screamed his name “ZAK!!!”. He smiled and squeezed his dad’s hand.

The hospital room smelt humorously familiar. Like the time his dad spilt aftershave onto his mums cleaning cloth in the bathroom, announcing a new cleaning smell that wasn’t boring citrus or girly flowers.

The match had finished and the TV screen returned to a blizzard. Zak looked at his dad who was motionless in the bed. One day he’d wake up and Zak could show him these DVDs of the times he’d missed. Zak’s football; Chloe’s first steps; the birthday party the four of them had around his bedside whilst he lay in the coma.

Zak got on his hands and knees to take the DVD from the machine. As he placed it into its protective sleeve, the equipment above him began to beep, he looked up at the screens next to his dads bed. Each computer screen began shouting ferociously at each other, as they began to flat-line. Now he was the one who was motionless and unable to breathe.

As he scrambled to his feet, his heart beating faster than any football match he’d been in, he was met by his dad’s face.
“Zak…” he smiled, pulling the remaining wires from his chest.

  1. John Wiswell says:

    Heartful work, Haze. Pun unintended, but embraced. The desire to share and remember with one’s loved ones is a great motivation.

    Caught a few errors for you:
    -Minor typo in the first paragraph: quote doesn’t begin with a capitalization
    -Third from last paragraph, should be “breathe”
    -Second from last paragraph, should be “dad’s”

  2. Helen says:

    Oh wonderful story that had me smiling very broadly at the end. Good job! As a first starting reading this I thought perhaps the boy was ill so to find out his dad was was a complete surprise, I never anticipated that turn. You told the story very well indeed. ^_^

  3. I wondered why they were being filmed, and certainly didn’t expect it to turn out like that. A father’s pride in his son’s achievements is not to be underrated.

  4. Sonia Lal says:

    Great story, pretty emotional. (At least for me!) Didn’t really expect that last part, but I suppose you never do.

  5. akweelife says:

    Oh, that’s a great story. I just knew I had the sad ending figured out. Whew! You got me good on that one. Most excellent. Thank you.

  6. Icy Sedgwick says:

    I really liked this. It’s touching and sweet.

  7. FARfetched says:

    I’m with the others — the twist was very well-executed, I was expecting Zak to be the one in the hospital bed. Good job making us care so much about the characters in such a short piece!

  8. Nice story, lovely connection between father and son. Really liked that ending.

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