Over at Quintessential we’ve been doing Flash Fiction week for the past 2 months. It’s been super fun—and challenging! Members in the group post pictures from their cells and I write a quick story to go with the image.
It actually began when I was working on a guest post for Dahlia Donovan’s blog. This is the picture that started it all.
Bringing the tabby back to my apartment was close to the stupidest decision that I’ve made. The cat had snuggled into me in the alley, seeking affection. The camaraderie pulled at my lonely heartstrings, already taught and ready to break. Happily making itself at home, the ungrateful feline darted into a cave-like space of my bookcase, taking its claws to my dog-eared copy of Harry Potter and shredding the dust jacket and knocking everything else down. When I tried to rearrange my mementos, it sat itself on the open pages of my favorite book…and they started glowing.
Want your own mini-story? Flash fiction week is coming up and you’re welcome to join us!
I remember fourth of July’s as a child when fireworks showered down from the sky. Now we get snowflakes. My kids think of those stories like fairy tales, but there was a time when the sky was blue and flowers bloomed in the wide open, instead of being cultivated in greenhouses.
Without a chance to pick up my spoon, he took the dessert and slid it across the table. My mouth gaped as he began devouring my birthday surprise. I didn’t think I could be more shocked with his manners until he picked up the plate and licked it clean. Then he looked at me like I was the crazy one.
“Oh, did you want some?”
“Who knew here were so many different lunch boxes?” she thought, scanning the fridge’s interior for her own. As always, someone had moved it to make room for their own. It wasn’t until she’d found a spot at the table that the dark satin caught her attention. She rolled her eyes. Her coworkers were so sloppy. Who’d been the jerk to spill ketchup on her bag? At least it wasn’t juice or oily salad dressing. Although it annoyed her just as much. She pulled on the zipper to dig in to her…severed hand?
Thirty-seven. That’s the number of times that he stopped in this very spot, pulled out a cigarette, and brooded over his choices. There’d be a thirty-eighth time. Tomorrow. Next week. Next month. He never knew, but the time always came when they didn’t see eye to eye. And that was the problem. They had so much in common that the smallest disagreement turned heated. But he loved her and because of this he couldn’t ever walk away.
“I’m done talking to you about this.”
“Dad, listen to reason,” I pleaded. It only made him walk away faster.
“The same way you you listened to me when you were young? About that older boy? The one who cause so much strife in our home?” he called back without turning his head.
“I married that man!”
“Exactly my point. How dare you do to me the same thing you’ve held over my head for twenty years. You’re not a teenager. You have the experience of a woman.” His footsteps stalled and he turned to face me.
“But your girlfriends is so...Young.”
“And so were you. I haven’t lost my faculties yet. Still know my own mind and can form an opinion without being led like a lamb to the slaughter by a woman you’ve refused to get to know. Perhaps, with the wisdom of age, you’ll grant me the respect that I didn’t give you. Unless you learned nothing. In which case there’s nothing left to say.”
“Duuude, listen. Do you hear it?”
“What? Huh? Oh, it’s just the can opener. Go back to sleep.”
“I can’t I’m too excited. What if she got us somethin’ really good?”
“It’s cat food. Out of a can. If you want something really good you’re going to have to get outside and kill it…And you heard her scream the last time you brought home a mouse.”
“That mouse was sooo tasty.”
“Then why’d you leave half of it on the front mat?”
“I thought you’d like try try it.”
“It’s only ankle-deep water.” I tell myself, taking a tentative step. Short waves lap at my toes cooling the bottoms of my feet, but I can feel the heat rising from my chest, up my neck and creating a slow steam that spreads from my ears to my cheeks. The bright sun is glaring as my vision starts to blur. I feel my body wobble ever so slightly as the sand moves away with the outgoing tide.
“You can do this, Mummy” his small voice encourages while taking my hand.
I know I can do it alone. Yet, I’m glad he’s there watching me face my fears. I don’t want my child to be afraid of the water the way I’d been taught to. He needs to see that there’s nothing in this life he can’t overcome if he sets his mind to it.
“That’s not too far up.” She hiccuped and sat down on the ground, craning her neck to the sky and shading her eyes from the sun. The red wine in the nearly empty glass in her opposite hand sloshed over the rim. This should’ve been my wake-up call that we were too drunk to play truth or dare. But I’d already agreed and accepted her challenge. I hadn’t wanted to tell her any truths. She could've asked me anything—even make me admit to the fact that I thought she was pretty, which would lead us to other dares. Ones that were far more dangerous than climbing a tree.