“Fiction In A Flash Challenge” Week #13

Photo by Michael Dziedzic

Phyllis stared at her grand-parent’s old house. So many memories. Jacks on the porch (Grandma cheated), Hi-Ho! Cherry-O, cards. Grandpap listening to the radio. Her family sitting on the porch talking and laughing. She missed stopping with her friends and Grandma giving them snacks and drinks. Anyone who stopped would be treated with something homemade and a cup of coffee.

Everything had changed after the riots in ‘67. Homes were burnt to the ground. Buildings were vandalized and needed to be torn down. Farms were scourged. Rioters attacked anyone outside, pets, even people trying to get away in cars. It wasn’t safe to leave your house, yet it wasn’t safe to stay.

Local police had their hands full. It took months, but order had been restored. However, nothing was the same. Sadly, her small town suffered a huge loss.

She longed for the happy days she experienced on her Grandma’s porch, sitting around the dining room table at the holidays, laughing in the living room with family. Phyllis needed to go back inside Grandma’s house.

If only—

The hidden key had long since disappeared. The porch that was once so inviting looked as if it would fall apart if a leaf landed on it. Yet the house called to her. Maybe she’d get lucky. Maybe the key fell and would be around here somewhere. She crunched over the dead leaves, making her way to where Grandma always kept the spare key.

A tear rolled down her cheeks as she crossed the yard to look around for the key. How she missed her grandparents. Looking up she said a quick prayer for success and continued to scour the ground for any signs of that key.

Each step made her anxious, getting her hopes up. Phyllis remembered the smell of fresh bread that wafted from the windows, the turkey, sauce, and cookies. Now the only smell was dead leaves and burnt wood. Nothing she wanted to remember.

Finally, she reached the planter. The dead plant reminded her of the riots. Yet she couldn’t explain her feeling of hope. Using a stick, she pushed the dirt around, her hope fading with each push. It wasn’t there. The key was gone. Just as she knew it would be.

Phyllis squatted down, then sat on the ground cross-legged with her head in her hands. She could feel the damp through her jeans. As she pushed the hair from her face, she caught a glimpse of something a few feet to her left. A reflection inside a leaf pile. Her heart beat faster. She stood, brushed the dead leaves off, walked over, and bent down to check it out.

She couldn’t believe it. The missing key. The key to her past. She stood holding it, staring at it. Something didn’t feel right. She’d looked for that key so many times, only to find nothing. Now, when she wanted it so desperately, it appeared?

The Rules:

Each week Soooz features an image and invites you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing.  Maximum word count: 750 words.

Please put your piece (or a link to it) in a comment on Soooz’s blog or email it to her by 4:00 pm EDT on Thursday, August 20.

Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to Soooz’s blog page would be much appreciated.

She will be sharing all entries received, and, her own contribution on her blog beginning on Friday, August 14.


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