Hello everyone and a warm welcome to PART 3) of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge 2021. Week #31.
Today I’m featuring a contribution by Harmony Kent.
I set the following Challenge:
Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting 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.
Here is the image prompt and Harmony’s Contribution.
Beacon in the Dark
The snow lays pristine, virgin. The heavy silence holds. The whole world wrapped in a blanket of cold and desolation. Or is that just my heart?
The twin swings hang limp and lonely.
Mocking my empty arms.
Then … a creak. Soft and barely there. My eyes shoot to the play area. But nothing has changed.
Now, the gleeful cry of a child flying high … higher than she’s ever swung before. Am I hearing things? Have I, at last, lost my feeble mind? I blink back the tears and fold my arms to ward off the cold … the horror.
I shouldn’t have come back here.
It’s a mistake.
Gently, the empty swings rock and creak in a breeze … that isn’t there.
Footprints dimple the snow.
Leather shows through a circular thaw—the perfect size for a young girl’s bottom. And the second seat copies its twin. As in life, so in death. Tears stream and sting down my icy skin. Even in my disbelief, my heart warms. Thaws.
Can it be?
Have my dear departed come back to me?
At some point, I find myself on my knees, half-sunk into the soft snow. My bones ache in tandem with the throb of my hurt heart. My thin nightdress clings to my chill-damp flesh. The daylight fades to grey, and a harsh downdraft promises another blizzard. The dead place inside my ribcage calls for the whiteout that the storm will bring. A clean slate … if only I could forget. But, no, how could I ever wish for my memories of you to fade? Oh, such sweet anguish to have known you—loved you—for four glorious years.
Full dark descends, and the snow glistens and glisters in the glow of the pregnant moon. A small hand slips into my left palm, and another on the right. I tighten my grip and hold those tiny fingers. Somewhere in the trees an owl hoots. Effortless now, I rise to my feet and wade through the deep snow, headed toward the woods.
Had I cared to look, I would have seen one set of footprints, not three.
A fresh blizzard buffets and blows. And then …
Behind, the snow lays pristine once more. The heavy silence holds, cocooned in the eye of the storm. The swings stand still, weighted with weather and sorrow.
At the tree line, a hand settles onto my shoulder. Heavy. Warm. The pressure halts my progress. A second hand joins the first, and together, they turn me to face my husband. Jack looks stricken—panicked. Then his gorgeous smile crinkles his mouth and eyes and he pulls me into his arms. Lips buried in my hair, he murmurs, ‘Come home. It will all feel better tomorrow.’
Lost in the wilderness of grief, I cling to my beacon in the dark and let him lead me home.
© Harmony Kent 2021
CONTACT HARMONY HERE …
Harmony’s Amazon Author Page: author.to/HarmonysBooks
Goodreads: Author Page
I can be reached here …
Thanks so much for stopping by! I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’ll be posting further entries as they are received.