Hello everyone and a warm welcome to Entry PART 4) for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge 2021” Week #42.
Today I’m featuring a contribution by Daniel F L Endicott.
Last week 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 the contribution.
Silence followed, as even the clock stopped ticking. “I’m afraid it is,” the doctor told those gathered. Silence remained just a moment longer, just until the mother’s sob broke free from the binds that had strained to keep it in her chest. It was the first of many that would fill the room as the finality was shared.
“What does that mean,” little Tabbitina asked. She pulled her mother’s skirt, but the woman was nowhere close to conversation. She could only look down at her youngest, through tear-filled eyes, and shake her head. The child still held confusion, incapable of understanding, so she asked the others in the room, “What does that mean?”
An aunt she’d never met before, responded, “She’s gone.”
There was a wail from the child’s mother.
But the youngest girl did not believe what they were telling her. She could not accept what they had said. Tabbitina crossed the room to stand beside her sleeping sister. She lifted her sister’s hand – still warm, still pliant – and raised it to her lips, and kissed her sister’s fingers: Five fingers, and they weren’t ticking – just what she expected.
Those watching viewed it as a tender moment. Those gathered in the room and even the doctor felt a pinch against their hearts, as they watched the young girl tenderly bid farewell to her older sister. What they weren’t expecting, is that when Tabbitina raised her eyes to meet their own – she started laughing.
She was shushed, of course, scolded – her name was harshly called. But the young girl only laughed more. Her Uncle Duncan finally took her from the room.
He led her downstairs and shared stern words, of the like, “That’s your sister. Show some,” and there he had to slightly pause to check himself, but thus, emphasized more thoroughly, “Respect.”
He was answered with, “That’s stupid.” And he didn’t bother listening to what more of that would follow, only told her, “Keep yourself right there, and don’t come back upstairs.”
Tabbitina did go back up the stairs, but she didn’t go directly to her sister’s room. She tip-toed down the hallway, towards its conclusion where there was a small, but tall display table, which had a mirror that extended from the back. That was not of interest, but what was on it was: A silent clock, and like her sister, no longer moving.
The young girl ran her fingers along the gold-leaf trim, and like her sister’s fingers, kissed five roses that were on the face of it, as she lifted it, and she began to turn the key that wasn’t turned just prior to her parents screams. She pulled her dress up to polish off the fingerprints and mars of lips, after replacing it upon the table-top, and then she flicked the pendulum with her middle finger, to set it back in motion.
That finger remained extended. That finger stayed out as she imagined raising it to her uncle’s face, the doctor’s words – mostly to her sister. It stayed that way until she heard the gasps, until yelps escaped, and tears were shed again – brought on by emotions that were different than before. Framed in her sister’s doorway, that finger joined the others to form a fist, used to draw attention with a knock against the jamb. A sharp rap to draw a pair of eyes to Tabbitina.
It was not intended for those that heard and turned back toward her, most of whom presumed she needed to come in further to see the miracle that happened. It was not intended for her mother who was on her knees, grasping the hands of her eldest daughter. It was for the eldest daughter.
Tabbitina looked into the room with a look that formed by competition between hostility and irritation. She made sure her sister had her eyes upon her as she asked her with an anger, “Do you know what time it is?”