Hello everyone and a warm welcome to Part 1) of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #13.
Today I’m featuring contributions from entry 1)By John Howell and Entry 2) My own contribution.
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.
ENTRY 1) One line contribution by John Howell.
“So give me the key, Richard, and keep an eye out for that giant Python while I open the chest.”
John Howell can be reached here …
Visit at Amazon.https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell
Entry 2) My Own Contribution.
If ever I would leave you.
Annie stood on her front porch gazing out at the pouring rain, she sighed and resigned herself to forgoing her walk this morning. Then she smiled and reminded herself that she still had plenty to do in the kitchen before the family arrived.
She lit a welcoming fire in the sitting room, enjoyed two cups of coffee in front of it, then dressed and pulled on her favorite apron.
The sounds of the cars coming up the long drive a few hours later had her hustling out onto the porch to greet them.
Her two boys pulled her into their bear hugs and her daughters in law smiled on and gave her their own loving greeting.
“C’mon in out of this cold, my darlings. Lunch won’t be too long, grab yourselves a freshly brewed coffee and sit by the fire.”
Her twin grandsons gave her a smile, “Do we have time to go down by the lake, Grandma?”
“There’s always time to do that. So long as your folks are happy with it. But you’ll need your gumboots it’s a might muddy out there.”
The boys pleaded successfully, and their father told them to be back inside half an hour.
Annie lovingly declined all the offers of help in the kitchen, and her sons and their wives settled down to talk comfortably in the living room.
Thirteen-year-olds Thomas and Travis skipped stones across the lake, happy as always to be in each other’s company. Travis looked at his watch, “We need to head on back, don’t want dad havin’ to come get us again.”
His brother grinned at him and said something, but Travis was distracted, “Hey, what’s this?” He said as he stooped to pick up the shiny gold key. “I think this belongs to Grandma.”
His brother nodded, “She must have dropped it on her daily walk. Let’s get back. I’m betting she doesn’t even know she’s lost it.”
The boys went in through the mudroom, removed their gumboots, and entered the kitchen, “Hey, Grandma. We found this down by the lake. You must have dropped it this morning.”
Annie smiled at them and shook her head, “But I didn’t go on …” She stopped mid-sentence as she recognized what Travis was holding out to her. She reached for it and held it without speaking.
Thomas glanced at her with a worried frown, “You’re not gonna cry are you, Grandma?”
She sniffled as she responded “Oh, no, my darlings. I’ve been peeling onions. Thank you for returning this to me, now scoot and wash up ready for lunch.”
The adults were laughing with pleasure as the men shared memories of their escapades here at the lake house with wives who smiled on indulgently as though they hadn’t heard the stories before.
Daniel stopped laughing and turned toward the kitchen. He put a finger to his lips and whispered, “Hush … Listen.”
Annie’s sweet soprano voice carried out to the room as she sang.
Daniel felt his throat constrict with tears, “Oh, God. She’s singing. I haven’t heard mom sing like that since dad passed. I believed I’d never hear it again. This is a good day.” The smile lit up his face.
The hours that followed were joyous and it was late when the sleeping boys were roused, and everyone headed off for home.
Daniel kissed his mother’s cheek, “I’ll call you tomorrow, mom. It’s been so great today. Thank you.”
Annie gave them all a hug and waved her farewells from the porch.
She inhaled deeply and finally removed the key from her pocket.
She climbed the stairs to her bedroom, lit the fire, then slowly walked across to the dresser, and removed the ornate box from its safe place. Henry had given her this on their wedding day, ‘We each hold the key to the other’s hearts safe in our keeping, my darling.” He’d said.
Annie held her breath as she opened the box. One gold key lay in its red velvet place, but the space beside it was empty. Henry had been carrying his key on a chain around his neck as he’d done for forty years. He was wearing it when he left the house on the day he passed. Annie had searched for it everywhere and hadn’t been able to find it.
Her hands shook a little as she lovingly replaced the key alongside her own where it belonged.
The record player beckoned, she removed the old LP, cleaned it, and gently placed the needle down on the track she wanted. They’d danced to this at their wedding. The haunting sounds of ‘If ever I would leave you’ from Camelot lit her face with a sweet sad smile. Henry was right here still watching over her. Today had indeed been a good day.
As so often happens with these prompts for me, the image conjures music I haven’t heard in a very long time. I enjoyed hearing this again. I hope you enjoy it too.
Thanks so much for joining me here today. I look forward to seeing your comments.
I may be reached here …