Hello everyone and a warm welcome to Part 1) of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #15.
Today I’m featuring contributions from entry 1)By John Howell and Entry 2) My own contribution.
This is the 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.
This ONE-LINE Contribution by John Howell.
John Howell can be reached here …
Visit at Amazon.https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell
The Pulse of The City
Virginia Alden briefed her camera crew, downed her third cup of coffee, and began her morning.
The live show began. She started walking through each of the broken, damaged, and abandoned rooms of what once was a neat four-bedroom home in a family-friendly neighborhood.
She spoke into the camera. “Good morning, and welcome to this week’s edition of The ‘Pulse Of The City’ Let’s begin today’s journey in the sitting room. This room would have born silent witness to most of the dreams and plans of three generations of the one family that lived here. Living with mutual love inside what once were warm and comforting walls. This room now lay bent and broken by layers of decay and the odor of rotting ideals.
This house once expanded with all the warmth of its occupiers. There was once laughter shared here until the world beyond their safe barricades intruded.”
She moved through into the kitchen, “The aroma of joy still lingers in a room that saw over thirty Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts being prepared with care and love within its boundaries. The grandfather always carved the turkey. He had been such a proud and positive man. He’d taught his children and grandchildren the gift of patience. He’d prayed that he’d also taught them how to be resilient. He doted on all of them and loved spoiling his young granddaughter. But the lessons counted for nothing when two of his grandsons went off to serve their country on far off foreign soil. One returned emotionally shattered and the other came home in a flag-draped coffin. The outspoken voice of the grandfather fell silent.”
Virginia inhaled deeply and walked up the stairs.
“The master-bedroom ceased being a place of soft whispers shared in the night. It became a battleground, as a man destroyed by the loss of his youngest son began diving into a bottle of whiskey. Until his only coherent thoughts centered on where his next drink was coming from. The woman who’d born him those children held on for as long as she could. She began working two jobs in an attempt to hold what remained of their family together. The bank foreclosed on their overdue mortgage. It finally broke her spirit.”
The camera revealed the sadness now exposed on Virginia’s expressive face as she continued walking along the upstairs hallway. “This small bathroom was busy in those early days, the daughter was always given her way on those far away mornings, her brothers giving in to their kid sister’s sweet smile and granting her first access. The death of her older brother seemed to make the bathroom almost redundant for a father too drunk to care about hygiene, and one surviving sibling who could no longer bear to look at his own unclothed and damaged body.”
She pulled herself together and the crew readied themselves as she walked through a small hallway and out to the yard.
“Here in the corner is where the bodies of all the pets that had shared their loyalty and love with the family are buried. And over this way is where the pergola once stood with ferns sheltered from the hot summer sun, the family had sat here in the shade and drank down the sweet homemade lemonade the mother was so proud of.”
Virginia cleared her throat, “Let’s take this back inside to the living room, folks.”
She looked directly into the camera.
“And now, on a personal note. So many of our viewers have commented on the excellent research apparent in all our shows. Please know, I had no need to research this show, for this house was my family home. This was the home I grew up in. It’s such an easy thing to pass judgment and affix convenient labels to people we’ve never met. Perhaps we all need to ask ourselves what would happen if we had to walk a mile in their shoes. Would your own hopes and dreams remain intact? My dreams did. I have just purchased the house back and I will rebuild it in loving memory of the people that once shared its walls. This will be my new home and my dreams will grow within it.”
“I am Virginia Alden, and this has been “Pulse of The City’ I thank you for joining me.
The scene grew silent as the director called cut. Virginia walked back through the house to stand in quiet reflection as the echoes from the past wrapped themselves like a blanket around her. She smiled as she cried.
Thanks so much for joining me here today. I look forward to seeing your comments.
I may be reached here …