Flash Fiction

Sandcastle 7.15 ~ You Finish the Story

Calling all writers! I started a story, and I’m looking for guest writers to finish it.

Here’s how it works: visit my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/onthecobblestoneroad/ and comment your number in line. If you aren’t on Facebook and would like to take part, send me an email at sara.a.noe@gmail.com and I will give you a number based on the current Facebook standing. When it’s your turn, add your comment on the blog post itself. Add a sentence, or add a page, however the writing muse moves you.

Some vulgarity is okay, but please keep in mind this is a public blog and the moderator has the right to reject certain material.

Why do it this way? Every comment On The Cobblestone Road has to be approved by the moderator. This is done to protect against spam and malicious comments that have no place on a blog dedicated to creativity. Because comments do not appear immediately after posting, each writer needs to reserve a space to ensure a cohesive story. Don’t forget to proofread before you submit your piece and type your name as you would like it to appear in the “Name” field of the comments section (pseudonyms are acceptable). Your email address is confidential and will not be published. Please be patient after posting; your contribution will not appear until the moderator has approved it. Once approved, the moderator will contact the next writer via Facebook or email.

Here we go!

 


 

Sweat drips from my nose in the summer sun. I lift my shirt to wipe the perspiration and dirt, exposing my stomach to the tempting hint of a half-hearted breeze. The silver maples sigh above me.

A trowel lies in the carnage of weeds ripped mercilessly from their moorings, roots exposed to the heat like withering nerves. I kneel on the flagstones and grip the handle to resume my war.

“Hot day for gardening,” says a man over my shoulder.

I stiffen, grip tightening on the handle as if it were a dagger, not a trowel. “Yeah,” I grunt, glaring at a stubborn dandelion by my knee.

He’s on the other side on the fence. City property. Too bad I can’t tell him to get off my land.

I hear the scratch of his short fingernails raking across the rough stubble on his neck. I bet he still bites his nails when he’s anxious. My own nails are gnawed short, too, “to play the violin,” I’ll say, or “because it’s easier to clean the dirt out after gardening.” You’d think hatred would be enough incentive to quit the bad habit. One less thing connecting us.

I grip the dandelion by its base, pretending it’s his head, and the satisfaction I feel when I tear it out of the ground—whole, intact, like a spinal cord—is unnerving, but I like it.

“How, uh…how have you been?”

“Fine,” I answer. He doesn’t deserve more than one syllable at a time from me. He doesn’t even deserve that much.

“I miss you.”

I drop my victim, leaves already wilting in the sun. I stab the trowel into the soil and rise, wiping my hands on my shorts until they tuck into my back pockets. Finally, I turn to face him for the first time in three years.

 


 

*** All works are fiction. The events, characters, and narrator(s) in flash fiction pieces are not intended to accurately portray any real persons, living or dead. ***

Check out the comments section to see guest writers’ continuations of this flash fiction piece!

 

 

2 thoughts on “Sandcastle 7.15 ~ You Finish the Story

  1. I look into his eyes, ready to attack, ready to unleash the rage in my heart, but I am taken aback by the overwhelming sadness I see there. By the love, and regret, and grief that hits me in the face. It’s all there in his eyes, and all it would take is a kind word from me to offer a bit of comfort. I know now that he speaks the truth. He really does miss me, but I cannot and will not find it in my heart yet to acknowledge it –or him. I make him wait. Because I know he will. Because that’s what fathers do.

  2. He looks old.

    Probably not what I should be thinking right now, but I barely recognize him. Who would have thought three years could weather a face so much? His hair is grey and lackluster, like the smoke from his cigarettes leached out all the color, and his wrinkled skin is tight over his bones. The alcohol did that. His liver has been working in overdrive for decades.

    He rocks back on his heels, still silent, still waiting for me to answer. We both know it’s my turn.

    When I don’t speak, he sighs and slides a carton of Marlboro Red out of his back pocket. He taps the pack. “Don’t,” I say when he opens it.

    We stare each other down. I pinch the bridge of my nose. “Please.”

    I hear him clear his throat as the carton slides back into his pocket. “Sorry.”

    Sorry? Of all the things he has to apologize for, it’s the cigarettes?

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