Welcome to a piece of Wednesday Word’s flash fiction on Darkling Dreams!
A good friend of mine, P.T. Wyant, is doing a blog post every Wednesday called Wednesday Words with a new prompt for a bit of flash fiction writing, just to get in the habit of writing something, anything. (Even if said flash fiction is complete garbage at the time. Garbage is better than nothing though, right?) If you’re looking for some inspiration yourself or just something to aimlessly write, then go check out her blog for this week’s prompt!
With that being said, I am going to share what I came up with for this week’s flash fiction Shard based off an occurence prompt. So here is my very rough around the edges minute of inspiration based off her prompt. I’d love to hear what you guys think of it!
(Please excuse any errors you may see, I said it was rough around the edges.)
Windows of Life
“Mom! I’m home,” I called through the house as I shut the front door. I didn’t exactly expect an answer so when no voice greeted me back I wasn’t surprised.
Setting my book bag down by the door I wandered through the downstairs, looking for my mother. The floor was quiet though, dark with drawn drapes. I threw a couple of them open, fading light playing off the floating dust particles in the room. In the kitchen I frowned to find there weren’t any new dishes in the sink and the bowl of cereal I had left out on the table when I skipped out that morning for school was hardly touched.
I sighed as I took the bowl of dry frosted flakes and threw the rest out to the animals out back, then put the bowl in the sink and started for the stairs. “Mom?” I called again.
My foot hesitated on the first stair, hand gripping the railing as I took a deep breath. I always feared what I would come home too. Would I find my mother actually functioning by eating or reading or watching TV on the rare days she was doing better? Or would I find her laying in bed upstairs once more, barely having moved the whole day?
Or, worse yet, would I find her dead?
I let out the shaky breath I was holding and ascended the staircase. My eyes glanced over the box of books in the upper hallway, frowning. My mother had refused to leave the encyclopedias on the shelf in her room after my father died. She claimed it reminded her too much of him, too much of how he came alive when he was teaching a class at the university. One day, in a fit of hysterical crying, she had thrown every book off the shelves in their bedroom, and since then they had laid dormant in a box in the hallway.
My mother never wanted to see them again, but that didn’t mean I wanted to part with the set. It was almost all I had left of him now after she broke or packed up every other reminder. She claimed it was too painful to leave it sitting out, but to me it was like she was trying to forget dad ever existed.
I picked up the box of books and moved them into my bedroom, hiding them under the bed. Out of sight, but never out of mind. Maybe later I could read the inscriptions of quotes he wrote on the inside cover of every book he ever owned. Maybe later I could let myself feel the pain again.
A deep breath dropped my shoulders and I started down the hall before I could think too much on the subject. It was easier to deal with my mother if my mind was devoid of every emotional thought.
“Mom?” I asked softly as I stopped at her door and rapped on the wood. A tiny murmur greeted me this time and relief flooded my veins.
Today was not the day I would find her dead.
Pushing open the door I walked in, peering through the gloom to find her huddled up under the covers, staring blankly at the wall. I hated that look on her face. It was like she had become a shell of a person. I wanted to hide from the world and grieve too, but I couldn’t, because if I did then there would be no one left to take care of her, and no one to maintain this house or whatever life they had left here. I hated that she got to be the grieving, deadened one and not me. I was the child, she was supposed to be the strength for both of us. She was supposed to comfort me.
“Have you eaten anything today, mom?” I asked, shoving aside the resentful thoughts.
She didn’t answer, only slid her glassy gaze toward me before looking back to the wall with a sigh. I frowned.
“I guess that’s a no… Have you been out of bed yet?” She shrugged and a pinch of anger bloomed in my chest. “Mom… You can’t keep-” I bit my tongue before I could finish that sentence, knowing it would only fall on deaf ears, then let out a breath. “Never mind. I’m going to go make dinner and come get you when it’s ready, then you’re going to take a shower while I’m doing my homework. You didn’t take one yesterday.”
My mother gave a weary incoherent mumble and turned over in bed, facing away from me. I stared at her for a second before turning away to go start a load of laundry and cook dinner with a heavy heart.
I hadn’t just lost my father on the night of that fire, I lost my mother too.
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