Category: Flash Fiction

Neighbor

Neighbor

The nondescript neighbor across the street moved today.  Sam saw the moving truck leaving the house as he came home.  He never remembered her name.  In fact he had barely had a conversation with her, other than the cursory “Good morning” if they happened to leave their respective houses at the same time.  It was awkward.  There was something about her that he just couldn’t put his finger on.  She was very attractive but was haughty and aloof.

The first time he met her was when Tom, his neighbor next door, had introduced her the day she moved in to number 2024.  Sam had attempted a friendly inquiring conversation with a “Welcome to Westbrook!  Where are you moving from?”

She had stared at him and he noticed her eyes were a deep cerulean blue. She seemed startled, but recovering quickly she became closed off, almost cold, and made almost no more  eye contact. She offered an excuse and said she was busy with the move and that was that.  Tom and Sam looked at each other and shrugged.  Since that day she had made no friends with anyone as far as he knew.  She kept herself private and non-communicative.

Sam used to joke with the other neighbors that she was likely in the Witness Protection Program or she was on the run from the police.  He couldn’t recall one time when she had attempted to make conversation.

She never attended any of the neighborhood social parties and always kept her porch light off on Halloween so the children never went near her house.  One year the kids tricked her instead and toilet papered her front yard.  No one knew whose kids were responsible and they pretty much left her to clean it up by herself.  Sam felt a little bad about driving off to work the following morning seeing it there but he had a meeting to attend.  When he returned home it was all gone and he assumed she had cleared it up herself or got someone to do it.  He never gave it another thought.

“So she moved out then.” Sam said to Tom who was out in his front yard. He continued, “I sure hope we get someone a lot nicer moving in.  She was a cold witch, don’t you think?”

Tom replied.  “I don’t know about being a witch.  She was never nasty to any of us.  She was just private, you know”

“I guess.” said Sam as he headed to his front door. “See you later Tom”

As Sam put his key in the lock, he looked down and saw a box with an envelope taped to it.  It had his name on it.

He took it into the house and placed it on the kitchen table wondering what it might be.  It was a handwritten envelope and no marking on the box so UPS hadn’t delivered it.

He opened the envelope, which held a card.  He read it.

Dear Sam,

I know you and I have never really had a conversation but I have watched you daily for the past year. 

When I was introduced to you on that day I moved in, you lit a fuse in my heart.  I cannot explain it.  It was incredible and the feeling was very strong, like I had met you before or I had known you in some other life.  I wanted desperately to get to know you but it would not have been fair

I had no close family, having divorced several years ago, and no children.  I was looking for a fresh start somewhere when I got the crushing news.  I was told I was dying and the doctors had given me one year at best. I had already chosen this house before I knew of my illness. I thought it would be a wonderful neighborhood to make new friends. I’m sure it was but I never wanted to be a burden on anyone so I kept my prognosis to myself.

I wish I had known you in this life.  I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.

See you next time around. 

Lori Cooper

Sam felt quite shaken as he put the letter down.  She had died. He was overcome with sadness.  Why hadn’t he tried harder to get to know her? He opened the box and inside was a smaller box in which was a gold heart on a chain.

On a small card it said…

“You stole my tender heart on the day I met you but I had to take it back. I leave you this in its place…L”

 

Christine Bolton – Poetry for Healing ©

Word Prompts:

Neighbor

Nondescript

Fuse

Tender

Cerulean

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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Lucia

Lucia stared through the window of the beautiful restaurant.  It was 3:00pm and her interview was at 3:15 pm.

This was a big step up from her family’s restaurant in the Bronx.  The Italian Trattoria where everyone from the neighborhood would come. Her grandparents, immigrants from Sicily, had opened the restaurant in the 1930s. Lucia, her parents and three brothers were all recruited into the business. There was no escaping it.   She was the youngest but she became the face of the restaurant.  Her siblings were content to be at the back of the house in the kitchen, but she had always been pushed front and center by her parents and all the patrons knew her. They had known her since she was a child filling their water glasses on a Sunday afternoon.  It had always been this way.  It became known as Lucia’s Bistro.

Now she was a grown woman and had outgrown the family restaurant.  She was ready to spread her wings to the Upper East Side. Understanding all aspects of the restaurant business this was her chance to see how the other side lived.

She entered the restaurant and confidently introduced herself to the Maître d’

Christine Bolton – Poetry for Healing ©

(199 words)

In response to: Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner Week #32

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The Old Tower

It was an easy amble along the cliff top until they could see the old tower standing majestically overlooking the cove.

As they approached, the ruins of the old abbey came into full view and the memory of childhood adventures came rushing back, like a tidal wave, into Joanna’s mind.  They were such happy times.  It was always the three of them.  Joanna, Mindy and Steven.  The Three Musketeers – all for one, one for all.  They had been inseparable.  Mindy looked at Jo and they both smiled, knowing each other’s thoughts as if they were their own.  It had always been that way.

The large oak door to the tower was noticeably open as they scrambled up the hill.  The wind whipping their long hair around their faces making it hard to see where they were going and the sun was bright in their eyes.

They could make out a silhouette in the doorway.  At first glance Mindy thought it was Steven and called out his name. There was no response.  As they got closer they could see that it wasn’t. A man, probably around the same age as Steven was smiling at them in a friendly, welcoming way.

“Hello there” he said, holding out his hand.  “My name is Charles Webster and I represent the owner of this property”

Joanna and Mindy stopped in their tracks, surprised and confused.

“What?” Said Joanna.  “I…. l don’t understand”

She continued, “The ruins, and the land it is on, is owned by the village”

“Yes, that’s right”, blurted out Mindy.  “Do you have some identification?

Charles Webster, Solicitor, produced his business card.

“What is going on here?”  Said Mindy. “Are you some kind of shark?”

“This property has been owned by the village of Glen Cove for three centuries.  It would never be sold”

“I’m sorry but it has” Charles Webster contradicted her.

Both Joanna and Mindy were beginning to be visibly upset.  This was supposed to be a happy reunion of the three childhood friends at their most cherished place.  They had played on the ruins of the old abbey for many summers, pretending and dreaming.  Living out fantasies of damsels in distress calling from the top of the tower to the gallant knight down below.  Other times, Steven pretending to be Friar Tuck and the girls taking turns at being Maid Marian or Robin Hood.

Joanna walked away and was silent for a long time.  These were the happiest times of their lives and most likely whoever had purchased the property would raze everything to the ground and build some obnoxious looking, oversized house dominating the coastline.  How could this happen without them knowing?  Why hadn’t their families or someone in the village let them know what was going on?  She realized sadly the only thing that is inevitable is change and if that was the way it was going to be, there was nothing they could do about it.

She walked back to where she had left Mindy and the Solicitor.  “Ok”, said Joanna eventually to Charles Webster.  “Who exactly do you represent?”

At that moment, the large oak door was pulled open and Steven stepped out.

“Surprise!” He said gleefully.  The girls stood there mouths open in shock.

Steven continued, “There was no way this wonderful place was ever going to be sold to a developer.  The village needed the cash and I made sure they got it and their history and our memories are preserved.”

“Charlie and I had you going there for a while didn’t we?” he said wickedly, winking at his friend.  Typical of Steven

The three old friends hugged each other and through their tears of joy they chimed.

“All for one, one for all”

Christine Bolton

Multiple Word Prompts today…..Phew!

Rag Tag Community: Open

Daily Word Prompt: Noticably

Word of the Day Challenge: Amble

Scotts Daily Prompt: Friendly

Fandango One Word Challenge: Memory

Haunted Wordsmith 3 Things Challenge: Tower, Tidal Wave, Shark

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What’s up with that?

 

After two months in the new city, Lisa was feeling more confident about her job and had settled in her apartment.  She was getting used to her surroundings but now it was time to get out there and meet some people.  Someone she worked with had said there was an organization called MeetUp and she could easily find many groups locally to join other like-minded souls.

She looked online and found there were several organized events for walking, book clubs, Spanish conversation and something called SUP.  They met every Saturday afternoon at 4:00 pm by the bridge.

“Hmmm…that sounds interesting”, she thought to herself as she pondered the list of activities offered by MeetUp.  “What the heck is SUP?”  It said you could bring your own but they could help you if you needed a SUP.

It had to be a pub-crawl or something like that she thought.  You SUP beer right?  Maybe it was like a BYOB and you could bring your own beverage.

She thought this would be a great way to meet some new people socially and having a drink or two would make her feel more confident.  Take the edge off.

She signed up online stating she would participate and she would bring her own SUP.

Saturday came and Lisa filled her small cooler with a bottle of wine, two glasses, some snacks and a 6 pack of beer.  She was looking forward to this MeetUp.  It would be a great social occasion.

She arrived at the meeting place by the bridge and introduced herself to the others assembling there.  They were a good cross section of people but they were all wearing swimwear.  She felt a little awkward, as she had done her hair and make up and was wearing new clothes to impress.  She didn’t realize it was going to be a swim party.

She found the leader of the group and made herself known.  He said cheerfully, “Welcome Lisa, where’s your SUP?”  She pointed to her cooler and he looked at her quizzically.  She added, “I brought both wine and beer.”

He took in her sophisticated look, the clothes and the cooler and said, “Yes, I see you are prepared for something, but where is your Stand Up Paddleboard?”

Christine Bolton

In response to Linda Hill’s Saturday Prompt: Sup

The Job That Never Was

“Blimey”, said Eric, as he noshed on the pie and mash lunch at Cookes, the best pie shop in the East End of London.  “Are you sure we can pull off a job like that?”

“Yeah, ‘course we can” answered Freddy, “As long as we’re not stupid and keep mum about it.  You know the docks are on the Krays patch, yeah?”

The two were a couple of wide boys, living on their wits.  Crafty and street smart, but intellectually challenged.  The notorious Kray Twins were London’s Gangland Kings. They ruled over their manor with murder and a violence that made your blood curdle.

Eric and Freddy had not thought their plan through very carefully.  They were known for their petty theft and some home burglaries, but they were not violent.  This new hair-brained schemed involved holding up a container transporting electronics from Asia.  The cargo would be unloaded down at the East India dock and transferred to a lorry destined for a warehouse in Milton Keynes.  The problem was they had to organize a large enough transport to move the stuff and likely would need weapons to pull off a job this size.  Neither of them had the contacts or the brains to mastermind something this big, and the docks were right in the middle of the Krays’ turf.

Eric suggested, “Lets go down to The Blind Beggar tonight for a couple of pints and maybe we’ll suss out out Jimmy the Fingers.  ‘e usually knows what’s going down and maybe he can give us a lead on a couple of sawn off shotguns.”

“You know, you can be a right nutter when you wanna be”, said Freddy.  “We’re going to get ourselves nicked by the Old Billmessing with guns.”

He continued, “Worse still, if the Krays get wind of this we’ll end up wearing concrete shoes and feeding the fishes at the bottom the Thames.”

“Yeah, well… maybe you’ve got a point there”, said Eric.  “ ‘ow about we knock over this pie shop instead?  That till must be packed with cash”

Christine Bolton

In response to Three Things Challenge June 26: Nicked, Nutter, Nosh

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A Shark’s Tooth Tale

Venice Beach, Florida

The sun was dropping low in the sky as Lisa took her evening walk along the beach.  Since she moved to Venice, Florida just two months earlier, this had become her ritual after her long day in the ER at the local hospital. As a nurse her days could be quite stressful and this activity calmed her frazzled brain.

Venice, believe it or not, is known as the Sharks’ Tooth Capital of the World and in her short time there she had already found several on her evening beach walks.  Mostly they were tiny teeth, and for those not familiar with them, they could easily be mistaken for little flat black pebbles. But she had seen several larger ones discovered by other beach goers who patiently comb the sand with the special, long handled sieves she had seen for sale in the many souvenir shops close to the beach. The largest tooth she had seen reminded her of an Indian arrowhead she had observed as a child in The Natural History Museum in New York. It was black and triangular and she hated to think of the size of the shark that had once owned it.

On her walk this particular evening she saw the usual crowd gathering on the beach with their Tervis Tumblers of varying cocktails and beers in hand, waiting to toast the sun as it set.  This was a nightly event quite common on the west coast of Florida.  If you’re lucky you might even see the elusive “Green Flash” as soon as the sun disappears on the horizon.  She had yet to witness it but was assured by the reveling beach goers of its existence. Maybe the alcohol had something to do with it she thought with a smile.

As she continued along the shore she noticed a young family setting up a celebration at one of the picnic tables, complete with a birthday cake and candles.  Someone was going to be 5!  A little further on she saw a small group gathered at the water’s edge peering at something.  She wandered over to see what had them so interested.  A tall young man was holding something in his hand and the others were staring at it and shooting questions at him.  He lifted it high to stop the children pulling at it.  Lisa noticed something black and as she got closer she saw the biggest shark’s tooth imaginable.  It was as wide as the man’s palm and really quite astonishing.

Someone jokingly said “I hope the tooth fairy has enough money on her tonight.  She may have to write you a check!”

Lisa asked the man if she could hold it and he refused.  She was a little taken aback as she was hardly going to steal it from him.

“I can’t let you touch it, this is gonna be worth a lot to someone.” he said sharply as he dropped it quickly into some strange contraption on his belt.

Lisa studied him closely. He looked like he had been sleeping on the beach for a month.  He had straggly hair and a leathery skin that you would attribute to the outdoor life of a homeless person.

He looked back at her and said, “You can have it for $20”

She was silent for a moment thinking that this guy really needed the money if he’d been sleeping on the beach.  He’s probably hungry too.  She heard one of the adults in the small crowd say “I’ll give you 10 bucks for it”.

Lisa quickly put her hand in the pocket of her shorts and pulled out the $20 bill she always had there when she walked, just in case of an emergency.  She handed it to him and he pulled out the shark’s tooth dropping it in her open hand and then he took off running down the beach.

As the small crowd looked at her with anticipation, she touched the tooth with her other hand and realized immediately it was a plastic souvenir.  She could even make out the words, Made in China.  It was a hoax.

As the nearby sundowners began to cheer and raise their glasses, Lisa looked up, just in time to see The Green Flash

Christine Bolton

In response to the Three Things Challenge June 18: Shark, Birthday Cake, Tooth Fairy

Word of the Day Challenge: Hoax

One Daily Prompt: Contraption

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Jolly Roger, Guitar, Iceberg – Three Word Challenge

It was Monday morning and Sam was so excited about his first guitar lesson. He had saved his allowance for weeks, washed cars, and mowed the grass so he could afford the six-lesson package advertised at the local music store. At 13 years old he was experiencing the full onslaught of adolescence and desperately wanted to impress the absolute love of his life, Rachel. Of course she didn’t know he even existed. She hung with the cool kids and was the most popular girl in his grade. If he could play guitar then he could be in a garage band and then she would notice him for sure. That’s how you’d score some points with someone like Rachel.

The instructor was coming over at 4 pm, at the end of the school day. He wondered whether he should just go up to Rachel and tell her he was taking guitar lessons. That might impress her. Would he have the courage to do something like that?  He’d have to think about that some more.

On the school bus he began to strategize with his best friend Roger. They colluded, made copious notes and rehearsed how this was going to go down. Sam was a little nervous as Roger could be a bit of a dope at times but he was a good friend and wanted to help. They planned to make it known sometime during the lunch break in the cafeteria. Sam and Roger would get in the lunch line right when Rachel and her besties arrived. They acted it out in the locker room during recess and were pretty sure they had it down.

They waited in the hallway until they saw Rachel approaching, and then timed their arrival in the line to coincide with hers. All was going according to plan. So there they were about to give a memorable performance and Sam would win the admiration of his special girl.

With trays in hand and helping themselves to the daily special, Roger said, “What time is your lesson today?” Sam replied, “You mean my guitar lesson?” Saying it just loudly enough that Rachel raised her head to look at him. “Oh he’ll be over around 4 pm”.

Roger, without thinking, and also not realizing that Rachel was in earshot, said, “Well that got her attention. Rachel is going to be putty in your hands once she sees you in action plucking those strings and stroking that body”.

Sam squirmed at his words, knowing which body Roger meant but it was too late. He saw Rachel’s face turn red in shock and horror. Everything went in slow motion after that and Sam could do absolutely nothing to stop it.

Rachel said in outrage, “I don’t think so Jolly Roger” as she thrust the iceberg lettuce, dripping with blue cheese dressing, right in his face.

Christine Bolton

Three Word Challenge June 15: Jolly Roger, Guitar, Iceberg

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Eggplant, Jellyfish, Space – Three Things Challenge

This is my first response to a daily Three Things Challenge from the Haunted Wordsmith.  Thanks for reading!

Somehow Sarah managed to turn her key in the lock as she struggled to hold on to the two overfilled grocery bags.  Her head and shoulders damp from the unexpected light rain. Brushing a loose strand of hair from her face, she entered her small apartment and dumped the bags on the kitchen table. She thought again about moving to a larger place. Having a better-equipped kitchen would make all the difference to an aspiring chef like her. As she unloaded her groceries one of the eggplants, an ingredient for the Greek Moussaka she had promised to make for her neighbor, fell from her grasp and rolled across the floor, wedging itself in that annoying gap between the refrigerator and the pantry where it was impossible to retrieve anything. “Damn it” she seethed reaching for the broom. “Here we go again”. Down on her knees she pushed the handle of the broom into the tight space and tried to wiggle the eggplant free.  It didn’t budge.  She turned the broom around and attempted to sweep it from the narrow opening. As she repeatedly pulled on the handle it started to move. Inch by inch she slowly managed to dislodge it from its prison. One last yank on the broom and the eggplant flew across the tiny kitchen, smacked straight into a kitchen cabinet on the opposite wall, slithered downwards and landed with a loud splat on the tiled floor looking like a beached jellyfish.

Christine Bolton

Three Things Challenge – June 13 Eggplant, Jellyfish, Space

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