Fernando and Pedro walked the boardwalk with a colonnade of condos on their left and the ocean on their right. They stopped at a mural. The artist painted a somber woman with an orange and gold halo walking past an archway.
Fernando remarked, “There comes a time in one’s life when one reaches the age of reason. One only wants the best. And then one wants to give it all away.”
Pedro asked, “And what if we never reach that age?”
In the warm winter winds they admired the mural of that woman.
Three crows landed near Pablo. Two of them pretended to peck around for treasure while the leader laid into Pablo with an obnoxious, “Caw! Caw! Caw!. Fortunately, Pablo was fluent in this particular dialect of crow. Crows don’t stop by without a message they feel they must deliver:
“You will experience enrichment beyond your puny imagination. All those plans you’ve been making will fail. They are nothing compared to the reality that awaits you. Any questions?”
Pablo and this crow had previous encounters. “Do I have a choice?”
“Unfortunately, all you can do is mess things up a bit.”
Linked to Carrot Ranch’s January 10: Flash Fiction Challenge on the theme of the idea of “enrichment”. The challenge is to write a 99-word story (excluding title word count) on the theme. Come join us with your own story.
The Fredericks bought Adkins Estate with farmhouse, barn and sheds. The farm maintained itself from land rentals to local farmers. There was also a notorious fence separating it from ancient Indian burial grounds.
That’s why they bought it. They planned to rent rooms to people wanting to spend the night in a haunted house.
They repaired the buildings but broke the fence to make it look spookier. They called their website “Visit Fredericks’ Freaky Ghost House”.
Many rented rooms and left five-star reviews until it became known that after changes to the fence, the ghosts no longer felt welcome.
Linked to Charli Mills’ Carrot Ranch flash fiction challenge with the prompt “broken fence”. Stories are required to be exactly 99 words excluding title. I searched, but I could not find Frederick’s Ghost House. Just in case there is such a place, this is a work of fiction.
Photos: “Deep Green Looking Up”, above, and “Where There’s Sun There’s a Shadow”, below. These don’t look spooky to me, but perhaps I am not looking close enough.
Ellen stood on the bridge while Nathaniel photographed her from the shore.
“Don’t spoil my memories!”
He did not know how he could spoil her memories, but Nathaniel took multiple shots and made sure the photos looked good. He saw her smile. That let him know she was glad he was taking those pictures. For her part Ellen saw no future that did not include Nathaniel.
Today her face is wrinkled. While she was still able to walk her family decided to take her to her childhood home which seemingly random turbulences over the decades tossed her far away from. She asked to see that old stone bridge. They found the bridge. It was still there in spite of the changes, some challenging, some like windfalls of blessing, that would make almost everything else unrecognizable to her.
As they walked over the bridge, Ellen stopped to the best of her remembrance where she stood when Nathaniel took those photographs. She wondered what happened to him. Why did she lose him that summer?
Ellen thought of her family, husband, middle-aged children and grandchildren starting to have infants to care for. Some of them were with her on the bridge worrying she might fall and guarding her from the edge. She may have another year to share with them. As she breathed the air and watched the water move below she felt an overwhelming gratitude for all of it. The parts of her life she got right soothed those she wished she did differently. She looked toward the shore where Nathaniel stood long ago and smiled at him once again.
Linked to Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt. She provided the photo for the prompt. I am also linking because of the reference to gratitude in the story to Debbie Roth’s Forgiving Fridays.