On Friday everything changed. Lina had eaten the same low-fat bran cereal and gone to the same dull job for six years. Today will be different, she decided, a greasy fast food biscuit warming her belly. She would go swimming at the lake. Then she’d stop by the animal shelter and volunteer for a few hours. And she would finally tell Chad that she… her stomach lurched violently. Her car veered into the path of a truck as she gagged.
When the paramedics pulled her from the wreckage, her final words before she closed her eyes were, “A new day.”
For Flash! Friday
She hadn’t been photographed in over 50 years. She was inconsequential now; just a frail woman with thinning gray hair, her face a mask of sagging skin and wrinkles. A far cry from the alluring girl in those Cola ads from the 1950’s, wearing the famous red and white polka-dot swimsuit that now hung in the Smithsonian. She still had fans. Young girls with short bangs and pin curls, wearing bright red lips and A-line dresses. She would rather they remember her as she was.
‘How did you recognize me?”
The woman smiled and pointed to her neck. She was wearing her necklace with the one-of-a-kind dragon charm, a gift from a long ago suitor.
“Could I take a picture with you?”
She smiled and nodded her agreement. After a quick snap, she watched as the woman uploaded the photo to one of those silly social networking sites. The caption? #TimelessBeauty.
For Flash! Friday
“Do you think he followed us?”
She touched the side of her face, still blue-black and tender from her husband’s last drunken tirade. I turned the car onto the highway, the road that would lead us to a new life.
“But he had a tracker in my car. Maybe he put one in yours too. Or in your phone.”
“He didn’t.” I put my hand on hers. “Trust me. We’re safe.” I quickly moved my hand away so she wouldn’t see the speck of dried blood on my sleeve. I was certain no one was following us.
Inspired by the Flash! Friday prompt
PHOTO PROMPT – © J Hardy Carroll
Katie was her friend.
That’s why she’d kept quiet.
That’s why she’d taken care of Katie’s children for the past week, doing laundry, cooking dinner, wiping tears, losing sleep.
That’s why when she found drops of red on Katie’s blouse, she pursed her lips and added a little more detergent to the washer.
Katie was back from her mysterious trip, tanned and relaxed. She’d been to the Bahamas. Sunning and swimming, while her kids wept for their father.
And that’s why she was here, talking to that detective again.
“I think my friend killed her husband.”
For Friday Fictioneers!
As children, they’d really been nothing more than playmates, passing long summer days playing hide and seek. But as Savannah had grown older, she’d grown crueler, taking her cues from her unyielding mother. Ella had suffered in silence because of the one thing Savannah had promised her – she would never be separated from her family.
Savannah would be moving to Ten Magnolias after her wedding, a plantation in Charleston that Ella had heard horrible stories about. Savannah told her mother days ago, “Of course, Ella will come with me! She is a handful but I don’t know what I’d do without her.” Ella didn’t know how far away Charleston was, but knew she would never see her family again. That’s why she was tiptoeing down the stairs in the dark. She ran to the line of trees where her family was waiting. They hid under the weeping willow and waited for the signal.
For Flash! Friday
UPDATE: The prompt we got from Flash! Friday was the novel Gone With the Wind. So, Ella is a slave in the American Old South and Savannah is her “owner.”
“What did you do today?”
“Oh, just tinkered around a bit in the lab.”
“When is that little company of yours going to get off the ground, finally?”
“Soon, my dear. Soon.”
“That’s what you always say, ‘soon.’”
“I thought you believed in me. In my ideas.”
“I did. I just don’t think I can support you and your…delusions any longer.”
“What are you saying?”
She took a bite of her risotto and commented, “This is absolutely fabulous!”
“What did you mean when you said you can’t support me any longer?”
“I meant I don’t think this is working,” she muttered while shoveling a very unladylike portion into her mouth. “This is just extraordinary.”
“I’m glad you like it.” A woman emerged from the shadows. An exact replica of her, down to the arrangement of freckles across her nose and cheeks.
He watched unmoved as his wife gagged, finally falling face first into her plate.
With hundreds of back orders already for the DreamWoman 1.0, his “little company” was a runaway success. He took his great love, and greatest creation, into his arms.
For Flash Friday!
The girl’s dark ponytail spills over her pink over-filled backpack, slapping softly against it as she skips down the road.
“Where are you going?” I ask her, matching her stride.
She looks at me with big, dark brown eyes. My grandmother’s eyes. She knows who I am.
“I’m running away to California. I want to swim with the dolphins.”
“Do you know how to swim?” She can’t be more than five.
She shrugs. “I’ll learn.”
“Can I come?”
She stops walking and turns her little body to face mine. “Do YOU swim?”
I shrug. “I can learn.” I smile, and she puts her sticky little hand in mine.
I look down at our feet and am surprised to see sand between our toes, a surging ocean before us. We run to the waves and dive into them, still holding hands. A family of dolphins swims toward us, welcoming us. The baby nuzzles the little girl’s cheek and she laughs. I can hear it, her laughter, floating through the water. It’s the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard. I see a bright light up ahead…
A car alarm goes off outside, and I’m startled awake. I’m alone in my dark bedroom. I swallow another sleeping pill, hoping it will silence the dull ache in my lower abdomen that has stolen my sleep since the day she left me. I lay back down and pray for pleasant dreams, hoping she’ll come back.