Flash Fiction Monday – Family History Pt. 2

 

July 4

“Oh! Look at this one, Amelia.” Lena passed a photo to her.

Amelia inspected it closely. Two young women ran through a city street, hand-in-hand, soaked to the skin by a rain storm. There as inches of standing water and they clutched their shoes in their free hands. Jeanette Fleming and Ada March, 1934 was inscribed on the back. “Did you see the back?”

Lena pressed her chin to Amelia’s shoulder. “They look so young.”

“They were,” Amelia replied. “Jeanette was born in 1920 so she would have been fourteen at the time. I’m not sure about Ada, but I think they were roughly the same age.”

“Jeanette’s lovely in this photo, but she really grew into herself in her late teens.” Lena shifted so she was sitting upright.

Amelia reached over and poked Lena’s thigh. “Stop perving on my grandmother.”

“It’s only because you resemble her so much.”

“Nice save.” She leaned in and brushed her lips against Lena’s.

“I wonder who took the photo.”

“I have no idea,” Amelia admitted. “I feel like this box of photos raises more questions than it answers.”

Lena nodded, her expression thoughtful. “Is this the only box?”

“No, there’s another. Actually, if I remember right, there are letters in the other box. I inherited them both after grandma’s death and haven’t had time to sort through them until now. Amelia had stumbled across them in the guest room closet a few days ago. Looking at the photos had derailed her spring cleaning plans, but she and Lena were having too much fun to care.

Lean’s eyes lit up. “Letters? I wonder if there’s anything juicy in them.”

“I doubt it. Probably lots of talk about church festivals and such.”

“Your grandmother was a pin-up girl, Amelia. She may have attended church festivals, but the woman clearly had a rebellious streak.”

“You have a good point. Still, I highly doubt they’re that juicy. If they were romantically involved, they would have been breaking the law to do it.”

“Well, let’s stop talking about what might be in the letters and read what is in them. I’m dying of curiosity.” Always decisive, Lena stood and strode from the room. Her skin gleamed in the late afternoon sunlight, on display in the denim shorts and white tank she wore. God she was beautiful. Running had honed her muscles to a sleek definition. They’d gone to the lake recently and she was lightly tanned. Sometimes just looking at Lena made Amelia’s heart stop.

“What’s that look for?” Lena gently sat the box on the floor beside the couch.

Amelia shook her head to clear it. She’d been so lost in thought she hadn’t noticed Lena’s return.

“Thinking about you.” Amelia lay back on the couch and held out a hand to Lena. “As curious as I am about the letters, I think they can wait a bit.”

Lena smirked as she closed the distance between them, settling over top of Amelia. “What did you have in mind?”

“I don’t know. But hopefully something juicy enough to include in a letter.”

Lena laughed softly as Amelia drew her in for a kiss, the boxes of photos and letters temporarily forgotten.


Technically, the timeline doesn’t really work for these photos. Today’s photo is clearly of a later time period than 1934, but it worked so well with the previous flash fic I’d written that I couldn’t resist!

A novel telling Lena and Amelia’s story and their hunt for clues about Jeanette and Ada’s relationship is starting to come together and I’m really looking forward to writing it.

Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics.

I look forward to seeing you next Monday!

Flash Fiction Monday – The Horse Tamer

Eugene stood at the window, his breath obscuring the small pane of glass as he strained to see the tall figure in the long dark coat. He wiped away the fog of his breath and caught a glimpse of the leggy filly galloping through the snow. She was young, a bit wild still, and Mr. Dawson was training her.

Rumor had it he was the best horse trainer around, but he didn’t look like any of the hard-faced, rough men Eugene saw around town who worked on the nearby ranches. He looked more like the bankers and businessmen with the silk waistcoats and top hats. He looked like the men who lived in fancy houses with servants to mop the floor and cooks to make his meals. Instead, Mr. Dawson lived in the boarding house where Eugene’s sister Sarah mopped the floors and Agnes—his mother—cooked the food. Some townsfolk whispered about Mr. Dawson’s oddness, but he was still considered a catch by the women in town.

Eugene didn’t like thinking too much about Mr. Dawson and his stern, handsome face and long fingers. And when he did in the dark of his bedroom, he woke up with sticky sheets, feeling guilty and ashamed.

“Eugene!” The sharp note in his mother’s voice made him turn quickly, afraid she’d been calling him for a while. “Stop staring out the window and tell Mr. Dawson to come inside. I’ll not have him be late for dinner again.”

His mother tolerated neither tardiness nor daydreaming, so Eugene dashed out the door. Any icy gust of wind stopped him at the top of the steps that led to the yard behind the house. “Mr. Dawson,” he called. “Mr. Dawson, dinner’s ready.”

Eugene shivered as the wind carried the sound away and flung stinging bits of icy snow against his cheeks.  It wasn’t until the filly’s circle brought her in front of Eugene, that Mr. Dawson spotted him.

“Whoa!” he called to the filly as he strode toward her. She skidded to a halt, dancing in place as he grabbed the reins. “Easy, girl.”

The filly quieted. There was something soothing about his deep, commanding voice, although it always gave Eugene a funny feeling deep in his belly.

“Dinner’s ready, Mr. Dawson.”

“It’s Thomas. How many times do I have to tell you?” He cleared his throat and looked at Eugene over the top of the horse’s mane, his dark curls dusted with snow and his strong, handsome features looking like something carved from marble. Eugene unsuccessfully tried to control his chattering teeth and the stern expression softened. “You’re half-frozen, boy. Go inside. I’ll be along shortly.”

Warmed by Thomas’ concern, Eugene made a dash for the door. The kitchen smelled of roast and his mouth watered at the sight of the onions, carrots, and potatoes his mother was spooning onto the platter with the meat.

“Thom—Mr. Dawson will be in shortly.”

She glanced at him then turned her gaze on Sarah. “Wash your face and tidy your hair, girl. You’ll never get his attention looking like a wreck.”

Sarah flushed and left the kitchen, her skirts rustling in her haste.

Eugene felt the same sick, sinking feeling he got every time his mother talked of Sarah and Thomas together. It would be a good match although Thomas was a good ten years older than his sister.  The clatter of the door opening and the stomp of boots alerted him to Thomas’ return.

A while later, over apple pie, Mrs. Gordon cleared her throat. “Sarah’s birthday is coming up on Sunday. She’ll be seventeen. We’ll be holding a bit of a party to celebrate. I’m sure there are many eligible young men in town who will be quite interested.”

“How nice,” Thomas said, his tone polite, but as disinterested as ever. He turned his gaze to Eugene. “It’ll be your birthday as well then?”

Eugene nodded. He and Sarah were twins after all. “That’s right.”

There was something in Thomas’ gaze that made Eugene shift in his chair. “That reminds me I’ve been meaning to ask you if Eugene would be available to me. I could use an assistant. Eugene is good with horses and I believe he’d be a good deal of help when I travel. I’d pay him fairly of course.”

Mrs. Gordon sputtered at first, but when it was finally agreed upon, Eugene’s heart sang.

After dinner, as his mother read the bible aloud and Sarah embroidered a handkerchief, Eugene and Thomas sat by the fire and discussed the horse business.

When Eugene fell into bed that night he dreamed of galloping horses and long-fingered hands on his skin.


This was actually last week’s prompt. I had half an idea that refused to solidify, so I set it aside. When I went to write this week’s prompt and didn’t have any ideas, I went back to this one and it finally came together.

Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics.

I look forward to seeing you next Monday!

Flash Fiction Monday – Beacon

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The umbrella shone like a warning light at the end of the walkway.

Against the sodden wood and dreary sky, the red seemed eye-wateringly bright. Or maybe that was the tears.  Dana wiped them from her cheeks, although the misty rain had long ago reduced all of her to a soggy mess.  Her hair dripped, creating steady rivulets of water that meandered across her jacket and landed with a plop on her wool skirt. Her mother would scold her and bundle her off to bed with a cup of cocoa if she knew Dana was out here in the rain.

But how could she leave the park when any minute, Carole might come back?

A bone-deep chill had settled over her by the time shadows deepened  yet the park remained empty.  She could picture her mother, standing by the sink in her neat flowered dress and apron, staring out at the window with that little line between her eyebrows. She did that when her father was late getting home.  Hazard of being a policeman’s wife, Dana would guess.

Dana didn’t want to worry her mother, but she just wouldn’t understand about Carole. About the way she made Dana’s heart race and her hands tremble. The way it had felt to fall asleep together in Carole’s twin size bed, pressed close together under the pink, quilted coverlet.  The way she’d woken the other night with her hand up under Carole’s nightgown, cupping the soft swell of her breast.

Carole had liked it, Dana was sure of that. Dana had heard Carole moan softly and squirm against her. They’d both liked it when Carole had flipped onto her back and they’d somehow wound up kissing, legs intertwined, rocking and grabbing at each other until something in her seemed to break free and send a warm flush through her whole body.

Dana knew there was something vaguely wrong about what they’d done, but she figured as long as they didn’t talk about it, it would be fine. But Carole couldn’t look at her over the pancakes Mrs. Andrews made them.  And the next day at school she’d acted like Dana didn’t exist. They’d been friends since kindergarten for goodness sake.

It had taken a week of begging and pleading to even get Carole to meet her in the park after school, but she’d seemed like a different person as she stood under her red umbrella. Her long ponytail swished back and forth as she shook her head and told Dana they were no longer friends.

And now she was gone, leaving nothing but the umbrella she’d left in her haste to get away.

“Dana Price, your mother was worried sick! What on earth are you doing sitting here in the rain?” Dana tore her eyes away from the umbrella to find her father striding toward her, his uniform making him look even more imposing than usual.

Dana opened her mouth, but the words wouldn’t come out.  Kevin Price’s  scowl deepened, but there was an edge of concern. “Come on, we’re going home.”

Too tired to argue, she stood and let him tuck her under his arm.  He bundled her into the police car, wrapped a blanket around her shoulders, and turned the heater on full blast.  He didn’t drive away immediately though and as warmth began to seep into her chilled limbs, she began to shiver.

“Dana.” His voice was deep. Concerned. “What happened? You’ve seemed upset all week. Did someone hurt you?”

She turned to face her father, looking at his worried hazel eyes and the words spilled out her mouth before she could stop them.  She told him everything, blushing and embarrassed as she described what had happened in Carole’s bed, and how it had made her feel, but they’d always been close and she couldn’t keep this bottled up anymore.

By the time she finished, she was sure he was going to open the door of the car and tell her to get out, or take her off to the county jail.  But instead, he leaned his head against the back of his seat, closed his eyes, and let out a heavy, exhausted sigh.  “Oh, Dana.”

She wiped at her eyes.  “I’m sorry, Daddy.” She hadn’t even realized she’d started crying again. “I won’t do it anymore and I’ll go to church and I promise I’ll never, ever—“

“NO!” His voice was harsh and she flinched, unused to hearing him raise his voice. He turned to look at her. “No,” he said more quietly, “No, that’s not the answer, Dana.  That’s what I did for far too long.”

She frowned at him. “What do you mean, Daddy?” She hadn’t called him that in years, but right now she needed to pretend he could protect her from all of the scary things in the world.

“Do you remember Uncle Dan?”

She nodded, but her frown deepened. Of course she did, but what did her father’s best friend have to do with this? They’d been so close all through the police academy that her father had even named her after him.  And then at some point, he’d just stopped coming around.  Her mother’s lips had tightened every time she asked why Uncle Dan was never around, so she’d finally stopped asking. “Ohhh.” She blinked at her father through the damp fringe of her bangs. “You and Uncle Dan? You were like Carole and me”

Her father nodded. “I loved him.”

“But Mom?”

He looked down at his hands where they rested on the blue fabric of his uniform pants. “I love your mother, but in a different way. I thought I was doing the right thing, hiding, pretending like I was normal.”

“Does she know?”

“I don’t know.” He sighed. “Maybe. I think so. One time Dan and I were down in the basement rec room and we weren’t as discreet as we should have been. She might have overheard something. I never asked and she never confronted me.”

“That seems sad,” she said.

“It is, Puddin’,” he replied, using her childhood nickname , and she almost managed a smile. “And I don’t want that life for you. So I want you to be real careful until graduation, then go off to school, and find a way to be happy. I can’t promise it’ll be easy or that you’ll have the kind of life you deserve, but it’s gotta be better than what I have in this little town.”

“What’ll we tell Mom?”

“We’ll tell her you and Carole got in a fight over a boy. And I’ll convince her to let you go to the school in California. Maybe out there things will be easier for you. I’ve heard rumors that there are more people like  … like us out there.”

“Really?”

He nodded and shifted the car into drive. “It’s a whole different world out there, Puddin’. And you’re gonna go live the life we both wanted.”

“Thank you,” she whispered.

As they drove away from the park, Dana could see the red umbrella in the side mirror, like a beacon of hope.


Obviously, at nearly 1,500 words, I went WAY over the word count for the week, but once the story began to unfold in my head, I couldn’t stop.

Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics!

I look forward to seeing you next Monday!