Red, new flash fiction for Just In Case

by | Apr 2, 2019 | Fiction, Flash fiction | 10 comments

I wrote a new story yesterday that I plan to include in Just In Case, a book of flash fiction I’m working on. I’m planning to replace the current ebook I give away to folks who sign up for my readers group with the ebook version of Just In Case. (Do you like the term, “readers group”? I’m trying it out as an alternative to “newsletter subscribers.”)

I’ll also do a paperback version of Just In Case, maybe even an audiobook at some point. It might be easier to try the daunting process of creating an audio book with a short project like this.

So, without further delay, here’s the new story. Today I like the title “Red.” Yesterday I liked “Rose Petals.” If you have a preference, please let me know.

Red

Six-year-old Tessie held a basket of deep-red rose petals in hands so moist the wicker handle almost slid from her grip. Mommy was a breath behind. 

“Don’t let me down, now,” Mommy said before giving Tessie a push forward. But the girl’s feet dragged, heavy as boulders; her arms stiffened like petrified wood.  She willed herself to lift the petals and drizzle them as she walked—just like she’d done during rehearsal—but she could not. 

Nor could she look ahead or even to the side. She could only peer down at her pink Mary Janes, as she thought of the last time she saw her daddy. They were at a bus station, she with nose to pane, he waving from the sidewalk as the bus pulled away, Mommy beside her saying, “It’s just us now. Be a big girl. Don’t let me down.” 

Her lips puckered at the memory as she trod down the aisle. She knew she was doing it wrong, knew the petals were supposed to be in a trail behind her. Knew she was letting Mommy down. She glanced at the man whose eyes she’d been avoiding. The man at the altar. New person. New daddy. New smile not meant for her. Not really.

She pressed on. The white teeth, the kindly eyes, the immaculate tuxedo growing closer, larger. Still she could not move her arms. Until, finally, inches from the alter, her arms took control, turned her burden upside down, and dumped the petals in one quick cascade of red headed for the carpet. She threw the basket to the side and dashed to her assigned seat in the front pew. An auntie she barely knew pulled her close, wrapped long arms around her, and said she’d done a fine job.

Tessie sank into the folds of the woman’s satin dress and peeked out at Mommy, a vision in an off-white gown with a border of tiny violets. She knew better than to make eye contact. Mommy’s beautiful face would say it all as she stepped over the red pile on the carpet, red as Tessie’s sorrow, red as her love for Daddy, red as her flushing cheeks.

The End

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10 Comments

  1. Barbara Toboni

    I like the title Red. I like the term reading group. And I enjoyed the story. More please.

  2. Laura

    Thank you, Barbara, for leaving a comment and answering my questions. I value your perspectives on creative use of language.

  3. wordwranglingwoman-PH Garrett

    Of course the story is delicious. And yes, I do like Readers Groupa lot better than the alternative. It is engaging, and more intimate a term.

  4. Laura

    Thank you, Patrice. It’s so good to be connected and supporting each other on our writing journeys.

  5. anamanwaring

    Red, for sure! Excellent story, Laura.

  6. Laura

    Thank you, Ana. Red it is! Great to hear from you—and congratulations on publishing your book!

  7. Catherine Lanser

    I like the story and the title Red. I’ve been trying Reader’s Group too, or maybe I was too shy to use it on my site. It’s hard to remember with all the iterations we go through!

  8. Laura

    Thank you, Cathy, both for your feedback on the story and title, as well as for sharing a bit of your experience. I completely relate to what you said about it being hard to remember with all the iterations we go through. Amen!

  9. Laura

    Thank you, Mary Ellen! It’s fun how it grew from a simple upgrade of my free ebook for subscribers into a little gem all its own! And congratulations on your new book. I need to hop over to Amazon and get a copy.

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