lost,” her mother spat. “I have company coming over.”
stared out the rain-streaked window. “Where should I go?”
don't care. Take a walk. A long walk.”
watched her mother lean into the mirror and apply her lipstick. “When
should I come back?”
mother blotted her lips on a folded tissue. “Your father wanted
children, not me.”
died.” Cassidy chewed on the sleeve of her sweater.
left you behind.” Her mother shook her head. “Look at that
let herself out the back door and stepped from the porch. She wove
through the yard, picking weeds, pretending they were flowers. An oak
tree stood tall in the rain, refusing to relinquish its leaves to
autumn. Cassidy sat beneath it and leaned against the trunk. She
picked up an acorn; examined its smooth and waxy surface before
pushing the point of it into her index finger and studying the
impression left behind. Everywhere she looked, there were discarded
acorn hats, which she fitted onto her fingers to make a family of
ten. She smiled. Everyone in this family loved everyone else. Nobody
had strange men come over to spend an afternoon.
saw a robin on the ground, dead. Its black eyes stared. Its yellow
feet grasped at emptiness. She rose and sneaked into the house;
tiptoed to her bedroom. There was a truffle box in the back of her
closet. Her mother's last boyfriend had brought it over, presenting
it with an awkward little bow. Her mother had eaten them on the spot,
all six, before telling her boyfriend to leave.
told Cassidy through her tears that she thought he was the one;
thought he'd hidden away an engagement ring inside one of the
Cassidy brought out the box, inhaled its sweet scent and headed back
outside. She lifted the bird into the box and set on the lid. She
used a flat rock to dig away at the soft moss that grew beneath the
oak. The rain grew heavier and Cassidy continued to dig until she had
a hole deep enough; wide enough to accommodate the cardboard coffin.
tucked the box into the ground and studied it. She felt she ought to
say something important. Was anyone watching? She looked around the
yard and cleared her throat. “I'm sorry, bird.” Then, feeling the
sentiment was less than adequate, she launched into the prayer her
father had taught her as he lay dying last summer. She thought of the
clean white sheets tucked around her father's frail body. She filled
the hole with muddied dirt and patted the sodden moss back into
she leaned against the base of the tree. Her body left only a small
impression in the soft and mossy dirt.
later, the boyfriend woke. “Where's your daughter?”
mother shrugged. “I told her to take a long walk.” Then she
laughed and rolled onto her side.
For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, Wendryn gave me this prompt: I like long walks, especially when they're taken by people who annoy me. - Fred Allen.
I gave SAM this prompt: You just kicked over the photographer's light. What now?
Labels: flash fiction, scriptic.org