Flash Fiction Challenge: Random Photo Story

I kept asking for writing prompts, which was silly, since Chuck Wendig offers challenges once a week.  This week’s challenge is to write a 1,000 word story based on three randomly generated Flickr photos.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t spend quite a bit of time looking for just the right three photos.  But, after much searching, these are the three I settled on:

http://flickr.com/photos/45635074@N05/6334912731/
http://flickr.com/photos/25046254@N07/5661305023/
http://flickr.com/photos/8585817@N06/3269399969/

Stories Never Told

I remember sitting here, on this rock, in this field, telling you to look around you.  Look at the trees, the tall grass, that creek bed glimmering in the sun.  I said, “This will never change.  Those trees will outlive us, and probably already have.  The creek as well.  And the grass will keep growing, and generations of birds will keep singing.”

I said, “This will go on with or without us.”

I thought, This will go on without Nicole.

It was a sunny day in May.  As we sat here, Nicole had been dead for eight hours.  Twenty four hours before, the three of us had been sitting together on this rock.  All of the blood was still in her veins, all of her hair was still on her head, her face was still beautiful.

And now, six years later, it’s hard to remember what she looked like, what her voice sounded like.  And the scenery has changed.  Trees have fallen under the pressure of winter snows, the creek has acquired new twists and turns, and for some inexplicable reason the rock we sat on has split in two.

It had been the three of us, and then the two of us, and now it’s just me.

Anyway, I’m only here because I’m visiting my family and I wanted to see this place one last time before my mother dies and I never have a reason to come back.  But today, on this snowless, muddy, January day, the magic has been robbed from our secret place.

I walk on anyway, up the hill, toward the wolf tree at its top.  The grass still doesn’t grow below its wide spread branches.  I can almost hear the phantom whisper of wind through long-fallen leaves.

Here is the place where we spread out our blanket so many times over our years together, the musky smell of autumn in our noses.  We kissed for the first time, made love again and again, right here in this spot, on that blanket.

I run my finger over the grooves you made in the oak tree that spell out our initials encompassed by a heart.  Slowly, I walk around the tree.  My heart feels as if it’s slowing in my chest as I search for the bullet scar in the tree trunk.  And there it is, just below my hip.  I wince and look away.  I don’t want to remember what you looked like when I found you.

Here is the place where it all ended.

I want to remember you with all of your blood in your veins, still warm with life.  When you were still beautiful.  When you were still in love with me

You don’t know it, but you were the best part of my life.  I never understood why you chose me.  Where you were fireworks, I was a whisp of cloud in a milky morning sky.  Where you were the crash of symbols and the rumbling of drums and the wail of a guitar, I was a single harp string.  I was shy and quiet and you were a chorus of summer thunder.  You were the warm center my world crowded around and I was the brush of a winter breeze against yellowed grass.  You were beauty and love and life, and I, I —

Meow

The sound startles me.   I look up into the branches at a kitten, alone in the winter, curled up in the crook where branch meets trunk.  I reach my hand up – psst psst psst – but the cat doesn’t move, rather it curls tighter into its little ball and watches me with its dark little eyes.

I sit down where you sat, lay my head against the tree, and feel the same sensations you did in your last moments of life.  The damp, cool earth under my legs, rough bark against my spine.

This is the last time I will mourn for you.  She left, but she didn’t have a choice.  You left because you were a coward.

Finally, the cat does come down to me.  I lift my head from my hands and look at it.  His little black eyes hold mine, ears perked up, head cocked.

Meow

I reach out and offer my fingers for the cat to sniff.  He rubs up against my hand.  I scratch behind his ears.  I smile.  He purrs.

And I’m walking away from this place, for good and all.  I’ll never come back again.

And I’ll take the cat with me.  I’ll feed it and love it and comfort and spoil it because, unlike you, I won’t leave something so small and fragile alone in the cold.

1/25/12
784 words

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3 responses to “Flash Fiction Challenge: Random Photo Story

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