Die Writing

Twin Oaks (FFC 2016)

Posted in Uncategorized by erdaron on July 26, 2016

Aside
I am participating in NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction Contest. This involves writing several very short stories (under 1000 words) over the course of several months. After each story is submitted, we may open it up for public commentary, since feedback is a major focus of this event.

Here is my first-round efforts. The prompts were romance, at a nursing home, involving a locket.

Victory Day
 “Annie?” Benjamin gently rapped on the slightly ajar door.
 “Yeah,” came a soft answer. Benjamin pushed the door open and stepped into the small, simply appointed room.
 “It’s Sully’s birthday,” she said distractedly after a pause. She stood by the dresser, an array of medals laid out in front of her. A small brass locket rested on her fingertips, cracked open. The locket shared its chain with a golden band, still as shiny as the day Annie received it.
 The room was full of sunlight, and it made her outline glow.
 “That’s right, Annie.”
 “Funny, somehow, don’t you think? Born on the Victory Day he didn’t get to see.” She studied the tiny photograph inside the locket. It did not matter that her eyes could no longer make out its every detail. The image of the gallantly mustachioed man was immaculately preserved in her memory.
 “Well, here we are, old and decrepit, and that rascal is forever twenty.”
 “Decrepit?” Annie looked up at Benjamin and smiled. “Speak for yourself.”
That smile instantly made his throat dry and scratchy. Just as it did when he was seventeen, and his best friend Sully introduced him to his dazzling main girl, and every time after that. It’s true, he thought, decrepit you are not, and never will be, for no length of time can grind away your grace. He looked down, straightened his uniform, and coughed to get his voice back.
 “It’s uh… I hear they got a right lovely turkey dinner set up for us. Roasted a real turkey even.” He stepped back into the hallway, with its aging carpeting and fluorescent lighting.
 “I think the sixty-five year anniversary deserves a real turkey, don’t you, Ben?”
 She strode the few short paces across the room, joined Benjamin in the hall, and took him by the right elbow. He looked down the hallway, as if searching for someone, while she looked at him. She looked at his perfectly ironed uniform, the gleaming medals, the kind, tired eyes. Something about his eyes has not changed since Sully introduced her to his funny, quiet best friend.
 “Sixty-five years, eh? That war’s been so long ago, sometimes I think it was a movie. And I was there!” She beamed.
 She thought about his eyes, and how the war had put the weariness in them. He came back bearing it and it never quite went away. She remembered how seeing the cracks in his eyes broke her heart more than anything about the whole war. It did not make her cry, the way she did over Sully’s box of medals. It just filled her chest with sadness like cold wet rocks, to see Benjamin worn down in such a way, and to be bound to stay an arm’s length away.
 Benjamin clasped his left hand over hers. She saw a bare finger where his wedding band had rested for almost as long as she had known him. Her breath shallowed with anticipation, eyes darted at his.
 “It’s been six months, just about.” He met her gaze, and nodded. “Shall we be along, then?”
 Annie rested her right hand on Benjamin’s shoulder. Her lips curled into a smile on their own, and her eyes momentarily glistened.
 “Let’s.”
 They started down the long corridor toward the banquet hall, joining the sparse, plodding procession.
 “Buy your girl a drink?”
 “My dear,” he looked up to her, returned the smile. For a moment, he seemed to be as much at ease as ever, the weight of his countenance lifted. “I have an in with the barkeep. It’s top-shelf punch for us tonight.”

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