Grams, A Flash Fiction Story

My father used to mow my grandparent’s lawn. He would plop my Little sister Rachel and I in the living room, with a fudgsicle and an orange crush soda, and go out to mow grass that was always way overdue for a cut. Dad would always leave the front door open, and the screen door closed so we would know where he was at all times.

I can still hear his voice as he was going out the door, “Abby, watch your sister, and no going down in the basement or up in the attic.” These were easy to follow rules because both those places contained monsters. Every kid knew that.

Grandma would pat the couch and tell me to come sit by her. She knew that between my sister and me, my imagination was more developed. I’d get off the chair that Rachel and I would fight over every visit, and my sister would quickly steal it. Getting to talk and sit with Grandma was a treat that only seemed to be bestowed on me.

Grandma always smelled of baby powder and just a tint of something that was unpleasant. I didn’t mind it, though. I loved talking with my Grandmother. She told me about olden times. Times when there were more horses than cars on the road. Times where men wore suits and women wore long dresses and hats so big, they shaded not just their faces but their whole bodies. Hearing about the hats always made me smile.

She would tell me about the day she met my Grandpa. How they’d fallen in love on a summer day. They’d had a picnic next to a pond, and Grandpa had sung to her. She would laugh and always tell me how Grandpa was the worse singer, but she loved him more because of it. Mainly because he dared to do it.

Grandma always knew when dad was just about done with the lawn. She would end our talk the same every time. With a saying, I tell my kids to this day.

She would say, “Death is an illusion for the living, Abby. Love is the only real thing.”

My dad would come in and ask me who I was talking to. A couple of times I had said Grandma, but I quit saying that because it would make my father upset. So, I would say no one. We would close the house up and go home. I really wish I could have met my Grandma when she was alive.

Flash Fiction Story, Worms

Flash Fiction Story, Worms, by Ernie Howard

The worms pushed underneath bare feet, looking for purchase into a world they had never seen. Much like this little one that would be pulled through with a skip of a rock, and a view of mortality.

He woke up that day with the sun on his face. It peeked through cheap vertical blinds that were bent and stained with the food that boys of that age eat, things sticky and full of fun.

Mom and Dad were still in bed, and his sisters snored peacefully in the next room. He quietly put on his clothes, subtracting the shoes, and walked out the front door. He was walking out to find an adventure, and dark adventure is what he would find.

The funny thing about adventure is people think it is always something fun and fanciful. But most adventures are filled with peril and the loss of innocence. They never think of the journey that is laid before the brave wonderer. They only think of the end when love conquers all, and our hero finds his purpose.

That is all opinion, though… Let’s get back to our adventure.

The sidewalk was hot, and he needed to get to cooler surfaces, the soles of his feet still burned even with the ground being cooled overnight. He was looking for grass. Temporary relief from the man-made ground that burned tender feet. Feet that had just been released out of cool sheets and a mattress that was pleasant on chapped sunburnt skin.

The trail came quick. It shot off into the woods. Mostly dirt, but a few patches of grass came every once in a while, leading the way to the lake. And the start of this adventure. This life, where we can’t take anything important back. No matter how much we try. Sights are burned into our subconscious. They sleep there forgotten for years, then they bubble up like an unwanted knock at the door.

He stepped onto the dirt. The earth cooled and caressed his feet, making the burn go away as if it had never been there. His stride was purposeful. He needed to get to the lake. This is what all the kids called it, but it was really nothing more than a pond. To a boy, on a bright sunny day, it was an ocean. It flowed in and out in his mind just like he thought the Pacific probably would.

The canopy of trees covered the trail and smiled down at him, egging him on. The clearing would come soon. There he would find a beach full of rocks. Rocks so flat and smooth, they would skip across the water like a sheet of ice in the summer.

The opening loomed before him. Soft light shined through leaves that had already arrogantly the bitter cold of the winter. The doomed leaves said hello and then went about their business. The dim light turned back into a bright sun that kissed the boys already tanned skin.

The beach awaited. Rocks of all shapes littered the ground in hopes of a throw. The boy reached down. Spying one slender and smooth. He held it up to the light and watched the sun glint off its sharp edges. He reared back and threw the piece of earth at the surface of the water, never once thinking of what would become.

He didn’t think of the worms looking for purchase in a world they had never seen. He didn’t think of those dark places until he saw the face that shined like the rock that he had just skipped across the water. The sun glinted off of bloated cheeks.

The face looked up at the sky as if to ask why. One eye and nostrils were visible to this lighted world. The rest was in darkness. Dark like the place the worms try to escape.

RED HAT, Flash Fiction Story

Flash Fiction Story, “RED HAT” by Ernie Howard

RED HAT

Sherri glanced at the bumper sticker and had to laugh. Yes, a giant meteor might be better in this current political climate. It would definitely be better than the two bozos that had been chosen from them… Sherri contemplated a giant rock hitting the earth as she stood outside of the school that had been assigned to her to cast her vote.

She didn’t notice the man until she felt a hand on her ass. She spun around and stood staring at a man wearing one of those stupid red hats, and sporting an even dumber grin.

“What the hell?” Sherri said. She couldn’t believe what just happened.

“Get used to it sweetie. Once he’s in office things are going to go back to the way they were. The good days, when women knew what they were for.”

Sherri couldn’t stop herself. Her hand felt like it had a mind of its own. It made a loud smack as it connected with the ass grabbers face. The ass grabber took a step back. The dumb smile was wiped clean off of his face, and his dumb red hat sat askew on his balding head.

The man rubbed his jaw, slowly his expression contorting in rage. “You damn feminists. Voting with your damn vaginas!”

Sherri was the one to be surprised now. She wanted to tell the man that she was actually voting for what she assumed was the ass grabbers candidate, but she didn’t have a chance. The ass grabber reached out and grabbed Sherri by the neck. Sherri looked around for help, but only saw open mouths, and surprised faces. She grabbed at the man’s hands. Scratching and prying at his fingers that were choking the life out of her. She would have died by the ass grabbers hands, if it hadn’t been for the meteor.

MANY YEARS INTO THE FUTURE

“What we know about the people who were here before the meteor is very limited. But from what we have gathered from what little artifacts we have, is they lived in harmony with one another.”

The professor looked out into the crowd of students.

“Please show slide 426.” The professor pointed to the large picture on the screen. “As you can see in this slide. The people of the past lived very close to one another. These flat rock formations we believe were the foundations of their homes. All of them very close together, making us believe that their communities were close nit. Almost like families.” The professor smiled out at the audience.

“Next slide please.” The professor looked up at the screen, and back at the audience. His smile had gotten bigger. “This one is my favorite. It pretty much solidifies my previous statement. In this slide you can see some of the only human remains we have of the people before the meteor. These two here died looking into each other’s eyes. The one wearing the red head adornment, that what we believe was a ceremonial headdress, is touching the woman’s neck lovingly, as she holds his hands. Two of the lucky ones. They died together. Next slide please.

Halloween Decor

Halloween decor

“Is that guy ever going to take down his Halloween decorations?” Rob said, as he rubbed the crust from the corner of his eye.

“Honey, he’s an old man, and it is probably hard for him to take them down. Everyone likes Mr. Samson’s Halloween decorations, they are always so, elaborate.” Samantha always found the good in people, it was her downfall. If you didn’t stick up for yourself people would walk all over you, Rob thought.

“His Halloween decorations are always great because he just adds to them from the year before. I mean look at that damn scare crow, it’s falling apart! I have had it! The HOA lets this guy leave his crap up all year, but if I have one weed in my yard I get a fine. I’m bringing it up at the next meeting.” Robs ears were getting hot, which meant he was about to lose it.

“It’s not a big deal, leave it alone.” Samantha grabbed both of his ears and pulled him to her lips, kissing him and making an exaggerated smooch sound. “I’ll see you tonight Honey.” She was out the door before Rob could get in a rebuttal.

He watched as she put her purse in the car, and looked across the street. Mr. Samson was fussing with a plastic bat that had seen better days. The string that attached it to the front door was frayed and looked like it would break in a slight breeze. His wife turned towards the window and mouthed the words, “calm down.” Rob raised one eyebrow and shook his head. Samantha threw up her hands as she got into the car and drove away.

Rob continued to watch the old man through the window. He fiddled with one of the Styrofoam tombstones that had fallen over and made his way back to the front door, pausing at the ragged scare crow that sat on a cobwebbed bench on his front porch. Mr. Samson reached out with his shaky old hand and patted the infernal thing on the head. Rob scratched the dime sized birthmark on the top of his hand, as he did when he was anxious, or something unnerved him.

****

The HOA meeting went just like Rob thought it would, with him shouting, and nothing being done about the eyesore across the street. They didn’t want to hear about Mr Samson’s never ending Halloween Decor. They had bigger problems. Like broken sprinkler heads, weeds, and a dwindling budget. Rob was asked to leave and never return to another meeting; which resulted in him getting physically removed by a large man who had the smell of liquor on his breath.

Rob frantically scratched his birthmark as he walked down the street. His ears felt like they were on fire when he paused in front of Mr. Samson’s yard. The tattered cloth ghosts, and sun bleached spiders only adding to the heat that originated in his ears, but now seemed to have found a home in the front of his head. He was done. If you wanted to have something done in this world you had to do it yourself. The first thing he would throw away was that damn scarecrow! He walked up the man’s driveway, kicking a rotting pumpkin out-of-the-way as he went. He lost his balance when he reached the front porch, slipping on the rotted pumpkin juice on his shoe. He reached out as he fell, grabbing onto one of the scarecrows arms, ripping it from its body. A stream of maggots and cockroaches came flowing out of the hole falling onto Rob’s face.

“What the hell!” He said, sending a maggot that had made it to his mouth, flying. He didn’t even feel the needle go into his neck, the old man was lightning fast for his age.

****

Those weeds are getting out of hand, Mr. Samson thought, as he stared across the street. He needed to notify the HOA. He hadn’t seen Mrs. Lawson work on her lawn since last February. He realized she was in mourning, but her yard was getting ridiculous. I mean what were they? Savages? He sighed, looking down at his new scarecrow. Well new as of last year. After Halloween he would have to replace it, it was just getting to tattered. The straw smelt funny, and look at that, one of the gloves was coming off. Mr. Samson pulled the glove up, covering the dime sized birthmark it had exposed. That will have to do for now. Halloween is only a day away. He patted the top of the scarecrows head and went inside.

Happy Halloween!!!

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