The entries for week five of the flash fiction challenge will be up for voting tomorrow morning on our blog
The winner of Week Four of the Flash Fiction Challenge is the
multi-faceted T.L. Tyson and her entry Windows.
Congratulations T – excellent work!
About the Author
T.L Tyson hails from the land of maple leaves and beavers, in other words, Canada. Her hermit-like existence allows her to delve into her writing without worrying about someone knocking at her door. Sleep is a rarity for her and she spends the night hours conjuring up new characters and thickening plots. She is constantly being lead in new directions by demanding personas and quirky ideas. Her writings cover a broad range of themes and genres, from YA urban fantasy to sea-faring historical fiction. If you catch her without her laptop, you may find her curled up reading a book or expanding her music knowledge. If you want to see more of her, check out http://tltyson.weebly.com
THE WINNING STORY
T.L. Tyson – WindowsThe sun was unforgiving. It rose early in the morning and didn’t retire at night until well past the hour in which the children should have been in bed. Dezzie complained more than usual and Eric refused to wear clothes. The Head Of The House had been too busy to drag the paddling pond out from the cellar, so Mama went down to get it herself. When she finally managed to get it positioned under the massive oak with its arms reaching out to shade the grass underneath it, the kids rushed over, pushing one another out of the way.
Mama threatened, “Don’t be hitting each other. Smarten up or I’ll take this back down to the cellar.”
It was an idle threat. She was already sweating and red faced from her efforts and there was no way she’d be hauling it back down those rickety stairs. The kids hushed, not recognizing the lack of follow through in her tone, because they wanted nothing more than to submerge their heads under the cold water and freeze the heat from their brains. Mama grabbed the hose and started filling the pool. The kids didn’t wait for the water to reach the rim. They jumped in and sat down, their legs reaching into the center, their toes touching.
Once the kids were adequately soaked, Mama came inside and sat on the bench-seat, keeping an eye on them. The Head Of The House hadn’t returned at the usual time and so Mama saved him dinner in the stove. She sat on the porch, rocking in the chair and watching Dezzie and Eric who were still in the pool, laughing and yelling at one another. The Head Of The House’s truck rounded the corner and sped down the driveway, kicking up dust in its wake.
He slammed the door when he got out, signaling to the world his anger, and Mama yelled to the kids, “Dez, Eric, come inside babies, it’s time to get ready for bed.”
“Aw, Ma,” Dezzie whined. “Can’t we just stay out a coupla minutes longer?”
“Ya, Mama, a coupla minutes?” Eric, Dezzie’s junior by three years, often liked to repeat what his older and wiser sister said.
The Head Of The House swayed down the lawn and Mama noticed the scowl on his face, even with the distance between them. She darted across the lawn, slipping on the wet grass, and grabbed her children with frantic hands. With Eric on her hip and Dezzie’s hand locked in hers, Mama pulled them into the house.
Kneeling before them, Mama hissed, “You two listen to me, and you listen close. Go up to your bedroom and shut the door, don’t come out until I do the secret knock.”
With the secret knock on the table, the kids ceased talking and dashed upstairs, out of sight. Out on the lawn The Head Of The House shouted, “Darla!” that’s Mama’s name, “Darla get your fat ass out here.”
Mama returned to the porch. The Head Of The House came marching closer, but he didn’t see the pool and he stepped in the water, drenching his shoe and jeans. Ass over tea kettle he fell, legs in the air, water everywhere. The sight was hilarious, but Mama didn’t laugh, she remained rooted to the spot, watching as he struggled to his feet.
“What the fuck is this?” he shouted, kicking the pool off to the side.
“It’s a pool,” Mama replied, a smirk at the corner of her mouth.
His head snapped up. “You think this is funny?”
Serious as a heart-attack, Mama replied, “No.”
He darted over to her. Mama flinched from the stench of liquor and sweat clinging to him and cringed when he wrapped his hand in her glossy, brown hair. Without letting up, he pulled her over to the pool and kicked her feet out from under her. Once she was on her knees, he submerged her head under the water. Mama struggled, but The Head Of The House was too strong and even with her thrashing and fighting he held her down with little effort.
Just as Mama’s body stopped fighting and started twitching, a loud bang ricocheted through the night. The Head Of The House fell to his knees and the patter of little feet could be heard dashing across the wooden porch. Dezzie ran to Mama, pulled her from the water and pressed on her chest like she saw in the television programs she watched. Soon the neighbors swarmed the yard, having heard the gunshot, and an ambulance arrived to take both the kids’ parents away.
All of this happened before the sun went down.
The rain arrived the next day and washed the heat away. Dezzie and Eric sat on the bench-seat looking through me at the pool, pressing their foreheads against my cool pane. Watching the rain snaking its way down my glass, the two kids worried over Mama.
Under his breath so only Dezzie and I could hear, Eric asked, “Will you go to jail for shootin’ Daddy?”
“I don’t know,” Dezzie replied, her voice warbling like an injured sparrow’s.
They remained silent for some time, leaning against me, and then Eric asked, “Will you go to hell?”
Ten-year-old Dezzie shrugged. “If Mama lives, I don’t care where I go.”
“What happens if Daddy dies?” Eric asked.
She breathed on my face, fogging it up, and then ran her small finger over it three times: dot, dot, line. When she removed her hand a smiley face remained behind.
“We will be happy,” Dezzie said. “But don’t tell anyone, it’s our secret.”
But it wasn’t just their secret, it was mine to. Driven by the insufferable heat of the summer, the family I’d watched for over ten years reached their breaking point. I witnessed it all, helping hide it from the rest of the world. And I couldn’t help but wonder, what would’ve happened if the rain had come sooner?
Don’t forget to see more of T. at her website.