Bruno visited daily, bringing little treats to cheer her, longing for a spark of interest in the darkness of her eyes.
He knew it wasn’t his fault. The road was treacherous; he hadn’t expected her to be there. He hoped she wouldn’t blame him. In fact, as he’d lifted her into his car he could swear he’d seen a flash of gratitude in her expression.
He knew it was destiny. Guilt, gratitude—they were immaterial. This was love.
When her shattered shell healed, Bruno would take her home, and this little turtle would never be alone and vulnerable again.
After a l-o-n-g hiatus, I thought it might be time to return to the fray and submit a 100 word story to Friday Fictioneers again. I hope I haven’t become too rusty. I can feel my flash fiction joints creaking and groaning as I write, but nevertheless, here goes.
Many thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting Friday Fictioneers.
“It was here. I’m sure.”
“But where are the shelters, the food tents? We can’t land here, in this bleak, soulless place. It’s worse than home.”
“Remember, friend—at home we were persecuted, starved out or hunted down. And home is a lifetime away. There’s no returning.”
“So now what?”
“We decide. Drift through space until the ship dies, or stay. We’re strong now. We have knowledge–to share or use against this planet. After all, they once welcomed us.”
“Look. There’s a sign. It says – New border security policies are now in force. Aliens attempting entry will be destroyed.
“Look, Salvatore. New York. New beginnings for us.”
Salvatore grasped Mama’s eager, outstretched hand. Here he would invest the nugget of greatness he knew was within him and make his mark. He wouldn’t shrivel and stoop, lungs destroyed like Papa’s, in the sulphur mines.
Already, at nine, Sal knew what he needed: skilled teachers, opportunities.
Shepherded down the gangplank with his brothers and sisters, Sal felt the weight of his good fortune, his pockets heavy with assets. He’d been lucky during the voyage. He’d gathered rich pickings in carelessly concealed trinkets and cash. There’d be a market in New York.
I’m contributing some historical fiction to Friday Fictioneers this week. I’m not sure why my thoughts flew so swiftly to this particular Sicilian immigrant family arriving in the land of opportunity, but Salvatore certainly did leave his mark, in his own way.
The early blossoms were perfect. At first no-one noticed. Helen called a cheery hello as she passed, and George waved good morning as he watered his yellow roses.
Soon the bushes were a riot of purple, and Penelope’s neighbours stared, from a distance. George stayed indoors.
Penelope completed her project. This was who she was – a woman with purple flowers and a matching purple door.
The end was swift. Penelope’s padlocked purple door remained a warning to passers-by that the Ministry of Civic Harmony would not tolerate subversive colour schemes. This was a yellow street. Just yellow.
Once again I’m dragging the chain this week, but hopefully someone will still be browsing through the Friday Fictioneers link-up and drop by to read my story. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting this weekly flash fiction event.
I open the chest and feast on the sight of my mother’s dresses. Greens and blues and rich ochres – shades of Earth and sea and sky. I have her colouring. I could wear these now.
Father should have disposed of them all, but he refuses, believing in miracles.
I close the lid and continue to my mother’s couch. We sit together, two black-shrouded figures. I stroke her arm to still the tremor that has lingered since the caning, since the vibrant colours of her skirt glimpsed beneath a wind-blown black burka offended a spying neighbour, and we finally understood the new morality.
This story came to mind after hearing a brief radio news item this morning about ISIS “morality police” in one of their remaining strongholds in Syria being out and about measuring the length of men’s beards. The irony of the phrase struck me anew.
In 2002 I taught English to a group of Afghan men who had been accepted into Australia as refugees. I heard some of their stories of atrocities, and since then the plight of victims of cruel regimes is never far from my mind.
This post is for Friday Fictioneers, a weekly flash fiction link-up hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.You can read the other 100 word stories here.
‘Oh mum, why can’t we keep him? Look at him – he likes it here with us. I promise I’ll look after him. He’ll be no trouble. Can we please?’
‘No, Carolyn. I’ve explained this already. He seems content now but he needs to go back with the others. One day is all they can take. After that they change. They get used to all the attention and start to expect it. Before long they’re thinking the whole world revolves around them.
‘We’ll get your father out for a visit again, but at six o’clock he goes back into the compound.’