This is Weekly “Fiction in a Flash Challenge” Week #21. Each week Suzanne Burke will be featuring an image and inviting us to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing. Maximum word count: 750 words.
Here is the week #21 Image Prompt.
A Kind Soul
“Cemetery is my favorite place for contemplation, reading, and writing,” Jeremy said, keeping his eyes on the road.
“It’s peaceful, for sure. You don’t have to talk to anyone unless you speak a ghostly language.” Betsy glanced at him.
“I like to walk around when I think about writing. But then I started reading the tombstones. There’re interesting stuff.”
“Yeah? I can’t think of any interesting things among the dead.”
“I read the descriptions of the deceased on the tombstones. It made me think of the lives of these people and the legacy they left behind.”
“Oh, I see. It reminds me of a meeting with the dead last week.”
“What? Did you know someone who died?”
“No, it’s just my friends. Me and six girlfriends take turns to play dead. We met at Charlotte’s basement. We lit candles around the room. The ‘dead person’ lied on a massage table in the center of the room. The rest of us were standing around, took turns to read the eulogy. After the eulogy, we went upstairs for the reception in the living room. The ‘dead person’ could reflect, comment, and ask questions.”
“Have you played dead yet?”
“No, I’m the last person. After our first meeting, it made me think of what life is all about, what my priorities are, and what I would like people to remember me.”
“It sounds like serious stuff. Oh, we’re here.”
“Exactly. Now tell me what we’re doing here?”
“Well, it’s a long story. I haven’t told you all about it because I wanted to get here as soon as I could. Anyway, I was walking around the cemetery reading the tombstones yesterday. On one of them, instead of a description, there was a web link. I copied it and did a search. Guess what I found out?”
“What? You haven’t told me yet.”
“The website has only one page and one message. It reads,
You were the first person who came to my graveside. You even stopped to read the engraving on the tombstone. I appreciated your interest and kindness. I would like you to visit my home. I have a message for you. Please find the front door key which is in the garden directly behind the fireplace in the living room. There’s a loose brick at the bottom on the right of the red brick wall. Remove the brick to retrieve the key. Enter the house and find the rug in front of the fireplace in the living room. Locate a envelop with my wishes in it. You’ll find out what to do next.
There was an address and a map. So I called you right away and asked you to come with me this afternoon.”
“Oh, wow! What an adventure. This house seems to be neglected for ages. So, we’re looking for the key.” Betsy was getting excited.
“First, we need to locate the living room to have a point of reference.”
“Let’s circle around the house and find a window with a view into the house.”
“All the windows are boarded up.” Jeremy surveyed the surrounding.
“Come here. The board on this window got a crack. See if you can make out anything.”
“Thanks, this looks like a living room. If we walk to the end of this wall and turn left, we should find the red brick wall behind the fireplace.”
“This is a big house… Okay here’s the red brick wall. Now let’s find the key.”
“There it is. Hurry to get in before dark and open some windows. There may not be light inside.”
“Look at all the oil paintings on the wall, and a grand piano in the living room. Yes, there’s a Persian rug.”
“Good, I found it. The envelop is under the rug right in front of the fireplace.”
“Open it and read the message.”
“Okay, it says,
I was an orphan and worked day and night all my life to get ahead. I had no fun, no family, or friends. You were the only kind soul who came to my graveside. My attorney is the executive of my will. He’ll distribute all of my assets except this house to a designated orphanage. This house and everything in it will be yours as my appreciation to you. My attorney is expecting you.
There’s a business card of the attorney.”