Category Archives: Flash Fiction

Fiction in a Flash Challenge Week #24 – The Odds

This is Weekly “Fiction in a Flash Challenge” Week #24. 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 #24 Image Prompt.

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Image by skalekar1992 from Pixabay

The Odds

“Christmas is around the corner. My parents are hosting the family gathering this year. My mom is sending out invitations to all our extended family. It will be 58 people if they all could come,” Margaret said.

“How often do your parents host the Christmas party?” Darin asked.

“Once every five years. My mom has four siblings married with children. My dad has one sister. They live all over the country. My grandparents live close by.”

“Most of you aunts and uncles are from the same family. It sounds cozy.”

“My mom wants you to come.”

“Of course, I’ll come. We have a small family. Just my parents, three sets of aunts and uncle, my grandparents, and me. I should spend Christmas morning with them. I’ll come in the early afternoon. Is it okay?”

“Sure, the party will be all day long.”

“I’ll be away for a few days after Christmas.”

“Where’re you going?”

“It’s a long story. Well, I have to tell you, eventually. My parents shared something with me a year ago. My dad said he couldn’t give children to my mom. He suggested having sperm donation at a fertility clinic. My mom agreed. In fact, he went with my mom for the insemination.  My dad waited for my mom’s procedure. I felt awkward that my dad is not my dad. I mean, I don’t have his genes. It doesn’t matter now. He’s my only dad. They said that having children through using donated eggs, sperm or embryos are common alternatives for couples who have infertility problem to have their biological children.”

“Oh, thank you for telling me. I got something to tell you. But tell me more.”

“My dad suggested I had a DNA test to locate the sperm donor because it was anonymous at the time of the process. Not that he wanted me to meet him, but just didn’t want to leave it as a mystery.”

“Did you do it? What did you find out?”

“I did the DNA test. Unfortunately, I found out something shocking and wished it wasn’t true.”

“What was it?”

“The DNA pointed to a doctor who used his own sperm to help around 600 women conceived. Someone started a website calling people to do DNA test to find out if this doctor was their sperm donor. The guy of the website says these 600 people were literally half-siblings. The purpose of the identification was that people who have this doctor as the sperm donor won’t end up getting married. The risk that two of the offspring may meet unknowingly and start a family of their own, which could cause serious genetic problems in their children.”

“Oh, no.”

“What’s the problem? What’s wrong?”

“My mom told me when I turned 18, that she had me from a sperm donor. She also asked me to take a DNA test to identify the donor.”

“Oh gosh, what were the odds we met?”

 “Why will you be away after Christmas?”

“Among the people responded, five of them, two men and three women, who live in the neighboring states would like to meet. After all, they are… we are half-siblings. We just want to meet and talk. Did you find out the name of the donor?”

“Yes, the last name is Vardags. He was an Oxford law student at that time, and he only made one donation. What’s the name of your donor?”

“It was Dr. Bertold Wiesner. Oh, gosh, I’m so relieved. I don’t want to call you my sister. I want you to be my wife.”

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Fiction in a Flash Challenge Week #24 – The Odds

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FICTION IN A FLASH CHALLENGE WEEK #22 – Secrets

This is Weekly “Fiction in a Flash Challenge” Week #22. 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 #22 Image Prompt.

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Photo by Marc Schaefer on Unsplash

Secrets

“Here, Liam, this is mother’s journal. Let’s collect all her personal items before the lady comes to clean the house,” Marcus said.

“I wonder what went on in mother’s mind.”

“Let’s read her last entry.”

September 17, 1969

You said you loved me. I moved in with you. I waited and waited for us to get married. You said it was love that mattered. I believed you.

We had two darling children, two cheerful and curious boys. You were proud of them. I thought you could settle down for a family and a committed life. You said it was love that mattered. I believed you.

Our boys grew into intelligent teenagers. They were outstanding students. The teacher complimented us for being responsible parents. I thought you were a proud father and family man. I mentioned about making the marriage legal. You said it was love that mattered.

I didn’t feel the love you claimed to have in our relationship. I wanted to be free from the agony, yet it’s too late. The boys needed a father for a few more years.

Our sons graduated from college. They supported themselves with scholarships and part-time jobs. We soon will have an empty nest. I asked for your commitment.

“I’m married,” you said. “It was an arranged marriage in China. The WWII separated us. I thought she was dead. I went to Hong Kong when the war was over. You and I met. It was love. Nothing confirmed her death, so I couldn’t make our relationship legal. Five years later, she went to Hong Kong and found me. It was my obligation to see her.”

You said I was your only love. I demanded your choice. You were still indecisive and said you had an obligation to her. I asked you to pack up and never come back again, and you just walked out.

I told our sons because they needed to know why their father didn’t come home.

“She told us, and it shocked me. Father seemed to be so nice to us for all those years.”

“There’s one more entry. Let’s read on.”

Words came from your wife as you passed away. So… you told her about me and your sons. I sent Liam and Marcus to the funeral service. They told me there were two children with your wife, one was seven years and the other was five years younger than Liam according to the eulogy.

Liar! Liar! Liar!

“Mother had a chest pain after this entry. We took her to the hospital and her heart shut down.”

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Fiction in a Flash Challenge Week #22 – Secrets

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Fiction In A Flash Challenge Week #21 – A Kind Soul

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.

House, Mystical, Villa, Secret, Fantasy
Image by Peter H from Pixabay

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,

Dear lady/gentleman,

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.

Respectfully,

Carlos Simpson

There’s a business card of the attorney.”

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Fiction in a Flash Challenge Week #21 – A Kind Soul

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Fiction In A Flash Challenge Week # 19 – Vengeance

This is Weekly “Fiction in a Flash Challenge” Week #19. Each week Suzanne Burke will be featuring an image and inviting you 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 #19 Image Prompt.

Vengeance

“Who are you?” Eric moaned.

“I’m your shadow.”

“Was I dead? Why am I talking to you?”

“Get up! You have a job to do and I’m here to help you.”

“What job?”

“What do you remember of your last sight?” The shadow swayed side to side.

“After my concert, my fiancée and I were going to a nightclub to celebrate.”

“Did you have fun at the nightclub?”

“No, our car was hit, and the driver got away. We were stranded on the street at 2:00 a.m. and there were hardly any cars coming by to help us.”

“Go on. What else do you remember?”

“Finally, a car stopped behind ours. Three guys dressed up in black baggy clothes came out and approached us.”

“Were they there to help you?”

“No, they were rough buys with bandanas on their heads and heavy chains on their necks.”

“What did you think they were?”

“I wasn’t sure. They crouched their shoulders and jerked the steps toward us. One of them grabbed Shelly, and two of them grabbed my shoulders, one on each side.”

“Go on, then what?”

“The thug forced on her. She screamed. The guy on my left nodded and the one on the right choked me on my neck. The first guy darted over, seized her hair, and cupped over her mouth. She jolted violently, but the thug lifted her legs and pressed them toward her face. I turned my face away from her and tried to yank free from the guy, but he put a knife under my chin.” Eric’s voice trembled.

“I wished someone drove by to rescue you.”

“The next thing was that the thug yelled from being bitten by Shelly and he fired a shot. The guy who choked me startled, and I shook free and ran toward her.”

“Was she okay?”

“The blood was gushing out of her chest and she was motionless. I snatched the thug and pounded his chest. He fired a shot at my face, and…”

“You were dead.” The shadow softened the voice.

“But why am I talking to you?”

“I’m the Crow, your dark angel. I’m here to take you to avenge the rape and murder of your fiancée, and your own death. He is in the nightclub where you were going for your celebration. Here’s the gun for you.”

*

“You might not have an unobstructed view of his face the night he committed the crime against you and Shelly. He is at the bar sitting next to the woman in red. Try to get him to move to the hallway behind the bar. We need not claim innocent lives.” The Crow added.

“Okay, stay with me and tell me what to do.”

“Point the gun at his side.”

“Move! Don’t look back.” Eric gunned against Funboy and pressed him toward the hallway away from the crowd.

“Hey, easy. Who are you?” Funboy cooperated and moved the feet with hesitation.

“I’m here to offer you a deal. One life to trade for two.”

“I’m not greedy. I always indulge one at a time, except… It’s impossible. I only had the luxury to take two when…”

“You’re correct. You murdered my fiancée and me. Too bad you only have one life to repay me.”

Funboy made a sudden turn and ran down the hallway. Eric fired a shot at his head and missed. Funboy drew the gun and shot back. Eric fell backward.

*

“Cut.” The director called timeout.

“Brandon and Michael, let me have a word with you,” Alex Proyas said to the actors.

“Alex, Brandon is bleeding. Call the ambulance.”

~ ~ ~

In “The Crow,” the lead actor, Brandon Lee was accidentally wounded on set during filming by defective blank ammunition and later died in the hospital during surgery on March 31, 1993 at age 28. With only eight days left of production, unfinished scenes used a rewritten script, a stunt double, and digital special effects.

On July 20, 1973, Brandon’s father, Bruce Lee died in Hong Kong at age 32 from a brain edema possibly caused by a reaction to a prescription painkiller.

They were buried next to each other in Lake View Cemetery, Seattle, Washington.

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Fiction in a Flash Challenge – Week #19 – Vengeance

Fiction In A Flash Challenge Week #18 – The Great Symphony

This is Weekly “Fiction in a Flash Challenge” Week #18. Each week Suzanne Burke will be featuring an image and inviting you 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 #18 Image Prompt.

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Image by Ri Butov from Pixabay

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The Great Symphony

Life is a continuum of a Great Symphony.

Adagio airs a soothing melody of sweet love,

laments the inner sorrow, and

the melancholic soul.

Maestoso pitches the triumph of a noble spirit,

pronounces the victory of a long and

hard-won battle.

Fortissimo frees the shout from the depth of the heart,

proclaims the greatest joy

has ever been told.

Pianissimo whispers to your ears, the faintest sob,

breathes the darkest secret

only to you.

Now and then, it comes the rest, and the rest.

Silence!

What tranquility it is, in the Great Symphony of Life.

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Fiction In A Flash Challenge Week #17 – Message

This is Fiction in a Flash Challenge Week #17. Each week Suzanne Burke will be featuring an image and inviting you 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 #17 Image Prompt.

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Image by Antonios Ntoumas from Pixabay

Message

A letter curled in the bottle of brown

Left adrift aimless in the open sea

Vessel reached the shore; no sailor drown

After floating miles away carrying English tea

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Left adrift aimless in the open sea

Sparks echoed the shimmering sunbeam above

After floating miles away carrying English tea

A tug in a wandering heart yearning for love

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Sparks echoed the shimmering sunbeam above

A gentle soul gazed upon the glittering wavy sea

A tug in a wandering heart yearning for love

The mysterious message begged to be free

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A gentle soul gazed upon the glittering wavy sea

Vessel reached the shore; no sailor drown

The mysterious message begged to be free

from a letter curled in the bottle of brown

(Pantoum Poem)

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Pantoum poem comprises a series of quatrains (stanzas) rhyming ABAB in which the second and fourth lines of a quatrain recur as the first and third lines in the next quatrain. Each quatrain introduces a new second rhyme as BCBC, CDCD. This pattern continues for many stanzas except the final stanza. The first line of the poem recurs as the last line of the closing stanza, and the third line of the poem is the second of the final stanza, rhyming ZAZA.

1 2 3 4

2 5 4 6

5 7 6 8

7 3 8 1

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Fiction In A Flash Challenge Week #16 – Full moon

This is Fiction in a Flash Challenge Week #16. Each week Suzanne Burke will be featuring an image and inviting you to writeFlash 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 #16 Image Prompt.

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Image by steve felberg from Pixabay

Full Moon


“Did you sleep okay last night, Son?”

“I did, Dad. Why?”

“You tossed and turned a little. The temperature dropped. I put my jacket on your sleeping bag and you stayed still. I went to sleep after that. I thought if you woke up, it would wake me up, so I didn’t worry about that. If your mom came, she would be up all night to watch you.”

“I know, Dad. Mom worries about me. She wouldn’t let me climb rocks by myself. I know she loves me. You let me do things.”

“Well, I know what you can do, but I also want you to try new things. I always watch out in case you need help.”

“I like this new pop-up tent. It’s easier to set up.”

“Yes, but I still needed your help. I couldn’t do it all by myself.”

“I like to help, Dad.”

“You always do, since you were two years old. We have a good time doing things together.”

“I had never seen a huge full moon like the one last night. I felt like I could touch it.”

“Yes, the clear sky gave us a better view of the moon.”

“Did you hear the wolves howling?”

“I did. The howling seemed to come from many directions. Do you think they howled at the full moon?”

“No, silly Dad. Why would they do that?”

“Isn’t it what we see in some wolf pictures?”

“Yeah… But my teacher said that’s the way they talk to each other. Sometimes they tell other wolves of where they are.”

“Good job, Son. You understand howling of the wolves. What else did the teacher say?”

“He said the wolves stay together as a family, like mom and dad and kids and aunts and uncles.”

“Is there a name for the wolf family?”

“It’s called a Pack, Dad. I thought you knew.”

“I just wanted to hear what the teacher told you. Okay, we’ll do a little hiking this morning.”

“Oh good, I was hoping to do that. Where are we going?”

“Do you remember where the howling came from last night?”

“I wasn’t sure.”

“That was from where we found Wolfy. When mama wolf got shot by the hunters, she escaped, but Wolfy was hiding in the brush. The hunters didn’t see him and went away. We waited for several hours, but mama wolf didn’t return. I think she got hurt terribly. We took Wolfy home to feed him. It has been a month. I think mama wolf should be healed by now. We’ll let Wolfy go back to his mom.”

“Wolfy and Zody got along so well. I wish we could keep Wolfy.”

“Cubs look like puppies, but they aren’t dogs. Alright, let’s uncover the cage and wait here. Wolfy may call his mom.”

“Okay, Dad. Will the wolves hurt us?”

“No, they won’t attack us unless we threaten them.”

“Wolfy is weaning. He is calling his mama.”

“Okay, I hear the barking, can you?”

“Yes, it’s across the field behind the trees.”

“They are moving out to the open. One wolf moved to the front but was standing there barking.”

“Oh, Wolfy is howling louder.”

“I think he recognizes mama’s voice. Okay, bring him out of the cage and put him on the floor carefully facing the trees.”

“Wolfy, goodbye. I’ll miss you.”

“I see the wolves are looking this way. Okay, let Wolfy go.”

“Okay, Dad… Now Wolfy, go to your mommy.”

“Oh good, he is running toward them. We’ll wait until they’re gone before we hike back to the campsite.”

“Thanks, Dad, for letting me come along to say goodbye to Wolfy.”

“You’re welcome, Son. I’m glad you are here to help.”

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FICTION IN A FLASH CHALLENGE WEEK #16 – FULL MOON

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Fiction In A Flash Challenge Week #15 – Inferno

This is Fiction in a Flash Challenge Week #15. Each week Suzanne Burke will be featuring an image and inviting you 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 #15 Image Prompt.

Inferno

“Shall we board up the windows, Jeffrey? The howling wind is banging on the house. Look, the windows shattered.”

“I can try, Marsha. I don’t think there’s anything we can do at this point. Nothing can hold the windows shut.”

“The debris got blown in and darted the walls, the chandelier was shocked and dropped. It’s like an earthquake.”

“I fear this is worse than the earthquake. Did you see the eerie bright orange line of flames several miles long on the news two nights ago?”

“The gusty wind was blowing this way and dropped the sparks everywhere. It scared me to death when our garage caught on fire and the flames licked into the kitchen.”

“The big fire extinguisher saved us because the firefighters were busy fighting an enormous battle.”

“My cousin called this morning saying he was exhausted but okay. The fire burned hard overnight on the slope four miles north of our city, but his fellow fire crew with the bulldozers and fire engines was able to calm the flames and keep them from coming downhill. He said the Sheriff’s deputies knocked on doors to warn residents to evacuate.”

“The drought and the humidity of 5% to 10% are not helping to contain the blaze. The news said the Thomas fire burned an acre per second.”

“Your school got hit hard.”

“Yes, the cafeteria and several wings were ablaze to the ground in just minutes. The community rushed over to help before the firetruck came. It only saved it from destroying the entire campus.”

“Winter break is coming up. I wonder what’s going to happen after the New Year.”

“It’s hard to say at this point.”

“What are we doing next?”

“I don’t know. I have the TV news and the online news on to monitor it minute by minute. Would you get our important documents, some warm clothes, water, and snack items for the road? I’ll make sure the car phone charger is in the car. We’ll have them ready for evacuation.”

“I’ll call my mom right now to tell her we’ll be heading to their house soon.”

“Look, the news just came on. The wind predicted to come this way changed the direction overnight. But there’s no guarantee of safety, so the city ordered mandatory evacuation. We must go now.”

“Would you check the freeway condition? I’m afraid thousands of people are fleeing.”

“Your parents are one hundred twenty miles away. I may have to get on and off the freeway to avoid the crowd.”

“People are anxious, we just have to be careful. My parents are ready for us.”

~ ~ ~

“Oh no, Marsha. All the homes at the foothill are in ashes. Our home is about the same as we left it.”

“It made me sad. The wildfires burned for 13 days and caused so many damages. I don’t know how people can recover from that.”

“Let’s drive around and see what we can find.”

“Did you see the Christmas decorations? Some people put garlands on the burned trees and Christmas lights on the brown shrubs. I even saw some stockings hung on a lonely fireplace. They tried to cheer up the neighborhood.”

“Marsha, I saw our school board member. I wonder what happens to the school.”

“Why don’t you ask him?”

“Hi, Mr. Jackson. Good to see you. Did the school board discuss the school opening after winter recess?”

“Oh yes, Jeffery. The board decided to bring in many bungalows to set up temporary classrooms and resume school as soon as possible. We hope to rebuild the school for next school year.”

“That’s wonderful. I’m ready to return to the classroom.”

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FICTION IN A FLASH CHALLENGE WEEK #15 – INFERNO

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Fiction In A Flash Challenge Prompt Week #13 – The Key to Unlock the Mystery

This is Fiction in a Flash Challenge Week #13. Each week Suzanne Burke will be featuring an image and inviting you 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 #13 Image Prompt.

The Key to Unlock the Mystery

“Mom, thank you for telling me about the adoption. I appreciate you and Dad. I still have this strange feeling of belonging to someone else.” Clara frown.

“I understand, Clara. Your dad and I wanted to have a family, but I couldn’t conceive, so we adopted.”

“How did you decide where to adopt?”

“Most of the countries listed the criteria of children being adopted. Many orphans had major physical or mental handicaps. We were not equipped to handle those problems. The orphans in China were either abandoned or given up for adoption because of the one-child policy. We hoped to adopt a healthy child.”

“Your document helped me to locate my birth parents. I want to meet them. This seems to be a good time for me.”

“What do you want to do when you find them?”

“I don’t know. I was always curious about living with them.”

“We support you whatever you do.”

“My flight is tomorrow night and arrives on the third day. China is fifteen hours ahead.”

“Message us and send us many pictures.”

“I will, Mom. I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life.”

~ ~ ~

Clara met her driver and translator at the airport. The city welcomed her with heavy smog covering the mountains in a distance. The sky had no trace of blue. She could gaze into the sun with a patch of light and fuzzy layers of haze.

The concrete buildings with hanging signs stretching out into the streets slowly disappeared. The sight on both sides of the car turned into scattered cottages and fields. The car bounced on an unpaved narrow road.

A small village with about fifty two-story narrow houses came into sight. The red bricks crumbled from the roofs and the fences between the houses.

“We arrived, Miss.” The driver announced.

“Xiè xiè!”1 Clara surveyed the surrounding.

The driver led her to a doorway where a weathered face woman dressed in grey top and black pants waiting.

“Nǐ hǎo?”2 The woman dropped her clasped hands and nodded at Clara.

“Nǐ hǎo? Hěn gāo xìng jiàn dào nǐ.”3 Clara reached and held her arms.

“Huān yíng. Qǐng zuò.”4 The woman extended her hand toward a chair.

“Xiè xiè.”5 Clara nodded and approached the chair.

After greeting the woman, Clara had the conversation with her through the translator.

“I’m here to learn about why you gave me up for adoption.”

“I had no choice. The government only let each family to have one child. We wanted to have a son because the son carries the family name and passes down the generations. Many women had abortions when they found out they had girls. Some of them were into seventh months of pregnancy. I didn’t know you were a girl until you were born. The only way we could have a second chance to have a son was to send you to an orphanage.”

“Did you have a son?”

“I did. My mother watched him for twelve years. My husband and I went to the big city to work in a garment factory and sent money home to my mother. We came home every three months to see our son.”

“It must be difficult not to see your son.”

“There was no work in the village. The factories are in the big cites. When our son was twelve, he got in trouble with other boys and didn’t want to go to school. I took the last train ride to come home to take care of him. I didn’t go back to the big city.”

“I’m glad I came to see you. Here is some money gift. I’ll write letters to you when I go back to the America.”

“Thank you for coming to see me. I’m happy for your bright future.”

“Xiè xiè, Ma. Zài jiàn.”6 Clara hugged the stiff woman.

“Zài jiàn.”7 She grinned and nodded.

~ ~ ~

“Clara, welcome home. Tell me about your trip.”

“It was an eye-opening journey, Mom. I had the mystery locked up for so long. Understanding was the key to set it free. I now have the balanced perspective of my past and present, and the appreciation of you and Dad for giving me a better life.”

~ ~ ~

Footnotes

1 Thank you?

2 How are you?

3 How are you? Very glad to see you.

4 Welcome. Please sit.

5 Thank you.

6 Thank you, mother. Goodbye.

7 Goodbye.

Fiction In A Flash Challenge Week #12 – The Clock

This is the “Fiction in A Flash Challenge” Week #12. Each week Suzanne Burke will be featuring an image and inviting you 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 #12 Image Prompt.

bryce-barker-cIcX_aO9LPo-unsplash

Thanks to Bryce Barker for sharing their FREE IMAGE on Unsplash.

The Clock

“I had a wonderful time with you this weekend. Thank you for inviting me over for all the meals. Both your mom and grandma are excellent cooks.”

“We could have gone out to eat, but I know my mom and dad would love to have you around as much as possible. You surprised me by taking a third serving of the Mixed Berry Crisp pie.” Michelle giggled.

“I was just eating fruits. Berries are rich in antioxidant. Your grandma made it with no crust, so there was not so much carbohydrate.” The saliva rushed out under Dave’s tongue.

“I know you’re an expert in the food business. My mom and grandma were happy when you appreciated their cooking. Grandma is making desserts only these days.”

“Dessert is the best part of the dinner.”

“I’ll tell grandma you liked her dessert. I know you told her already. She’d like to hear it again.”

“Your grandma always has a pleasant smile. She seems to be content.”

“Yeah, nothing seems to upset her.”

“Where’s your grandpa?”

“Well, he left Grandma before I was born, so I’ve never met him. Grandma was retired when I was four and Rob was six. She moved in with us and watched us kids after school. It was when both mom and dad were working”

“I’m sure she loves you and it makes her life happier to be with you kids. Did she ever talk about your grandpa?”

“She didn’t when we were younger. We didn’t know the difference anyway. She talked to me when I got older. She said Grandpa was in love with someone at work and they went away.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Your grandma must be mad at him.”

“She said she was sad but not mad.”

“Were they married long?”

“I would say it was a long time. Twenty-five years.”

“I can’t imagine what it was like. Did she talk about being lonely or think about remarry?”

“After marrying Grandpa for twenty-five years, she didn’t think she could love anyone else the same way.”

“She gives all her love to you and Rob. No wonder she is so happy.”

“Grandma is honest. She shared with me about how she worked on forgiving Grandpa. To forgive someone is not an overnight thing. She had to stop blaming Grandpa or herself. She had to get rid of the unhealthy emotions and let go of Grandpa. Once she let go of him and let him be responsible for whatever happened, her heart felt light and happy again.”

“It was an incredible story.”

“I know. I wish you could stay and be here for her 70th birthday party. It’s a holiday tomorrow.”

“There were a few things to do tomorrow before the office opens on Tuesday. I hope she likes the birthday present I gave her.”

“Yeah, I’m sure she will, but I want you to meet the rest of the family.”

“Christmas is coming up. I’ll be back for the party. Okay, I’m walking toward the gate right now. Can I call you after I arrive?”

“Sure.”

Dave went up to the counter at the gate.

“Hi, I’m late. I wasn’t looking at the clock.”

“Oh, sir. Yes, you’re too late for the boarding.”

“I’m sorry, would you call to hold the door for me?”

The ground attendant talked on the phone, then turned to Dave and said, “Sorry, sir. The captain said the door was closed. I can reschedule the flight for you, so you won’t be charged for the cancellation and re-booking.”

“Okay then. Do you have the same schedule tomorrow?”

“Hmm, yeah, I do. You’re all set. You should receive an email with a new confirmation number.”

“Thanks.”

Dave pressed a speed dial number.

“Hi, Michelle. It’s me. I’m turning around. I’ll be at your grandma’s birthday party tomorrow.”

“Great! But what happened?”

“I missed the flight.”

~   ~   ~   ~   ~

Fiction In A Flash Challenge Week #12 – The Clock

 

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