I found myself with a spare 30 minutes tonight and an itch to write something short so I followed the lead from some of the Flash! Friday regulars and popped over to Finish that Thought. The idea is that you get a starting sentence and have to take the story from there. This week the starting sentence was The gate still squeaked and there was an optional challenge to write the entire story with no dialogue. Here’s what I came up with.
The gate still squeaked, yet another chore on the list that Dad will never get round to. I can still hear Mum’s voice, nagging him to fix it before their guests arrived, because that’s the kind of thing Mums notice when they visit each others homes. The thought makes my stomach sink with the realization that the list will never be finished now, all those items put off until ‘tomorrow’ with that assumption that tomorrows were unlimited. No-one bothered to tell the drunk driver, one beer too many and all my parents tomorrows disappeared in an instant. The thought twists my insides and I feel the darkness swell again, I need to stay focused.
I stare at the sign declaring that the main stage of all my childhood memories has been SOLD. A nice young family is moving in tomorrow, complete with two kids and the scruffiest dog I ever did see. During the viewing the little girl went straight to the tree house, the one Dad built all those summers ago. She’d climbed the ladder before I could stop her, ignoring her Mothers pleas that it wasn’t safe. My Mum always said the same thing, and I paid just as much attention. I’d sleep up there when it was warm enough, dreaming amongst the clouds in my very own castle. It seemed so high off the ground then, but now I can reach it on tiptoes. Did I grow up or did my imagination shrink?
I clench my fists and walk in through the back door. The kitchen smells empty without the aroma of Mums cooking. She was always trying something new, never afraid to fail. Tears well in my eyes at the thought of the infamous Lamb Vindaloo incident. I guess as you get older it’s easy to forget you’ve already added the chillies. Dad finished his bowl anyway out of principle, he wasn’t one to waste food.
I head upstairs, taking each step slowly. I can’t bring myself to go into their bedroom, even though it’s empty. Instead I head down the hallway, to what will always be my room. It feels so small now, barely able to contain me. A memory pops into my head unbidden, a tea party with my Dad. He let me do his makeup, Mum chuckled for days.
I run from the house, no longer in control. It was a bad idea to come back, there’s no closure here, only heartache. I slam the gate behind me and it shrieks angrily. I stop and stare at it, furious. I’m in the garage before I can stop myself, searching the crates until I find the old rusty can. I pour the oil carefully onto the hinges, testing them until they glide. That’s one less thing to do tomorrow.