Hello Internet! Welcome back to Monday Spark, always starting your week off on the right foot with a spark of flash fic! Today’s prompt gave me a bit of a fit. What to do with it? Where to take it? It wasn’t until I was sitting there watching the series finale of Revenge did it all click. Also that finale! Am I right! But I digress!
Today, we meet Alice and Michael, parents that can’t let go.
by Lex Chase
Prompt: A young woman dies in a car accident, her grief-stricken parents make a shocking discovery while cleaning out her apartment.
“Thank you,” Alice said, trying to smile through her heartache. “For being here.”
Michael nodded. He was always a man of few words, and his failure to communicate was what ultimately drove them apart.
But it was Jessica that brought them back together in the end.
Michael perused the mountains of boxes. “It seems you finished before I got here.”
Alice shook her head. “These aren’t Jessica’s.” She reached out, feeling over the cardboard. Warm to the touch, and scrawled with unknown handwriting designating where each box went. Living room, bedroom, kitchen.
He clenched his fist, and knitted his brows. Michael never raised his voice, but Alice knew the fire within him. “Where did her stuff go? The accident was only a week ago! Who the fuck would do this to our daughter?”
She flinched at the language. But the boxes paralyzed her. Alice couldn’t move them, and if she convinced herself there was a mix-up in the apartments, Jessica was still alive.
“Maybe we have the wrong place?” she asked, hopeful. “We could have the wrong place. I haven’t been here in a couple of years.”
“Couple years?” Michael asked, his tone wasn’t a kind one. “I came every weekend. This is the place. I know that crack in the ceiling tiles. This is the place.” He traced the path through the boxes. “Someone just moved in. Yesterday.”
Every weekend? Alice’s hope drained from her face. She had been such a good mother. Her relationship with her daughter was one of love and laughter. But Michael had been closer to her than she could have hoped to have been. Even with all of her care and advice, it was all for nothing. She still got in the car with that boy.
Michael pulled one of the boxes from the stack designated for the den, and then tore off the tape.
“What on earth are you doing,” Alice gasped and made a dive for the box.
Michael sidestepped and she caught herself on a collection marked for the living room.
“What are you doing!” she yelped nervously, “You can’t do that to someone else’s things!”
“I need to know who took our daughter’s memory away,” Michael growled. Alice trembled with the anger in his voice. After all this time, Jessica was the one to bring out the long withheld emotions in spite of the tragedy.
Michael shoved his hand in the box, and ripped out the first thing his fingers settled on. A picture frame. He froze, and his lip trembled.
Hesitantly, Alice took the picture from him. She pressed her fingers to her lips to keep from outright sobbing.
Jessica smiled at them from the picture from the day of her college graduation. They had argued furiously about Yale or Harvard. But Jessica didn’t want either. She chose Ringling instead. Michael let her have Ringling, Alice refused. But they all came to the ceremony as she accepted her BFA in Illustration. Alice even tried to smile, trying to make peace with she’ll never have the honor of saying she raised a doctor.
“These are… her things?” Michael asked. He shook his head. “But I was here last weekend.”
The sound of keys clanking on the kitchen countertop startled them out of their confusion. They huddled together, terrified of what was coming.
A tall, rugged man turned the corner and stopped when Alice glared at him in challenge.
“Who are you?” Alice demanded. “Why are you in my daughter’s apartment?”
He arched a brow. “Now, now. Grandma, Grandpa. We explained it to you, we’re all moving to Key West.” He looked over his shoulder and called out. “Jessica! Grandma and Grandpa are up in arms again.”
“Mom! Dad!” Jessica’s voice carried from an adjoining room. “Jesus Christ, no one’s died!”
Alice burst into tears, and fell against the young man. “She’s alive. She’s alive!”
Michael held back tears. “You’ve saved our daughter’s life, son. I’ll never forget your name.”
The young man smiled crookedly. “I’m Alex, Grandpa. Jessica’s husband.”
Copyright © 2015 Lex Chase. All rights reserved.