Amy C over at Romance Book Wyrm and Dottie over at Tink's Place have come up with the idea for a Monday Morning Flash Fiction challenge. Each Monday a new picture prompt will be posted and if you choose to participate - you post your story on Friday - 350 words, give or take.
And here is picture prompt #54:
And here is picture prompt #54:
By Michelle Greathouse
Elenora looked around her and was appalled at what she saw. Why had Philip allowed the beautiful garden to fall into such a state?
She wanted everything to be ready for the arrival of the baby. After several years of marriage and dozens of disappointments, Elenora was ecstatic with the pending birth.
Gathering the skirt of her dressing gown, Elenora turned to head back into the manor and stopped, hand flying to her chest, a gasp lodged in her throat. The manor was in disrepair.
What madness was this?
“Philip. Philip, where are you?” Elenora stepped gingerly around the overgrown weeds and gave a wide berth to the cracked and crumbling cement of the patio.
She reached the french doors only to find them locked, she banged on the doors and yelled until her voice was a harsh whisper - but still, no one came to the door.
Placing a protective hand on her protruding stomach, Elenora eased herself onto the bench beside the unyielding door and sobbed.
Elenora startled at the clearing of a throat, “Excuse me ma’am, are you Elenora?”
“Yes, oh yes.” She blotted her face. “Philip. Is that you?” The man looked so much like her Philip - but he was older.
The man approached cautiously. “No ma’am. I am Charles, Philip is my father. May I sit?” He indicated the bench Elenora perched upon.
“Yes, please. Where are my manners? I would offer you refreshment, but I seem to be locked out of the house.”
Charles sat, a sad smile upon his face. “You are more beautiful than your pictures.” He cleared his throat. “Tonight is my birth day.” He checked his watch. “According to my father, I was born four hours from now.”
He began his story. A story about a man and woman who loved each other very much. A woman who was so happy to be expecting her first child. And then the sadness of her death in childbirth.
“My mother never had the chance to hold me and my father was so distraught, he left our home, taking me away and never returning. The thought of living in the home without her - was too much for him to bear.”
Elenora once again wiped tears from her face. “You poor boy. My heart breaks for you and your father. He must have loved your mother very much.”
“He did. He never re-married. He is older now, almost seventy and his health is declining. He has lived a full life and is looking forward to being reunited with my mother.”
Elenora thought for a moment. “I do not wish to seem uncaring, but what has this to do with me?”
Charles reached for her hand. “The story is about you. You are my mother. For years I have heard tales of a woman walking the garden one night a year - the night of my birth - and tonight, on my forty-fifth birthday, I wanted to see if it were true.”
“You mean I am dead. I have been a ghost for forty-five years?” She paused. “I wanted - no, I needed to meet you. To know that you are alright.”
The two spent the next four hours talking and laughing and yes, crying. Charles showed Elenora pictures of his family. His wife, Constance and his children, Hank and Nora. Yes, Elenora after his mother.
As the dawn came and the sky began to lighten Elenora placed her hands on Charles’ face, one on each side and gently tilted his face down. She placed a kiss on his forehead and smoothed his hair back.
“Thank you my son. I have been lost for so many years and you have found me. I can rest easy now and need not return. Promise me one thing.”
“If it is within my power, Mother, it is yours.”
“This house was meant to be lived in - to hear the ringing of children’s laughter echo in the hallways. Come back. Make this your home. Be happy.”
As the first rays of sun streaked the sky pink, Elenora smiled at her son one last time. “I love you Charles.”
“I love you Mother. Be at peace.”
Six months later Charles and his family moved into the manor, four months after that his father passed away.
It has been several years now and Elenora has not been seen. Charles is sure that his parents have finally found peace.
Word Count: 760
I hope you enjoyed this one. It was a little sad. Have a great weekend.