Carrollton League of Writers, my writing group, had a Flash Fiction Contest a few weeks ago. Flash Fiction is a complete story of between 300 – 1000 – 1500 words. Ours was 1000 words or less. It was judged by author, Amber Royer (Check out her historical fiction books!) And guess what!!! I won 2nd place!!! I’m so excited. My first contest and my story placed 2nd!
My story was inspired by an oil painting my momma painted many years ago and I’ve always wanted to write a story about it. So when the opportunity came along to write a flash fiction story AND enter it in a contest (motivation) I decided it was time.
So here’s my story as submitted. I hope you enjoy reading it as I did writing it.
A GOOD DAY
The star filled, cloudless sky promised productivity on the farm today. There was much to do before the spring rains and storms came. But the almanac said there was plenty of time. He loved these early morning chores before the sun came up. The quietness just before dawn soothed his spirit. Not that it needed soothing these days. Life was good. A wife who loved him, their first child on the way, a farm to provide for their needs were just a few of the blessings he enjoyed.
“Honey, breakfast is ready,” she beckoned from the back door. Her voice carried through the quietness like a stream of light showing the way home.
He pick up the bucket of milk on the way. She wouldn’t have to call him twice this morning. He was starving. The closer he came to the house the stronger the scent of bacon, eggs and biscuits. His favorite breakfast.
“Smells good!” he said as he set the milk bucket down. “I’m starving today.”
“Imagine that! Been out working since before the hint of sunrise and you’re hungry?” she teased.
After offering a prayer of thanks, they began discussing the plans for the day. She had already started soaking beans for noon so she could devote her morning to finishing the quilt for the baby. She dearly loved preparing for this child so long waited for and already loved so dearly she could scarce endure the joy.
His morning would consist of feeding the livestock and trying to get that infernal pick-up to run. He must have it running before time to take the produce in to the farmers market on Friday.
After the breakfast dishes were done, Ellie set out to finish that quilt. She always liked to have the radio on while she worked. This morning they were playing the old time gospel songs. Then came the screamin’ preachin’. She could never understand why some preachers screamed their sermons at people. It didn’t inspire listening. All it inspired was switching to another station if the signal was clear enough or just turning the radio off all together. Nobody wants to be screamed at on this beautiful morning.
She only had one more row of quilting and then she could hem the quilt. She had enjoyed this one so much. Maybe because it was shades of blue, her favorite color. Or maybe because it was for her own child this time. Done! She could finish that hem first thing after dinner and maybe spend a little time in the flower beds this afternoon. It was shaping up to be a wonderful day.
Charlie was gritting his teeth while tightening down that spark plug. Automotive repair was one of his most dreaded chores. Click, click, click. Drip, drip, drip. The pungent smell of oil and gasoline infused his nostrils and the grease stained his hands. What a mess. And then, he heard it. The engine starting up with the first turn of the ignition! Today was a good day!
“Oh, my, Ellie!” He raved. “These beans and cornbread hit the spot!”
“No suggestions on how to make them better today?” She asked with just a twinge of sarcasm.
“Well, I must confess. I added a little sugar when you weren’t looking,” he admitted sheepishly.
“Like you do every time we have beans. Why do you think I don’t ‘add a little sugar’ myself?” She patted his hand.
“Got the truck running,” he told her as he stood to take his plate to the sink.
“Really? I didn’t hear any hollerin’ this morning,” she said with a giggle following him to the sink.
They froze and stared out into the West pasture watching as the milk cows trotted toward the barn. What a strange site in the middle of the day. In the time it took for them to eat a plate of beans, the sun had been hidden behind the darkest, thickest clouds they’d ever seen.
They ran outside to get a better look. The clouds were boiling like a vat of dye fighting whether to become black or keep some hint of blue.
They watched in wonder as the cows came up to be milked as though it was nightfall. The chickens were vying for their favorite nest in the hen house. The rooster was crowing obviously confused about the time of day. The cattle left in the pasture were turning away from the gusting wind.
“I’m going to pull the pick-up in the shed and get those cows in the barn,” Charlie informed Ellie as he sprung into action. “Do you think you can hurry the hens into the coup and then shut it up?”
“Yes, I’m fine. I’ll take care of that and then get in the house and wait for you.”
They each fought the wind as they hurried to take care of the cows and chickens and fight their way back to the house.
Ellie was just stepping up on the porch when the air exploded with thunder. She instinctively spun around toward the barn and she saw a fist of lightening hammer down on the shed. Where was Charlie?
“Charlie! Charlie! Where are you?” The wind was so strong and loud that her voice seemed to fall at the edge of the steps.
The rain fell like sheets of water. Then she heard a faint voice, “Get in the house, Ellie!” It was Charlie, running. They both rushed into the house and embraced. They were together.
By the time Charlie had gotten into dry clothes, the storm was past. They walked out to the shed to see the damage. Charlie cleared the fallen lumber away from the truck, climbed in and turned the key knowing all his work that morning had been for nothing. The engine came to life with a few coughs and sputters. The livestock were all safe. The crops were wet but not ruined. They were safe. It was a good day.