Hello everyone. Today author Laura Miller is sharing a piece of flash fiction. It's untitled and, according to the author, she isn't sure where she's going with it, "but it seemed really beautiful." I agree, and am happy to present it for you all.
Laura is a writer from Michigan, where she works as a special education teacher. She has published short stories and poetry in several journals, including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Word Riot, Tonopalah Review and SLAB.
By Laura Miller
She stood on the seashore, waiting for his ship to make asilhouette of the blushing sky and thus end the fear she had clutched like a handbagsince the evening before when the storm had rolled off the water like so manywaves of nausea, and broken far off shore.
She had watched it from the window of the bedroom theyshared, from the proverbial worn wooden floor she walked when the weatherturned, remembering the first moment she realized Paul loved her, having lovedhim since before she could remember.
But women are foolish, and Grace believed letting this maninto her life had been the most foolish of all. And even with this passingstorm and the appearance of his sails against the rising sun, another wouldform to take its place during the cold season and she would walk again, thebaby in her gut churning as its father did upon the ocean.
She looked down at her hand, the one he had taken inmarriage even before he knew about the child, and saw that it was trembling. The storm had come just past midnight andsettled into a wistful calm by first light, but still she knew it had takenPaul with it.
His ship had been duethis morning, and none had been seen on the harbor or the wide, flat baybeyond.
The faces of thepeople she saw in the streets registered the same fear she felt as they steppedaround her, looked away, watching as she roped her fingers over her growing belly. Knowing. Surely. All of them.
And still she stood because there really was nothing else todo. She stood and watched as the sunplayed coy with the low-lying clouds, twisting them into the shape of a sail,the light catching what had been the color of Paul’s hair, spinning strands of sky into darkenedgold.
Grace stood until someone came to get her, Mrs. Calhounperhaps because she was too numb for certainty, and followed as the woman led her to the bed they had shared as man andwife.
Before that- if she were bold enough to speak the truth.
Mrs. Calhoun’s hands were on her brow, smoothing as shewould a wrinkled sheet as she told her to lie down.
But she would have rather slept in the spare room, for thepillow didn’t bear the imprint of Paul’s head, because Grace did not dare shakeit out when he was at sea.
Because removing this talisman would be part and parcel toremoving Paul himself.
And she was superstitious.
As she had been since she sawher first wraith.