Flash Fiction Friday

Gold Fountain Pen
Stories in under 500 words.

There. It wasn’t exactly pretty, but it would do. Betty had never been much of an artist (oh, forget it; she couldn’t even draw stick figures properly), but she guessed mom wouldn’t care. Besides, you could read the words, mostly. Oh, well. They were still halfway legible.

Welcome Home Mom! A picture of a fat turtle that was supposed to be a koala bear sat in one corner. Mom loved koala bears.

Betty slid the white rectangular cake off the table and balanced it on her hands. As she slowly walked into the next room, she glanced at the microwave clock. Dad had said he’d be home at least an hour ago, but she still hadn’t heard anything from him. She didn’t think much of it. Hospitals always wanted triple check everything and it always took forever to get out the front door. Besides, Betty’s French homework had taken her way longer than she thought it was going to and she’d promised herself that she was going to be done with her homework by the time Mom got home. So it all worked out.

With careful hands, Betty slid the cake onto the coffee table and pushed it into the center. Straightening up, she looked around the room. All was neat and clean, just as Mom liked it. A pink streamer hung across the archway that led to the kitchen with block letters welcoming her home.

There came a click at the door. Betty spun around and held out her arms, but it was just her father who came into the room. “She out in the car?” Betty moved towards the door, but stopped when she saw the tears brimming her father’s eyes.

“Betty, honey, Mom’s not coming home.”

Betty felt a stone hit her stomach. “Why? I thought she was all clear. How much longer does she have to stay?”

Betty’s father blinked and a tear plummeted down his cheek. “Sweetheart, she’s not ever coming home.”

The world fell away. Betty felt her heart rattling inside her ribcage and her breath came out in short, desperate gasps. Her father was explaining something about advanced stages, diseases in dormancy, and other unimportant medical explanations, but Betty heard none of it. Before her eyes, the world morphed into a strange, incomprehensible place that she couldn’t understand. Looking around the room, Betty stared wide-eyed at the TV her mother had watched cooking shows on, the couch her mother had fallen asleep on, the cake that she should be eating right now.

Betty felt a horrible cry escape from her lips, though she heard it as if it were coming from far away. With a wail, she raised both fists in the air and smashed them down on top of the cake. White and blue frosting flew onto the carpet. Betty knelt there on the ground, her hands covered with cake, while her father wrapped his arms around her. Together, they cried, and their hot tears bled the colors in the frosting.

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