Here {Flash Fiction}

photo shoes on line 2

She opened her eyes after her first deep sleep in three weeks, wondering how she made it to this bottom bunk plastic mattress.

“If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it!” read the poster with the outstretched-armed, blue-sashed cartoon Jesus taped to the glossy-paint cinderblock wall.

“Another day, another shelter,” she mused as her arm lunged under her head where her pillow should be for her sack.  Hand grabbing air, she jerked upright, firmly smacking her forehead on the bed frame above.  Wincing, she remembered losing her things to a toothless man two days before.

The head smack made the fluorescent lighting extra bright.  She quickly scanned the beds and women around her.  She heard male voices further down the hall.

“Gentlemen versus Ladies,” she sighed, flopping back onto the bed.  “This place must be upscale.”

The room smelled like teenage boy laundry dipped in turkey gravy, and held scattered conversations directed at no one in particular.

In an adjacent bed, a wild-haired form peeked out from under a tattered blanket and sputtered words at a tightly gripped, matte-finished family photo boasting the Olan Mills logo.

“Probably from the eighties.  Probably not even her family,” she guessed of the picture.

A younger face she recognized but could not place bent down, trespassing into her dotted lined personal space.  “Hey! You slept through the meal,” it snarled with tobacco-induced grit as it thrust a napkin-wrapped biscuit under her nose.

She accepted it in silence.

Another female voice cut through the murmured chaos, announcing “Lights Out!” in a lukewarm, syrupy sweet lilt that reminded her of canned peaches.

All went dark.

“This is too much,” she thought.

She began to hear sniffles from overhead.  The high-pitched whimper of a young child.  And then the singing started; a mother-daughter duet of “Twinkle, Twinkle” and rhythmic nose-blowing.

“Oh God,” she groaned as she sat up.  “I can’t be here anymore,” she announced too loudly into the dark.  She gripped her biscuit, scooped up her lace-free sneakers and plodded to the door, half-conscious, coasting on the fumes from which she’d feed her broken soul.

Photo Credit

*Joining the Five Minute Friday writers in today’s prompt, HERE.  This piece is loosely based on my estranged aunt, who spent over half of her life homeless, despite my family’s guarded attempts to “rescue” her in the many material ways we thought necessary.  What do you think are the best ways to show Jesus to the homeless? 


19 thoughts on “Here {Flash Fiction}

  1. This is incredible, my friend. I’m with Fiona! I want more – maybe through FMF…such a fun idea. And that line about teenage boy laundry dipped in turkey gravy…hysterical! You are such a wonderful writer to read. Is your aunt “home” now?

    • Wow, Ashley…coming from someone as beautifully talented as yourself, your words are like chocolate truffles to me today! Thank you! And yes, she has gone “home,” or so we were told when a prison called a few years ago… !!!

  2. Your blog tagline alone got my attention and I’m so glad. This post was so compelling and I too want to hear the rest of the story (when you find it out).

    • Thank you!! It’s not exactly a 5 minute free-write – more like done in a few 5 minute spurts – but I love making up scenes for the characters that pop into my head. Glad you enjoyed it!

  3. I love that you created fiction out of the prompt! Such a cool idea! I loved it and so agree that it would be neat to follow this character through the prompts. 🙂 Love to hear more!

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