I once entered a flash fiction contest, under 700 words, and we had to pick an object from about 10 things, and use it in the story. Guess what I picked. Even though I didn’t even get an honorable mention, I was tickled at telling a complete story in under (648) 700 words.
I’d love to know what you think of it.
Grandma’s attic was way hot, and stuffed with junk she’d saved, haggled over, and squirreled away. A ball of rubber bands was so old the rubber was rotted and melting together in an ugly mess.
I didn’t know why Momma decided this was my job, I wore jeans because she’d told me I was going to mow the knee deep grass, and clear out some brush, but when we got to Grandma’s she sent me to the attic. In jeans.
I chunked the ball in a trash bag, and some gunky rubber clung to my fingers, and I tried rubbing it off on my jeans.
Dust grabbing onto my sweat made me itchy. Sighing, I began pitching old peanut butter jars, magazines, and stacks of glass ashtrays from different motels into a plastic bag I’d spread out over an upturned stool, pretty inventive if I did say so myself.
A whole shelf of junk was cleared out in no time. I tied the ends of the bag together, and dropped it out the window.
It made a satisfying smash hitting the sidewalk. I liked the sound of glass breaking, even from way up there.
Wicker furniture was stacked in the corner. I dropped those out the window too, light as feathers from the heat drying everything to a crisp. They exploded when they hit, but it was a silent unsatisfying explosion.
My grandma died three months ago, and Momma had drooped around our house all summer. She was like preoccupied with nothing, which was weird, but what could I do?
Momma waited until August, to do this. I said, “Why not wait until September when it’s cooled off?”
But she said, “No way Charlotte, and since you aren’t working you can be a little useful before going back to school.”
I couldn’t wait to leave. Not that school was all that great, being on academic probation, and all.
Momma said I had one more semester to prove myself. Seems my entire life had been a series of challenges to prove myself, improve on myself somehow, and so far I hadn’t.
The next shelf held ancient glass canning jars with wire clamps, and glass lids. I debated taking the time to put them in a box and lugging them downstairs, or letting them sail out the window.
I was supposed to be keeping my eye out for anything good for the yard sale. Grandma had arranged the jars from smallest to largest, and the ones in front were kind of cute.
I picked up a small, square shaped jar, unlatched the glass top, and found more rotting rubber; an old seal, keeping the top where it was.
It didn’t take a genius to figure out who would be cleaning all that gunk off a hundred, or so, old canning jars.
I set up a new bag, and begin pitching. There were some big jars in the corner, and I had to stretch over the shelf to reach them.
Behind them was a small amber bottle, with a cork stopper. My feet went off the floor to grab it.
I brushed sixty-year-old dust off me, and held the bottle up to the window. It still had some kind of brown liquid in the bottom, with the word Poison, in big letters, on the front.
Why would she hide it back there?
Then I thought of Grandma’s three husbands, all of them with good pensions, and her left never wanting for a thing.
A shiver went down my spine. The old bag never worked one day in her life, bragged about it, and had always been happy; even if she was half crazy, and selfish as hell.
All my life Momma said I was just like her momma. I slipped the bottle in the back pocket of my jeans. Maybe Momma had been right about one thing, after all.