A flash fiction series in three parts today, each part is rooted in one of the writing challenges I’m participating in this week. If you missed the first two, start here and follow the links forward. Here is Part Three:
Her rich fiancé’s family took Gillian and her parents away to be buried with their boy under the Spanish moss at Bonaventure. Martin’s Pa held a service to remember them here in the parish church, what remained of them nailed tight in pinewood coffins.
“Nobody needs to see that beautiful girl all burned up,” Martin’s Ma said. She was friends with Gilly’s Mama all her life, even though Missus Cooper married a doctor and brought their daughter up polished.
Not too proper to have a gentleman in her room after dark, Martin reminded himself grimly.
Sweating in the front pew, patting his Ma’s hand while Pa prayed over the trio of burnt bodies, Martin thought he saw a glimmer of spun-gold hair, a dazzle of diamond fire, in the cooler shadows under the gallery. The mingled scents of kerosene and rose-water tickled his damp upper lip.
Awakening from restless, crackling dreams that night, Martin heard a scratching at the window. Heart thumping, he untangled his legs from the damp sheets. Lighting a candle against the dark, he stared out into the inky, moonless night. He cried out when a scorched hand pressed up against the glass. His heart stopped long before the candle’s hungry flame devoured his room.
The whole town turned out for Martin’s funeral. He was buried in the parish graveyard, miles from the Spanish moss at Bonaventure. The preacher from the next parish gave the sermon. While his Ma wept for his death, Martin’s Pa buried a secret deep in his soul.
No one would ever know about the starburst diamond ring he found clenched in his son’s blackened hand.
This week, your prompt is a simple concept that can be fraught with complication. You have 400 words to write a fiction or creative non-fiction piece about freedom, in any way that makes sense to you.
Freedom is found and lost here, even if the ending is rather a grim one.