The Time Left

“We’ve been out here for two hours, Doloris. For Christ’s sake, pick something and let’s go home.”

Doloris poked the map repeatedly with her arthritic finger. “We still have four more plots to see. Don’t rush me, Charlie Finn. You’ve been rushing me for fifty years. And quit pulling at my elbow. We’re going this way.”  She pointed up the hill.

“’I want it to have shade,’ she says.  ‘I don’t want it to be a corner,’ she says. I say we just need room enough for them to dig two holes to throw us into.” Charlie looked to the gray sky for sympathy.

“Mocking me. You’ve never understood that just because something isn’t important to you, doesn’t mean it’s not important to me.”  She had turned to glare but started walking again.

With a grunt, Charlie followed. “And you’ve never understood that you shouldn’t force me to abide everything you find important.”

“Two Saturdays, Charlie. Just two. What else have you got to do?” she said over her shoulder. Out of breath.

“I can think of a lot better than trudging back and forth across a cemetery in January. This is a ridiculous waste of time, woman.”

She turned to face him, her wrinkled hands balled defiantly on her broad hips. Her lower lip quivering, maybe from the cold, but the tears said otherwise. “I’ll tell you what’s ridiculous, Charlie.  That after last week and you filing those ridiculous papers, if your old heart seizes up and needs a kick start, nobody can touch it.  If I don’t have a say anymore in when I have to give you up, Charlie Finn, then I’ll damn sure have a say in where I’ll sit to mourn you.”

–Red Writing Hood prompt–Flash Fiction 300 word limit with inspiration word “LIFE”

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The Fountain of Youth

Looking up at the sheer, rocky hillside, William gave a vague swipe at the flies eagerly trying to get at the cut on his leg, sending them temporarily back into a holding pattern in the sticky morning air of the forest.  What was this? The fifth time he had quartered this hundred square yards over the past two days?  It didn’t matter.  He was too close to give up.  This year he’d find it.  He checked the compass, eyed the sun, flattened the damp, tattered grid paper against his leg and marked his spot.  Maybe there was something about the hillside that he was missing.  Although it was too steep to climb, William had surveyed it from several places along its length but had found nothing.  He’d never walked the full length though, so that’s what he’d do.  As he plodded along, searching the rocks above him for something he might have missed before, he tried to remember just when he had started believing that the fountain was real. Continue reading