© Sue Vincent
Tom Allen lived in his Dad’s old cabin five miles west of New Mexico State Highway 107 along about twenty miles south of Magdalena. The retired astronomer stepped out behind his place and put his left hands on the branch of a dead tree. Figured he’d cut it down for firewood, though he had plenty already for the winter.
“Looks like we’ll be getting some rain from the west, ol’ girl.” He patted Sally’s head, and the golden retriever nuzzled her snout against the leg of his jeans.
He’d been born in a little town south of Albuquerque sixty-six years ago last Friday, so being dressed in his old Stetson, a plaid shirt, faded blue denim jeans and high leather boots seemed normal to him, but the old normal, since he’d spent most of his adult life in places like Pasadena’s JPL, Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, and the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii, not to mention in the halls of academia. His colleagues at Stanford and MIT would never understand.
“Storm’s getting closer. We’d better head back in, especially before you see some rabbit you want to be chasing.”
Sally barked with ascent and then happily followed the old man back into the house.
© Jan Wayne Fields
“What did you hope to find after a year?”
The question was rhetorical or maybe self-indulgent. He was alone, unlike a year ago when they all gathered to scatter his Dad’s ashes over the land he loved so much. He thought about leaving another rose, but it would just wither and serve no one.
“Maybe this is all there is, Dad. Maybe it’s just you and me sitting together for a quiet hour, alone with each other.”
He listened to the wind and finally realized what it was telling him. His Dad wasn’t here anymore. He’d moved on.
I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields flash fiction writing challenge for April 27th (although the URL says May 11th). The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.
My Dad died a year ago last week. The scene somewhat reminds me of Nevada where I grew up, and also of the area in Utah where my Dad liked to fish.
We actually put his ashes in a hole near his favorite high desert lake. Hardly a secluded spot, but then, it really wasn’t my choice. Thinking about going back produces an empty feeling. It’s just water, rock, sand, and sagebrush. Dad isn’t there anymore. His spirit has moved on.
To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.