This month the topic is ‘Flower’. My story for January’s blog battle is below:
- 1000 words max (give or take a few)
- fictional tale (or true if you really want)
- Any genre that fits within PG-13 (or less) Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
- Your story must contain the randomly chosen word(s) and/or be centered around the word meaning in a way that shows it is clearly related.
- Go for the entertainment value!
- Put a link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section
- Please tweet and otherwise share your battler buddies’ stories across social media.
- Use the hashtag #BlogBattle when tweeting all the stories so we can cross-share.
A SINGLE RED ROSE, BY STEVIE TURNER
COPYRIGHT STEVIE TURNER, 2019
She always took a bunch of flowers to her father’s grave every year on the anniversary of his passing. Her brother Steven had never bothered, but it assuaged Suzy’s guilt somewhat at not having been the daughter he’d wanted her to be. She had never felt close to him at all, but now he was safely in the afterlife she could dutifully tend his grave and ensure the marble stone bearing his name was kept relatively free of moss.
The cemetery was bathed in warm dappled light on that late summer’s afternoon. Suzy parked at the entrance and picked up her bag containing gardening and cleaning equipment, idly re-reading the now familiar poignant inscriptions as she strolled along the path between lines of graves towards where Desmond Warren rested for eternity.
The path ended by a yew tree under which lay her father in a pre-paid family plot big enough for two. Suzy gazed at the grave in surprise, remembering with an ironic smile her mother’s wishes to be buried as far away from Desmond as it was possible to achieve. The tombstone was sparkling in the sunshine, but not a weed or clump of moss could be seen. She was further intrigued to discover one flower lying on top of the gravel chippings; a single red rose.
The petals had not withered, and there were no signs of decay. Suzy checked all around her, but nobody else was in view. She picked up the rose and inhaled its heady scent, pushing back memories of dripping cut flowers and her mother’s precious crystal vase as it shattered against the conservatory wall.
She replaced the rose, noticing at the same time how the chippings underneath it had been disturbed. Suzy dug down a little deeper into the gravel and pulled at the corner of a white card which had been secured by the weight of stones above. The card depicted a printed photo of her father as a younger man standing smiling with his arm around her mother’s waist. She recognised the background as that of her parents’ favourite beach, Southwold, on the Suffolk coast.
The card begged to be opened. Blinking back tears, Suzy read the words that her mother had written in the shaking hand of illness and old age:
‘Des, much water has gone under the bridge since that terrible day when I could stand no more pain. The years without you have been the happiest I’ve known, but your life was cut short before I’d gained enough insight and wisdom to realise why you were the man you were. Forgive me. I was young with two children who needed a loving and secure home.
I cannot turn back the clock and undo the wrong I did, but now at the end of my life I ask for your forgiveness. Here with you is where I want to lie when the Lord feels fit to take me. Steven knows my wishes, and brought me here today. I remain as always, your wife, Alice.’
There were no kisses or declarations of love. Suzy sighed, shovelled some of the chippings to one side with a trowel, and re-buried the card. Then she laid her bouquet next to her mother’s, stood up, and quickly walked away.