Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Entry #31

Table for Eight
by Esther Avila


“Perfect,” Emma said to herself as she placed a small vase with a handful of daisies in the center of a small round table. Eight veneer dessert plates were already carefully placed – each on a pretty paper doily.

Emma glanced at the clock before smoothing her blue dress down with both of her hands.

She loved the color of the dress – and the matching blue ribbon keeping her long ponytail in place. It reminded her of the robin eggs she had seen while on a picnic with her mother.

“Look here, Emma,” her mother had said as the 9-year-old child peeked into the nest. “New life will begin soon.”

Emma tried to remember what they talked about. But she couldn’t. She missed her mother and she tried not to think of the day her mother left.

Emma peered out the large window. Her mother had called and promised to join her for tea. But there was no sign of anyone coming.

“Emma Johnson – a most interesting case,” said Dr. Jason Sanders to three young psychiatrist interns as they watched the little girl in the blue hospital gown through a two-way mirror. “Child Protective Services picked her up from a filthy home. Her mother had been dead for two days – alcohol and overdose. Poor kid. As they took her from her home, she ran to the sink and salvaged those little dishes. She sets that table every day and waits.”

22 comments:

briliantdonkey said...

I really like the duality of real vs dilusion. EX: Blue hospital gown become pretty blue dress.

Nice work.

BD

Joni said...

I agree with BD. Masterfully done.

September said...

Thank you for the nice comments BD and Joni.

Jaye Wells said...

I'd love to see this one expanded a bit because there is so much to be explored. Great job.

Scott said...

You guys are killing me with these sad, sad stories! It breaks my heart to think about that little girl.

September said...

Thanks, Jaye.
Scott, you are right. I've been reading sad story after sad story.
But then again, all of Jason's photo prompts have been either dark-like or [the first one] dark but with light.

I wonder what kind of stories we would see if he posted something vibrant?

mutleythedog said...

I wonder what kind of stories we would see if he posted something vibrant?

More sad stories I should think...

Beth said...

This is so well done, September. Pulls on the heart strings!

Jude said...

Really really touching- clever story too.

Verilion said...

The clues left in the first part are very clever. A very poignant tale.

heather said...

oh i wanna slap the doctors and go hug that little girl and talk of robin eggs and pretty blue dresses. very well done. thank you!

Trevor Record said...

Oh, that is so sad! I think there should be a rule against writing sad stories about little kids!

September said:
I wonder what kind of stories we would see if he posted something vibrant?

Mutley Said:
More sad stories I should think...

I say:
Heh, Mutley tells is how it is.

September said...

Come on Mutley - think positive, dawg. :)

Beth, Jude and Verillion - thank you.

Heather: I know what you mean. And, thank you.

Trevor: Dejavu. Sigh. What is really sad is that these situations really exist.

Terri said...

This one is particularly heart-breaking...so, well written :)

Heather: I'll second that.

September said...

Thank you, Terri. Children do have a way of getting to us, don't they?

Susan Flemming said...

Oh... that last paragraph really gets you. I'm picturing a little girls getting ready for a tea party... and I suppose she is... just in a different setting than first thought.

That switch/surprize is one of the things that is characteristic of well written flash fiction. And yours made the story especially poignant. Well done.

Susan Flemming said...

Correction...

little girl... not little girls.

September said...

Thank you, Susan. Poor little kid - waiting and waiting...

September said...

Thank you - for voting for my story. It is an honor for me to have won the runner up Reader's Choice award. :)

Beth said...

Congratulations on the Reader's Choice!!

jason evans said...

Wow, that was a tough ending. The gown/dress was brilliant!

High marks for pacing and entertainment value.

Congratulations on 1st Runner-up, Readers' Choice Award!!

September said...

Thanks, Jason. I always appreciate your comments. Thanks again for hosting the contest.