Week #25 for Suzanne Burke’s Fiction in a Flash Challenge
Read the entries and join in here. Each week she features an image and invites you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing. Maximum word count: 750 words.
Jenny pouted in the backseat of her mom’s suburban as they traveled into the city to see her boring old grandma.
“I don’t want to stay at Grandma’s for Thanksgiving- there’s nothing to do. Why can’t I go with you and Rick?”
Mom glanced at her in the rearview mirror before refocusing on the rain lashed roads. “I’m sorry, honey. Rick planned a special vacation just for the two of us. He’s been so overworked lately, I think he just needs a break. Besides, you don’t want to leave your grandmother all alone on the holiday, do you?”
Why not? You’re leaving me alone. Disgruntled, Jenny stared at the murky shadows out her side window until she fell into a restless sleep.
A blade of light seeped from the partially closed door. Jenny glanced around, but other than the looming paintings of her ancestors staring at her from imposing dark walls, the hallway was empty.
Heart flapping like a trapped pigeon, she slowly pushed against the worn wood until the door slid open enough for her to slip through. The room was huge! Shelves and shelves of books climbed the walls in a hodge-podge mess. Some lay on their sides, while others propped up leaning rows like the drunken soldiers she’d seen in one of those old movies Mom made her watch on Sunday afternoons.
Flipping the papery pages on a dusty tome, Jenny couldn’t understand why she’d been banned from entering the library. Most of these books were older than dirt and twice as heavy. What did Grandma think she would do to them?
Tempted to rip a page right down the middle, just for spite, she instead set it aside and turned to leave. A black cat with unblinking emerald green eyes stared at her from near one of the bookcases.
Where did you come from?” Jenny asked. She crouched and held her hand toward the slinky feline. “Well, come on then. I won’t hurt you.”
Instead, the leonine head turned toward a gap in the wall Jenny hadn’t noticed, its sensitive ears twitching.
“A secret room? I wonder if Grandma knows about this.” Pulse thrumming with nervous excitement, she crept to the opening and looked inside. A couple of thick white candles shed a flickering light over ugly faded flower wallpaper covering three of the walls. The fourth was another floor-to-ceiling bookcase, but this one was neat as a pin, every space filled with even older looking hardcovers than what she’d seen in the main library. A leather chair with a book open over the arm, its spine sticking up like the tent she’d built with her dad before… caught her eye.
Curious, she climbed into the oversized seat and lifted the book into her lap, the pages open to a section on witchcraft.
To all who venture down this path, beware, what is done, cannot so easily be undone. A twist of fate, a sprig of truth. Whatever you find, will change your life forever.
Jenny slammed the book closed, the hair on her nape standing on end. Was Grandma a witch?
The black cat jumped onto the arm of the chair and nudged her hand, the green eyes watchful. Familiar.
“Grandma?” Jenny squeaked.
The room swayed. The flames from the candles danced. A breeze blew a wet mist across her face and the cat yowled.
A wet mist…
“Jenny, wake up, honey.”
Groaning, she opened her eyes and peered at her mom’s worried face. “Mom?”
“You were screaming, half-near scared me to death,” her mom said, reaching in through the open back door to give her a rain-kissed hug.
Jenny’s eyes widened on the view over her mother’s shoulder. “Why are we back home?”
Mom leaned back and looked at her with emerald green cat’s eyes. “I decided you and I needed some quality time together. Rick and Grandma can wait.” She straightened , dark hair plastering to her elegant head. “Come in, honey, there’s something I want to show you.”
As Jenny slowly followed her mom into the old house, so like Grandma’s, she remembered a line from the book;
A twist of fate, a sprig of truth.