THE CARTER PLACE

Dodge Writes, http://dodgewrites.blogspot.com/, offers a “finish this line” prompt for Monday. The line is, “A simple white picket fence.”

I began my normal free write, but a poem didn’t appear. I ended up with a . . . well, I don’t know what I ended up with. Flash fiction? I’ve never tried flash fiction. I’m not even sure what flash fiction is. I know my effort is not long enough for a short story, it’s only 224 words. I’m still trying to decide if it’s appropriate for my poetry blog—but it is written from a prompt.

THE CARTER PLACE
by Mike Patrick

A simple white picket fence set the boundary. On this side, safety; on the other side, who knows?

The gate still blows back and forth in a strong wind. Tangles of shrubs, holding four years of debris, block the view of the front porch. Only three rotting wooden steps and the top half of two heavily curtained windows are visible.

Everyone remembers the old Carter place from newspaper stories. Jack Carter’s daughter turned fifteen and went a little wild. Her bedroom window in the back was low enough for the boys to crawl in. They did . . . until Jack found out. Then they disappeared.

It took three months and eight boys, before the police figured it out. The bodies were found buried in the back yard—it’s a deep lot. Jack Carter got life without parole.

Jack’s wife and his daughter Amy vanished after the trial. Amy would be nineteen now, a very beautiful nineteen. Some believe they still live here in the house. A couple of the guys tried to sneak in and find out. They were found battered and bloody, just outside the gate, with no memory of what happened.

Now, I stand outside the gate, looking at a simple white picket fence; knowing it may be the only thing keeping me from Amy, the only girl I’ve ever loved.

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5 Responses to THE CARTER PLACE

  1. vivinfrance says:

    For someone who claims not to know about flash fiction, you’ve made a cracking job of it! Not too much, not too little, but just right!

  2. earlybird says:

    Oh my! I think it possibly needs to be a bit shorter to classify as ‘flash fiction’ but hey, with a story like that, who cares. You could either condense it or expand it. Nice, Mike.

  3. Mike, this is such a believable story, the kind that is whispered in small towns all over America. Every village has a Carter place. The only thing I’d do is change Amy’s name, because Amy Carter is former Pres. Jimmy Carter’s daughter… and an out lesbian! But that’s a minor point. That windup, “the only girl I ever loved,” really was a great finish. Good writing, Mike, you’re onto something with the flash fiction! Amy (the only… oh, never mind, LOL)
    http://sharplittlepencil.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/our-first-actual-date-3ww/

    • Mike Patrick says:

      Amy, I’m going to let you in on a secret. There was a Carter place in my home town. That’s where I got the last name. I’ve spent so much time on your site lately, when I needed a female first name, I thought of you. That’s the truth. Never even thought about it being the name of the ex-president’s daughter. I’m laughing about that now.

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