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.