In response to the Flash-Fiction photo prompt from Suzanne Burke this week, here is my contribution.
A FOREIGN WORLD
“Oh, the memories.” I sigh, and squeeze his hand a little tighter. The dried orange, brown and yellow leaves crunch beneath our feet as we shuffle along the sidewalk.
He smiles down at me. “Yes, my love. I remember when we sat on this very bench and I asked you to be my bride.”
Tears came unbidden and trickled down my wrinkled cheeks. “We had a pretty darn good life, didn’t we, Harold?”
“Yes. Yes, we did, in spite of the hardships.”
“But, I no longer recognize the world we live in. Where is everyone? Why are the streets empty? There was a day when this park would have held the laughter of children and young lovers strolling hand-in-hand.”
“Let’s sit, Margaret. My old legs are giving out.”
We shuffled over to the bench and Harold brushed away the leaves that covered it.
He blew out a long sigh and leaning on his cane, dropped onto the very bench where we started life together fifty-two years ago.
“I’m troubled, Harold. No, I’m more than troubled. I’m scared. Not for me and you. We’re pretty much out of here, but for the ones coming behind us.”
Draping an arm around my shoulders, he pulled me closer. “It’s not the same America that you and I grew up in. Soldiers on the streets, looting, killings and so much hatred exists. You know it’s not even safe for us to venture out.”
“I know, but I really needed some fresh air. Thank you for appeasing me.”
“Oh, my love, that is what I have lived for these past fifty-two years. My greatest joy is to make you smile.”
“What is that noise? Sounds like firecrackers.”
“I think we better mosey on back home, honey. It’s getting closer.”
He struggled to his feet, then leaning heavily on his cane, reached for my hand.
As we shuffled back toward safety, I turned to look back at the bench that meant so much, only to see a group of hoodlums spraying graffiti on it.
“Harold, we need to move faster. Trouble’s coming.”
“I’m going as fast as I can go. Don’t worry, dear. I won’t let anyone hurt you. It’s just a few more blocks home.”
That’s when it happened. A blow to the back of his head, took Harold to his knees. I screamed and turned to face our attackers only to see sneers and glowing hatred in the eyes of what should have been intelligent young men.
“You old people don’t need to be alive,” one of them growled. “You’re just taking up space and eating food that belongs to us. This is our country now. Old people like you are a nuisance.”
I kneeled down beside Harold and cradled his head in my lap. “You’ve hurt my husband.” Tears flowed uncontrollably.
One of them laughed. “So what? What are you going to do about it old woman?”
The first blow knocked me backward onto the hard concrete, and I frantically reached for Harold’s hand. The second blow brought oblivion.
Then, I was flying and when I looked down, I saw the shell of our bodies lying on the concrete, our blood mixing together and staining the sidewalk.
Harold floated up beside me. “We’re free now, sweet love. No more aches, pains or persecution. We’re free.”
He was right. I no longer had the familiar pain in my joints and his cane no longer had any use.
“What will happen to our once beautiful world?” I took one more glance downward to see the men who’d taken our lives strolling away casually as if nothing had happened. They laughed and joked and slapped each other on the back.
“I don’t know the answer to that. We may have to come back to find out.”
“I’m not sure I want to come back again. Maybe we’ll stay with the Angels for a while.”
“Whatever you say, dear.”
With his hand nestled softly in mine, we drifted slowly and peacefully toward the brightest light that you can imagine. Then we disappeared into it.
We were home.
I hope you enjoyed my contribution. If you’d like to participate or just know more about Suzanne Burke (by the way a fabulous writer), visit her website or better yet, pick up one of her books!
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