In honor of “Tell a Story Day” today, I’m sharing a flash fiction story I wrote a few years ago.
Reblogged from Paranormal Romantics
“More lemonade, Grams?” LuAnn plucked up the glass and rolled its cool condensation across her temple. “Whew, what a scorcher.”
Grams pushed her bifocals up the slick bridge of her nose. “Good for the tomatoes.”
LuAnn glanced at the new sign above the door advertising Grams Pasta Sauce, and smiled. “You’ve had a good season.” She kissed Grams weathered cheek. “I’ve been worried about you, without Grandpa.”
“The Lord provides.” Grams fanned herself, then smiled a toothless grin while biting into a tomato with gusto. Rivulets of juice streamed down her chin.
LuAnn eyed the jars lining the table. “Will you ever tell me your new secret ingredient?”
“Some secrets are best kept buried.” Grams swatted a mosquito. “Besides, sauce is in our blood, child.”
The screen door ushered LuAnn into the house, slamming her behind as she carried the glasses in. The whirling ceiling fan moved the stagnant air. LuAnn squinted out the window at the rows of tomatoes. Again, the sunlight glinted on something.
“Hey Gram, whatcha’ got in the garden? Something to scare off the rabbits?” LuAnn went out the back and was engulfed in the thick air, filled with the cicadas’ songs and the babbling of the creek. Squatting down, she dug into the moist dirt.
“What is that, a coin?” LuAnn’s hand brushed against the offending item. She shielded her eyes from the glare as the sun struck it.
“They say time heals all wounds,” Grams said.
LuAnn startled and fell onto her buttocks, dislodging a mound of dirt.
“Now, I don’t necessarily believe that’s true.” Grams lowered onto the wooden stool near the garden and rolled her knee high stocking down.
LuAnn’s mouth gaped at Grams exposed leg, which sported a plethora of scars. “What—”
Grams dropped the skirt and clutched a hoe to hoist herself up. “Oh that’s nothin’.” She waved her hand at LuAnn. “Don’t you worry yourself, child. I told ya, the Lord provides.” Nodding, she ran her hand along the hoe. “He provided me with this hoe and this bountiful garden.”
“Every time I got a lashing, I just planted me another tomato plant, um-hmm.” Grams turned and hobbled back to the house.
LuAnn started to push herself up, and then saw it. Amongst the green stalks, a decomposing finger erupted from the earth. The gold wedding band encircled the bone.
LuAnn’s eyes widened and she scuttled back on all fours. “Grandpa,” she whispered. A black beetle scurried across the band, tiny tentacles twitching.
LuAnn suppressed her rising nausea with her palm while stumbling to her feet. Frantically, she brushed off the clinging dirt. She cringed as a crow cawed, following its’ flight path across the vast acres of tomato plants.
Her breathing slowed. Her muscles relaxed.
“Here’s your lemonade, Grams,” LuAnn said, settling into a rocker.
“Still wanna know the secret ingredient?” Grams rocking slowed.
“Nah.” LuAnn met Grams gaze. “Like you said, sauce is in our blood.”