Flash fiction is proving to be difficult for me. This one was especially so. I am a pacifist, so the prompt “War Wounds” was not easy for me. Go ahead and have a read.
Beck gaped at the ragged hole in the wall, the jagged floor and shattered window.
Leon glared at Beck, hands on hips. “It really isn’t that bad. Quick fix, easy job.”
That’s what you said before! Beck thought. He held his tongue and took a deep breath before speaking. “Not that bad? Leon, there’s no kitchen anymore.” The words were as even as possible, and yet Beck could still see Leon’s spirit crumbling. Any harsh word and the kid went to pieces.
“I tried. I really tried!” Leon’s voice wavered, but Beck heard the anger lurking beneath the tears.
He took a step forward, across the threshold. “And you made a really good effort, but honestly, it looks like our kitchen has been in battle. What will mom say when she gets home next week?”
“Oh, we don’t need to worry about that. We’ll have this place fixed up by then. It will be quick – an easy job.” Leon’s voice trembled again and Beck knew that he understood the magnitude of the job.
Beck couldn’t imagine what Leon had done to cause such a disaster. He’d been talking about fixing the hook that kept falling off the wall, but could all of this really stemmed from that?
“Well, we’d best get started then. What’ll we need?”
Leon’s face twisted in consternation. “A wall. A window. And a new floor.”
Beck held back his groan. It’s okay. I’ve got this. “Okay, Leon. I’m going to go to the store and get supplies. You get dinner. We’ll start after we eat.”
Somehow, Beck was back before Leon. He got to work, loathe to let the mess set for even an hour. It had to be fixed. When Leon got home, they ate and then worked for a few more hours until Leon fell asleep against the holed wall. Beck carried him to bed and then went to the living room and fell asleep on the couch.
They worked, side-by-side, at a pace that barely left them any time to sleep. It had to be done. A quick fix, an easy job. It would be done. No doubt.
A week passed. The day she would return greeted both Leon and Beck in the kitchen, working furiously to finish the repairs. The window was in place, and the floor even. They were painting the wall. It had to be dry when she got home, or she would know. She would probably know anyway. She always knew, Leon’s mom. Didn’t trust him.
The car pulling into the driveway stilled them both. She walked into the kitchen and they tried to act as if everything was normal, as if they hadn’t spent a furious week fixing her house. She smiled, greeted them. Nothing amiss. Beck looked at the intact wall, squinted. The paint was a shade lighter, not even a shade, a smidge. She didn’t notice. Beck grinned. It was a scar, covering the war wound Leon had dealt in battle. Not fatal this time.
So, what do you think?
Take care, fellow travelers.