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This week’s fiction prompt from Write On Edge uses the holidays as the backdrop. For some, this time of year brings joy and merriment, while for others, it can bring sadness and feelings of loss. Which camp do your characters fall into? After stumbling upon a potential new idea for my novel, and creating a piece last week that encapsulated it in one brief scene, I received some very positive feedback. I thought I would take the opportunity to vet this new idea a little more with this week’s prompt.

So here’s another 300 word glimpse into a story that seems to be taking shape. Oh, and one more thing. As a little caveat to the prompt, the rules were that the story must begin with, “The doorbell rang” and end with, “snow began to fall”. Enjoy and I look forward to your feedback.

Doorway

The doorbell rang just as Ellen was lowering herself into the rocking chair. She jumped up with a sprightliness she hadn’t felt in ages and anxiously headed for the door. Her brisk walk nearly became a jog as she reached for the handle.

“Oh, Katherine. I thought you were…come in.” The energy quickly drained from her body as her unexpected guest entered.

Ellen gave a half-hearted embrace to her old friend, then led her into the kitchen.

“Coffee?” She asked politely.

“That would be great,” Katherine replied as she removed her overcoat and draped it over her chair. “He still hasn’t come?”

Ellen stopped pouring for a moment, took a deep breath, and continued preparing the hot beverage for her friend.

“No.” She said quietly, and took another breath. “Milk and sugar?”

“Black is fine.” Katherine replied.

Ellen handed her friend the steamy mug and sat down beside her. Her body shivered for a split second as exhaustion left her muscles free to react to the chill in the air. Autumn had taken its toll on the Thompson family. Upon hearing the news of Patrick’s illness, Ellen had privately slipped into a state of depression. After 35 years of marriage, she couldn’t bear the idea of life without her husband. But more than anything, she was tortured by past events that led to her oldest son disowning a father and family that still loved him.

As the holidays approached and winter took its icy grip on their little town, Ellen spent most nights waiting. Waiting by the phone, or by the door, for her son’s long awaited return.

“I’m sure he’ll come,” Katherine began. “if not for him; for you.”

Ellen smiled and looked out the window. “I’m not so sure.” She said, as snow began to fall.

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