Now that NaNo's over, RomanticFridayWriters is kicking off again with the first challenge for December, response to the image below. 600 words of prose or poetry with some element of romance. My romantic element may be hard to find, but it is there. Here is my story...
The Strange House in the Snow
The snow was exploding all around Yasmina and her mother by the time they reached the strange house in the woods. Yasmina looked up at the sky and saw a heap of tired old clouds with raggedy edges ripping apart, falling onto their heads like grey angels.
Yasmina watched her Mama trying to put the big key in the old lock. She slapped her ears with her mittens and watched the snowflakes scattering. ‘Stop it!’ Mama yelled.
Yasmina was freezing, even in the big warm coat the kind Red Cross lady had given her.
Creak! The door opened and they fell inside.
Mama dropped the suitcase onto the carpet and said a bad word. So many strange things...
The snow had followed them into the house. Bang! Mama kicked the big old door shut.
Yasmina ran to the window and looked up the road for Dada.
When Yasmina and her Mama had walked the long and lonely road to the house, the trees had scared her the way they lined up along the road in black rows like soldiers. She’d jumped with fright when the snow dropped off the branches and fell to the ground like bombs. Her Mama had pulled her from her hiding place and she’d cried: ‘I want my Dada!’
Mama had whispered, ‘I want your Dada too.’
‘Why did Dada leave us?’
‘He wanted to save us from the bad men.’
‘Do you still love Dada, Mama?’
‘I will love your Dada until I die, Yasmina. He is a wonderful man.’
‘Is Dada coming back, Mama?’
‘He will never leave us darling.’
‘Oh!’ Mama cried.
Yasmina turned from the window to see Mama slumped in the big stuffy chair, crying ‘Akbar, Akbar...’
‘Don’t cry Mama. Dada’ll never leave us.’ Yasmina patted the twitchy hand.
Yasmina decided to explore by herself coz when Mama got the sadness for Dada she liked to be left alone.
The house was big and empty. Not like the little house where they'd lived before Dada went away to fight the bad men.
She headed up the stairs. They went up so high she could be close to heaven if that’s where Dada was. The stairs groaned and cried louder than Mama. Spiders were knitting in the corners, trailing their threads down into the hall, their beady black eyes watching her.
She pushed open one of the doors. There was a big cobwebby window in the roof and she could see the snow whirling around the black treetops and - there was a shadow in the corner.
Then…maybe…maybe…’Dada?’ She started to run and tripped on the ripped carpet.
‘Dada!’ Her flashlight clunked out of her pocket. She grabbed it and turned it on, but Dada had gone…again.
There was a big high bed with a lumpy quilt. She was so tired after the long walk. She undid the buttons of her coat, dropped it on the bed and jumped in.
It felt like sinking to the bottom of the earth on a puffy cloud.
‘Goodnight Dada,’ she whispered. ‘Please come back. Mama needs you.’
The snow whispered and rustled. She pulled the quilt higher over her head.
She was nearly asleep when she heard a voice – ‘Alima...Alima…Alima…’
Dada! – ‘Alima...Alima…Alima…aaa…’
No one here knew her mother’s name, only Dada. Dada was downstairs with Mama. He’d come just like Mama said.
Then she felt it.
A hand crept into her hand.
His hand felt cold. His fingers shook and curled into her palm, tickling, like when they played games at their home in the mountains.
She smiled in the dark. Dada's home.
Word count: 605. This is just a fun? story. MPA. Did you enjoy it or not?
Here is a list of suggestions for critiquing that Madeleine found if you're right into the critique.
STOP PRESS: Just came across this weird and wonderful flash fiction contest which actually pays a tiny amount if you're published in their anthology.