My Dec entry for Daily Flash Fiction
|Kate tromped into the mudroom brushing snow from her drab green parka. She stomped slush from her boots and set down the shovel. It was the fourth time she’d shoveled the path from the back door to the wood shed. She was prepared for the power to go out, as it always did in storms this size. She had a fire burning and candles at the ready.
“Haven’t seen a storm like this is years, have we, Mr. Jenkins?” she asked as her aging cat struggled to climb onto the Deacon’s bench next to her. “I hope the kids are safe.” Mr. Jenkins rubbed against her as she traded her boots for a pair of fuzzy gray slippers.
Kate shuffled into the living room where Mr. Jenkins curled up in the warm glow of the crackling fireplace. She lowered her aging frame gently into the chair and picked up where she left off on her afghan. She could smell her pies cooling in the kitchen. But she knew there would be no one to eat them – not in this weather. Her favorite medley of Christmas songs came softly from the CD player on the mantle, but it did little to brighten her thoughts of spending another Christmas alone.
“Four years since Al passed,” she muttered to the empty house. She jumped as the telephone rang, sending a ball of yarn rolling across the hardwood floor. She grabbed the phone from the end table next to her chair.
“Mom, it doesn’t look like we’re going to make it through.”
“I understand, Sweetie.” She tried to hide her disappointment. “I thought they might start closing the roads. Are you safe somewhere?”
“Yeah. I think we found a place to stay.” His cell crackled. “Mom? Sounds like I’m losing you.”
“Honey, I love you. Stay safe.” Kate rushed to get her words in before she lost the connection with her son. “Honey? Mike? Are you there?” The line was dead. She clutched the phone to her chest, praying that Mike, Donna, and the boys were safe.
Eventually Kate set down the phone and started to pace. Mr. Jenkins followed briefly, and then retired back to the warmth of the fire. She moved back the drapes on the picture window to take stock of the storm. She could feel cold air seeping through the frame around the front door.
The snow was still piling up on the sidewalk and lawn. She wondered when the plow man would come by to clear a path to the street. She turned to take stock of the driveway and saw the blue sedan. Her heart skipped a beat and she flung open the front door. Tears welled in her eyes and threatened to freeze to her cheeks as she stepped onto the front porch.
“Told ya we found a place to stay!” Mike waved from the driveway. The boys climbed over each other out of the back seat.
“Grandma! Grandma!” They raced toward her, throwing their arms around her legs.
“Hope you don’t mind if we stay a little longer, Mum,” Donna walked up the steps as Mike unloaded their luggage. “This storm looks like a big one.”
Kate hugged Donna over the children’s heads.
“Oh, you kids. It’s not nice to trick an old lady,” Kate smiled as tears coursed down her cheeks.