The next in a series of pixel fiction. A post where you write the ending…..
Beatrice Martin dips her garden trowel into a bag of potting soil as she sits on her knees in her front garden. She maneuvers the garden trowel skillfully with her right arm, almost as it’s an extension of her own hand, as she sifts the soil in front of her with her left arm. A gardener for most of her 72 years, her curly white hair frames her face as she shifts her weight forward and works the earth. She pauses only to occasionally wipe her brow, without stopping to remove her thick cloth gloves, or resting her garden tools. The small garden that she tends has been in her family for generations-it was her mother’s garden before she took it over and her grandfather’s before that. Every year, come the first thaw of spring, she rides her bicycle into the center of town to pick-up seeds, fresh bulbs, and a new bag of potting soil. Her small cottage style house too has been in her family for generations-it holds fond memories of her younger days, sipping lemonade on the front porch and hanging the sheets out to dry on the clothesline in the back, watching them blow softly in the cool breeze of summer or fend off the approaching snap of an autumn chill. As a child she darted in and out between those sheets, running with the vibrancy of her younger days, now her arthritic hands sometimes struggle with the small wooden clothespins that keep the sheets aloft in the slight breeze. Much has changed in her 72 years in the house. She left to attend university, her brother passed in the war, she married and bore children, all of whom grew up and left the city and the small cottage as well. Perhaps the most noticeable change marks the landscape surrounding Beatrice. As a child, she lived out in the country, far from the bustling downtown of city traffic, the congestion, and the neighbors, in a small farm cottage with a well-tended flower garden out front. But, times change, towns grew, cities rose up, and shopping malls were built almost overnight. The town moved in, almost beside her, rising up and swallowing the old farm community she once knew. Condos dot the landscape where corn used to grow and, much to her dismay, new highways stripe the once open prairie.
“‘Mornin’, Bea,” her gardening work interrupted by a voice from down the sidewalk.
“Why, good morning, Jerry!” It was her postman, Jerry, coming up the path, past the picket fence, entering the garden to deliver her mail.
“How’s the old hip doing today, Bea?” Jerry asks with a smile, “I hope it’s holding up ok, what with this crazy weather we’ve been having and all.”
“Oh, I’m doing fine, Jerry, fine, thanks for asking,” she responds, reaching for the mail. “What’s this?” she says as she spots a letter in the pile, “I see I might have an answer from the city.”
“Is that the letter you’ve been waiting for?” asks Jerry.
In fact it was. For the past months, going on a year now, Beatrice had been engaged in a battle with the city over her land. With all the recent growth and development, the town wanted to take over most of her family acres and build an exit ramp for an upcoming freeway. Beatrice liked the land as it was and did not want to relinquish it to the developers and land grabbers who had taken over the City Council. Of course, the land grabbing City Council did not want to pay a fair price for the land, and thought they could easily swindle an old woman out of her acres, but the land had been in Beatrice’s family for generations. She was not willing to give it up so easily, not without a fight.
“Let’s see what they have to say now,” she spoke to Jerry as she opened and unfolded the letter.
Uh Oh! You know what? You are a really good writer! I will have to go get my thinking cap (the tall pointy one) and get back to you. And I do like the Austin cottage photo and the experiment with texture!
I’m trying to make the Pixel Fictions be sort of literary fiction that’s more “crafted” then our usual blog drivel. You know, kind of like the old pulp fiction or even lit mag days?
Thanks for the comments about the texture. I’ve just started working with this, but I can see a lot of potential in it. I’ve already got ideas running around in my head.
The old pulp fiction was cool… I grew up with my Uncle’s fascinations with westerns, and ” detective “mags’ .. crime scenes always had girls in scanty lingerie….he liked boxing too. And he always smoked cigars in these moments. I watched fights with him (Boxing matches, televised). I was just a little kid, but I read a lot of his library on my summer vacations. It was one way of growing up, I guess…in the 50s. d
I enjoyed sharing some writing with you! Happy V Day!