Story Fragment Challenge

 

Opening example (please read author guidance for instructions):

The old man crumpled the paper in his hands until it was as wrinkled as they were.

 

She would do something like that.  She would leave in the night, taking her baby with her and only giving him this note as explanation.  She could not even say goodbye to him, face to face, give him a hug.  She took after her mother.    

He uncrumpled the paper and stuck it to the fridge.  The magnet made a snapping noise with the force of the gesture.  He put on some coffee and got out the cereal.

Breakfast without his granddaughter and great granddaughter was, to say the least, quiet.  There was no cheerful, ‘Morning Pops’ from smiling lips as she pushed her straight, short brown hair out of her eyes to peer into the fridge and shifted the baby higher on her hip.  The baby, Maddy, usually started a screaming fit before her Mamma had finished heating the milk up.  Somehow, the young mother was never fast enough for the impatient baby.  He had offered to heat it up, multiple times, but she was too strong willed and always refused.

The old man poured a bit of cold milk onto his corn flakes and granola and put the carton back in the fridge.  The baby bottles were gone and the fridge door looked bare without them.

He sat down on one of the tall stools by the counter.  He found himself, a few minutes later, stirring his cereal thoughtlessly and staring at the little burnt spot on the counter where she had accidentally dropped a match trying to light the gas burner on the stove.  He sat there until the cereal got soggy and was no longer appetizing.  He finally got up and dumped it into the garbarator, or waste disposal unit, as his American wife had always insisted it was called.  He was putting the bowl in the dishwasher when his phone rang.

“Pops?”

“Carrie!  Are you alright?  Why did you leave?”

There was silence on the other end, then quiet sobbing.

“Carrie, please… is everything ok?”

“The—” sniff “car, broke down.  Pops, it just stopped working… I was driving.  It’s pretty badly banged up…”

“Carrie, are you hurt? Where are you?”

“No, I’m OK.  Just a bit shaken up.”

“And Maggy?”

“She’s alright.”  A sudden scream in the background confirmed this.

“I’ll come right away.  Where are you?”

“On Hilbridge Street, near Dumphrey.  I was going to call a tow truck but couldn’t find a number.  You don’t need to come Pops.  If you could just make the call for me.”

“Don’t be silly Carrie, of course I’ll come too.”

“But,” another sniff, “but I just left.  Aren’t you angry with me?”

“Carrie, I love you.  Always have, always will.”  His old voice shook more than it usually did.  “No matter what you do.”

The End

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