And Beyond

Word Prompt: When her father was drunk

Wednesday has come around again and I’m happy to present this week’s flash fiction.

Essie stood at the graveside as people drifted past her knowing very few grieved. No, most had come to gawk one last time at the village’s notorious ne’er-do-well.

They played the part well enough, Essie supposed. Low voices, downcast gazes, and condoling touches. Behind them though, eyes sifted toward the coffin and too loud whispers betrayed their intentions. All of them along the same lines.

“Amazed he lasted this long.”

“Do you suppose he left anything but debts?”

“Pity, the tippler was always good for a laugh.”

Essie held her mother tighter as the words flowed, and they faced forward. Ever smiling as if the whispers never reached them.

Her father’s foibles were well known. He drunk often and caroused the town, boisterous and jubilant. Tossing about tall tales. World of stars. Forests with creatures fantastic. An unending sea of rainbows.

Laughter had met his proclamations. Laughter and prodding for impossible details. Details he gladly gave over their ridicule.

Essie had seen though. Essie had watched their laughter. Essie had watched her father.

Essie had learned.

When the final mourner left, she turned to face her mother, wiped a tear from her eye, and smiled. “Come Mother, it’s time we were away.”

“To where?” Her voice wobbled on the words.

“To rainbows, to stars, and more.” Essie turned calling to the waiting magic. Magic her father had only touched when drunk. But she’d learned from him. Leading her mother away, she ventured into the worlds he had but glimpsed.

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