Prompt: Lost fragment


Curled, creased fingers struggle with the tiny clasp. Fingernails, once manicured to perfection, are cracked and chipped. It was hot in here, always, but worse during the summer. Her damp fingers slip on the worn silver locket.

“Here, Ada. Let me do that.” Tiny Asian fingers, extending from a blue overall, pick at the latch. Ada might have thanked her, but Ada never spoke.

With the tiniest of clicks, the latch springs back, and the locket opens.

“Who is this, Ada? Is it your husband? He looks very handsome.”

She turns to look at the speaker, round cherub face with a huge smile, then looks away into the locket. All of her past is in here, locked away for those rare occasions when she wants to remember. Everything, in two photos.

“And was this your daughter?”

She touches the creased and faded black-and-white photo. A tiny creature, in a tiny locket.

To one side, Steve, the auxiliary, opens the door to the garden to let in some air. A sudden breeze, cooling and pleasant, picks at the photos, lifting them slightly. Ada is dreaming, eyes open, tearfully again, remembering the joy of birth, and just a few months later, the sadness of death.

Ernie never understood, even to his dying day, but tried his best, bless him.

The door bangs closed, distracting attention, and the tiny, fragile photos are lifted, and carried away, out of sight.

Ada doesn’t understand. Her memories are gone, which was all she had.

250 words, excluding title © Robert J Curtis September 2010


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