I know I said I’d be posting about my road trip when I got back, but a three week long road trip is packed too chock full, and the post isn’t ready yet sooo… Instead I decided to share with you a bit of flash fiction I submitted to a little writing contest. I hope you like it!
“I cock my pistol and spit on the palm of my hand, wiping the mud off on my black cargo pants. Crouching down, I push back a rebellious wisp of hair that had escaped my braid and shoot the raccoon on the pond edge before it realizes I’m there. I need to get a deer for Chelsea but, grabbing the dead animal by the tail, I know any chance would be too far away now.
I slit the raccoon down the middle, cleaning and skinning it quickly. Then I rinse the meat and my bloody hands in the pond.
I leave the bones and tramp through to the dirt road. My motor bike stands waiting and I stuff my kill into the cooler strapped to the back. I plop down and my mouth waters at the thought of dinner as I ride down the old road, but I’m stopping at the Crazy’s first or, the Carters, as Chelsea called them.
I called them that too. Back when mom and dad would take us to visit. But that was before the accident killed Mom and Dad, and she had only been three.
I’d been the only one left to take care of her, but I couldn’t. I’m too wild and too immature to raise a kid. So I left her at the Carter’s doorstep, promising her I’d visit once a week in secret.
They say I’m a traitor. Maybe I am. Maybe I don’t care. I enjoy my freedom and home in an old mechanic’s shop. It’s untidy and perfect. I have a bed and couch, and no responsibilities.
A bump in the road jars my jaw and my thick black braid flips over my shoulder. I flick it back, knowing it was probably time to wash. Chelsea will comment on it when I get to the shed.
She does. “Ellen, you are just a fair mess.” Her language matches her adoptive families.
I roll my eyes.
Her little eight year old face burst into a grin and all the polite lady the Crazy’s had trained into her flew to the wind as she bounds up to wrap her arms around me. “I miss you and you stink,” she mumbles, her hug tight and needy.
“Bug.” I reply curtly.
She breaths a deep sigh and lets go. “I brought three cookies.”
“Yay.” I motion to my bike. “I’m making another ‘coon cap. Want one?”
Chelsea wrinkles her nose. “Why would I wear dead skin on my head?”
“Fine with me.” I growl. “Crazy’s still feeding you?”
Chelsea laughs, “Of course. They never stopped.”
I let loose my braid and wind it up into a tight bun. “Good. I’ll see you next week.”
“See you.” Chelsea presses a kiss to my cheek and then wipes her lips roughly. Her personality developed into a Carter girl, but no matter what they speak about me, she still loves me for the mess I am.
I am old enough now to support her on my own, but I chose to leave her where she is. It’s best for both of us, even if I do have to wear the title of a traitor.
I’d even gotten a deer to bring to the Carter’s table. But the house is empty. The doors are locked, windows dark.
My stupid breath sticks in my throat and reality crashes hard. The Crazy’s had moved. And they hadn’t left Chelsea.
“Chelsea! Peter, Claire?” I call the kids’ names.
I punch the window so hard it shatters. It only takes a glance to confirm what I already know.
I’d come to the shed where we always met. Where the “Phantom Hunter” leaves his offerings, but Chelsea hadn’t been there. This was the first Wednesday in five years that I didn’t know where she was.
I’d found a soggy piece of paper crumpled in her hurried scratches. “They didn’t tell me.”
I believe her. I’d never see Chelsea again.
Dropping my knees to the sharp gravel and grinding my teeth, I survey in vain the emptiness. My eyes flood and I hear myself scream in rage. They’d taken my sister away. The foreign, wet tears run down my dusty cheeks. Nineteen years old and I’d lost my sister.
My throat shuts and my jaw clenches so hard my head throbs. I ball my fists, leaning forward to sob.
Maybe I hadn’t before, but I care now.
I care with all my heart. “
What did you think? Anything you would change to the story? What’s your opinion on sibling relationships? Was Ellen wrong to leave Chelsea with the Carters? Let’s talk in the comments!