This story was inspired by a Reedsy Prompt which are always fun and pretty useful to take a look at. The bones of the story was actually lying around for many years though and the prompt gave the inspiration to pull it all together. The prompt was about seeing someone drop a wallet on the ground and in there you see a strange photo.
So this story is all about a man who sees a photograph of a flower in a wallet that a woman drops on the ground out on the street. He is so allured by the flower that he tracks her down and buys it from her. He is a rich man who has everything and this unique, rare flower is an opportunity to give something extraordinarily special to his wife. In doing so, he hopes it will raise her social standing by revealing the flower to all at their anniversary party.
Here is the opening:
The distraction of the cracks in the pavement was enough to stop Simon from seeing anyone in the immediate world around him. The rain pattered down on his head and he stepped out of the car, the familiar scent of the mustiness of the foggy city embracing him. The transition from the car to the pavement was one seamless movement, his arm arcing a sweeping motion behind him as he clicked the button on the remote to secure the car.
Gazing down at the grey pavement, ever darkening with the increasing rainfall, his path was stopped as a small wallet lay open in front of him. This wasn’t the kind of day to be stopping for acts of charity, but an old woman stood in a sentinel stance over the wallet. Simon lifted his gaze to meet the eyes of the woman. They were eyes which looked distant and sad, but Simon dismissed it as being the greyness and the coldness of the day creeping into her ageing soul.
The old woman’s eyes were begging the question of him and Simon heard it loud in his mind. This was one of those bracing moments for him where he knew he was being told something to do and that he would have to succumb to it. It was a position of weakness, a far cry from his position in the corporate world where he called the shots, where he would have people around him to do menial tasks. But here he was, being stared down by an old woman in a red-checkered headscarf for false protection against the autumn weather and he was not in control.
This is a short story of just over 3,000 words and it’s a dark twist at the end that I wanted to play with.
It is available now on a free download from Smashwords and other places.