Friday, 13 September 2013

FLASH FICTION AT FIVE: The Scheme by Jenelle L. Schmidt

She had never imagined how much work it would involve. It was just so hard: the hardest thing she had ever done. But at least it was almost over.

It had all begun a few days ago. She still was not sure exactly what had triggered the idea. The day had been so peaceful as she walked around the lake listening to her favorite song on her iPod. The memory of the cool breeze ruffling her hair as the sun sank into a sea of red on the horizon calmed her slightly.

Later, on her way home, she had passed by a strip mall, and on a whim had entered one of the stores. It had been one of those cheesy little hole-in-the-wall places, the kind that sells a little bit of everything and nothing at all. She had browsed for half an hour, finally picking up a few items that had caught her fancy. Another customer was trying to use an expired coupon and shouting rudely at the harried looking store-clerk. She had decided to wait a bit, trusting that the other customer would leave soon.

She had paid the cashier by using her credit card. It was careless, and she had known better. She had just been too busy with her scheme to think about it. She left the store and wandered through a back alley and around to the parking lot where she had left her car.

When she reached her house she had sighed. The kitchen looked just like she had left it, reminiscent of a tornado touch-down, but she could not bear to enter the fray. She lacked both motivation and ambition to even attempt a thorough cleaning. Instead she had grabbed a container of cookies and spent the night in front of the television until she nodded off to sleep.

Several days passed, they were sort of hazy in her memory. She had prepared for his return, and even managed to wrestle the kitchen into some semblance of order. Then today. Today it had finally happened. The strain of it all had been growing and was liable to murder her.

Everything was in place. She heard the car pull up and felt butterflies dancing in the pit of her stomach.
The key turned in the lock. The door opened. He stepped inside. She watched his eyes take in the room, the balloons, the streamers, the cake. A grin spread across his face.

“What’s all this?” he asked. “I was only gone for a few days.”

She couldn’t hold it in anymore. “We’re having a baby!” she squealed.

He grinned and kissed her.

“Are you happy?” she asked. “Are you surprised?”

The grin faded. “Sweetie, grant me amnesty. But I checked the credit card balance… I saw the purchase you made for baby clothes and guessed before I got home… I’m sorry.”

She felt like an idiot. She always had been terrible at keeping secrets.

1 comment:

  1. Very intriguing story line! It captured my attention from the beginning and held it all the way to the end! :)