Annie On Writing

June 22, 2016

Flexible Flyer by Kate Abbott

Filed under: Twisted Tales,Writing Tools — Annie Evett @ 12:08 pm
It had been snowing since mid-day. She’d barely listened to the weather report as she dug through the garage for her snow shoes had. She could scarcely feel her fingers and she stumbled whenever she looked back to be sure her charges were still with her on the sled.
It was an ancient Flexible Flyer. Until an hour ago, it had been a planter in her neighbors’ yard. Mrs. Simmons used it in the summers as a platform for several Boston ferns. At the first hint of frost, the ferns disappeared. In the spring, the fronds would reappear, larger and greener each year.
Rosemarie could never get anything to grow. She’d tried but inevitably, the flowers and herbs she planted around her little house withered in the heat and perished when she forgot to water them. Her husband had left her for her inability to nurture. He’d walked away from the marriage after she couldn’t carry his child. It wasn’t that she hadn’t tried, but after saying goodbye to the third, tiny but perfectly formed person with half her DNA, she turned away from him. There was nothing to say and then, one spring morning, he was gone.
She looked for comfort in food, pills and alcohol. All any of that got her was a blank spot in the landscape of her memory. She tried to fill in the silence in her being and sometimes, the emptiness was stuffed briefly with the cotton of work and projects and reading.
Her colleagues fled the office when the forecast worsened. The security guard on final rounds stood respectfully next to her cubicle until she sensed his gaze. She glanced out the window and then, feeling ashamed at keeping him in the growing storm, she packed up her things and hurried out of the bank.
She drove home, painfully aware of her aloneness. There was no one to worry for her, make sure she was safe. She’d tucked herself into her nest on the couch, she couldn’t sleep in the bed where she used to have hope, thought she would be important to someone who needed her. A random Netflix series was droning in the background when something compelled her out the door into the storm.
The wind whipped the strands of hair that escaped her wool cap. She moved, without will but with conviction, into Mrs. Simmon’s yard, where she brushed the snow off the sled. She wondered, briefly, why she had a piece of rope in the pocket of her parka. She tied it to the sled.
She was sweating with exertion. She plowed through the powder until she was in a neighborhood that she’d never seen. She wouldn’t have ventured into if she had not been drawn there by a force outside her psyche. A gentleman’s farm with an eight volt electric fence. She scarcely felt the jolt on the way in, and on the way out she was totally unaware of the violent twitch it caused.
She trudged on, oblivious to the frost clinging to her face. She glanced back at the beings nestled on the sled. She smiled thought there was no one to see her face in the blinding snow. She could no longer feel her feet. Her hands were frozen on the rope. Her responsibility was nestled safely inside her blue parka on the sled.
Mrs. Simmons couldn’t sleep. The wind was keeping her awake. She looked out the kitchen window. Her planter had been moved from its spot. The snow had stopped falling. The moon cast a faint light on the front yard. She saw something on the sled, which was free of snow. She put on her glasses and frowned. Pulling on her fur lined cape and winter boots, she stepped outside.
She unzipped the parka on the sled. Pink noses and black eyes peered up at her. She took the babies inside to warm them. When the sun rose the next morning, Mr. Simmons found Rosemarie in the driveway. She had peace on her pale face and held a length of rope in her waxy hands. He called the police on his cell phone and waited for the gurney to be placed in the ambulance. He told the officers that he didn’t remember seeing the woman before.
He never told his wife. She was sensitive.
Across the street, the little cottage fell into disrepair. Boston ferns grew in the gutters and hung down over the front door.


  1. A poignant glimpse into a lonely life. Mr. Simmons’ statement that his wife was sensitive made the story even sadder, great touch by the author.


    Comment by Terese Wagner Abbott — June 24, 2016 @ 12:37 am | Reply

  2. I like how the disconnected elements came together at the end, her maternal instinct kicking in.


    Comment by ganymeder — June 27, 2016 @ 4:00 am | Reply

  3. I like how the disconnected elements came together at the end, her maternal instinct kicking in.


    Comment by ganymeder — June 27, 2016 @ 4:00 am | Reply

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