Skip to main content

He Will Be Back Soon

John is a poet and short fiction writer who enjoys collaborating on stories with other writers, and partaking in challenges.

Mother and child: Image by heblo from Pixabay

Mother and child: Image by heblo from Pixabay

Original Inspiration

In his Writers Mailbag: Installment #360 Bill Holland provided the following photo and invited fellow writers thus:

"Here’s a pic for you to play with. Give me one paragraph describing emotions based on the pic. Come on, you can do it! Dig deep!"


Well, something about the image of the mother and her two children, that Bill provided touched feelings in me and inspired me to try to describe it in a few short paragraphs. I managed to do that and share it in my article: The Value of Word and Photo Prompts.

However, that still hasn't satisfied me, and the image is still playing on my mind. For that reason, I decided to expand on those original few paragraphs and turn them into a piece of flash fiction. Will it end here? I don't know. I may even decide to work on it further and turn it into a short story - but time will tell.

For some reason, I can no longer upload the said image so you will have to see fit by visiting either Bill's or my previous article. Most of you can probably recall it anyway. * the image above is similar

Image by Jo-B from Pixabay

Image by Jo-B from Pixabay

He Will Be Back Soon

I rested my head on my mother’s shoulder to try to offer some comfort. She didn’t smile anymore. It seemed so long since she had. My baby brother slept a lot..at least when he wasn’t crying.

I am grateful for the canvas shelter that protects us from the sun and rain, but I’m hungry. Ma says we have to stretch what little we have and make it last.

At least Pa will be back soon. He left three or four weeks back to look for work on the railroad. He said not to fret, when he returns he’ll have money, food and presents for us all. He will be back soon... tomorrow I think...or the next day.

The lure of the Railway: Image by slavom from Pixabay

The lure of the Railway: Image by slavom from Pixabay

I wish I could do more to help.. at least until Pa’s here. I am not a baby anymore, I am eight years old. Ma gets me to collect wood so that we can light a fire and stay warm at night. But I need to do more than that. In fact, I know I can.

Pa has a box full of tools and other stuff he calls 'cessities which he keeps in the corner of our shelter. I open it up to try and find what I need. There it is! A spool of fishing line with hook and sinker attached.

We don’t have much I could use for bait, but I find a small piece of beef jerky on the bench. I put that in my pocket. “I’ll be back soon, Ma. Just going to collect some wood,” I yell, not waiting for her reply, as I head towards the river.

Ma thinks I am too young to go near the river alone. Well, I’m not. I need to grow up sometime, especially now Pa’s gone…I mean… away working. I put the jerky on the hook and toss the line in the water…and wait.

Eventually, there is a tug on the line...and I pull it sharply, then begin pulling it in. I can feel some weight, I caught something! As the hook comes out of the water there is a wriggling fish attached. It’s not big, but it is better than nothing.

I take it off the hook, shove it in the sack I took with me, re-bate the hook and toss it back in. Hopefully, I’ll catch another. I’m just about to give up when I feel another bite. That’s two fish….enough for Ma and me for dinner. My baby brother still drinks Ma’s milk.

he-will-be-back-soon

I proudly make my way home. I know Ma will scold me for going to the river, but I think she’ll be really pleased when she sees the fish. So it’s worth it. Pa will be home in a few days, I have faith, but at least I can help provide food until then. Pa will be proud of me too.

At first, I was angry with Pa going away and leaving us alone, but he said we needed the money and everything would be better when he returned. I know it will, and I forgive him for going. I just have to be the man of the house until he gets back. Tomorrow, I may hunt for rabbits ... if I can reach Pa's gun, and work out how to load it.

Old Railway Station: Image by Brigitte makes custom works from your photos, thanks a lot from Pixabay

Old Railway Station: Image by Brigitte makes custom works from your photos, thanks a lot from Pixabay

© 2021 John Hansen

Related Articles