Chris has written more than 300 flash fiction/short stories. Working Vacation was 21st out of 6,700 in the 2016 Writer's Digest competition.
This story is a response to the flash fiction challenge put out by DzyMsLizzy in the forum. Here is her challenge:
For anyone interested, for the fun of it, write a short (flash fiction) type of story, in which the following sentence must appear at some point:
"Analisa sat alone on the park bench, the scowl on her face as dark as the gathering thunderclouds."
Look for stories by other writers responding to this challenge.
Analisa sat cross-legged on the blanket toying with the gold chain and heart-shaped locket her grandma had given her just a few days before she died. She opened it and smiled at the tiny photo of her grandma and grandpa when they were newlyweds. Trips from the city to her grandparent’s farm were her favorite childhood memories.
The warm sun was making her sleepy, so Analisa lay down and used her hands as a pillow for her head. The chain and locket glinted in the sunlight just a few inches from her face. Her eyelids fluttered and closed.
She awoke to the cawing of crows. Analisa sat up on the blanket and looked around. Dozens of crows roosted on the branches of a large oak tree not far from where she had spread her blanket. Then she remembered her chain and locket. She turned back just in time to see a crow grab hold of the gold chain with its beak. The bird hopped away a few feet and turned back.
Analisa crept toward the black-feathered bird watching its dark brown eyes. “You like shiny things?” she said in a quiet, cheerful tone. “Yes, it is pretty, isn’t it. Give it to me now. Nice bird.”
The crow flew over her shoulder toward the oak tree where it was lost in the crowd of cawing birds.
Analisa was dumbstruck. After watching the crows fly away, she called the police. Soon, a handsome young officer arrived. She told him how her chain and locket had been stolen by the crow and about how precious it was to her.
“I’m sorry, Miss, but I’m afraid the crows have flown away and taken your locket with them.”
Analisa buried her face in her hands and wept, not only for the locket but for the memories it held. “I understand. Thank you for coming anyway.”
“Let’s walk around under the tree just in case the bird dropped the locket.” The officer held out his hand to help her up. “It’s worth a try.”
They walked in circles around the tree, talking, and keeping their eyes on the ground in front of them. But the locket was nowhere to be found.
She spent the rest of the week in a dark depression. She blamed herself for leaving the locket on the blanket. The least she could have done was to wrap the chain around her wrist. But it was history. The locket was stashed away in the hollow of a tree someplace along with the crow’s collection of buttons, coins, and pieces of colored glass.
On the following Saturday morning, Analisa sat alone on the park bench, the scowl on her face as dark as the gathering clouds. She had come back to the park one more time, praying for a miracle.
“Hi, again...Miss…” The young, handsome police officer, now in civilian clothes, stood before her. “Do you mind if I join you?”
“Please, have a seat.” Analisa patted the spot next to her and smiled as best she could.
The two spent half an hour talking. The storm was getting closer, so they decided to go someplace for lunch. Before they could get up from the bench, the crows returned to the oak tree. There was a fluttering over their heads, and they both threw their hands up in reaction.
The crow landed just a few feet in front of where they sat. Analisa looked into the dark-brown eyes. The crow took two hops forward and dropped the gold chain and locket at her feet. Then it flew to the oak tree where it was lost in the crowd.
The officer, off duty, and Miss sat in mesmerized silence for a moment.
“This has turned out to be an amazing day,” said the officer. “Too special for just a quick lunch. Let me pick you up for dinner tonight...someplace really nice.”
"Yes, and I won’t have to think too hard about what necklace to wear, will I?”
© 2019 Chris Mills