Free Fiction Thursday story – After

This week’s free story was inspired by two things – a wonderful little pizza place/bakery in the small town of Hope, Idaho, and an article I read about the passing of Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead.

Several years ago I was on vacation with a friend, and we stopped for lunch in Hope at The Ice House Pizzeria. We ate our slices on the second story deck that looks out over Lake Pend Orelle. The deck was liberally decorated with an eclectic assortment of statues, knickknacks, and windsocks, and quiet jazz from a satellite radio station played in the background. I remember enjoying the pizza, but even more, I loved just sitting there, soaking up the atmosphere.

As happens a lot with the creative process, that experience sat in my subconscious waiting for the right time to put it in a story. That story turned out to be After. I hope you enjoy it.

Annie Reed
Published by Thunder Valley Press
Copyright 2011 by Annie Reed

The older Belle Creedy gets, the more she wonders about what happens. After.

In the mornings, when dawn’s just a lick of peach in the eastern sky and she’s so far into the world of her art she only knows the sun’s coming up because the racket from the birds roosting in the thick pines around her house intrudes on her thoughts, she stops whatever she’s working on and pads out onto the deck on the second story of her place. She watches ripples on the surface of the clear mountain lake just across the road take on the color of the pre-dawn sky, and she considers just how many coincidences go into making a world like this. Are they really coincidences after all? Or is there something more?

It’s quiet this morning, so early in the day the birds have barely started their chatter. So early that Gary Weeds, another old-timer like herself, isn’t even on the lake yet. Gary lives halfway up the mountain. He fishes every day he can, and since he retired in 1989, he can fish almost every day the weather lets him. He crunches down the one-lane dirt road that snakes up through the pines, rod and tackle box in his hand, and shoves off in his rowboat. Sits out on the lake half the day, the damn fool. One of these days she’s gonna catch Gary peeing over the edge of his boat. Man has a cast iron bladder, but even a cast iron bladder can’t stand against the ravages of time.

No one’s on the lake yet. She can hear the shallow waves slapping up against Gary’s boat where he moored at the end of the pier just as clear as if the boat and water were in the next room. Sound carries good out here, the air as crisp and clean as a new day should be.

Her hands ache this morning, the puffy joints of her fingers stiff and sore. “Storm blowing in,” was what her mother would say. Maybe she’d be right, but this morning the sky only has a hint of clouds far to the north.


Read the rest of the story here.

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This story is available for sale on Smashwords for a variety of e-readers.

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