300-word story: A young man's visit to his parents' house brings back a childhood memory.
Kevin rarely visited his parents at their home. It wasn't that he didn't want to see them, quite the opposite, as he loved meeting up for an afternoon in the tea rooms or a pint down the village pub. It was the house that kept him away.
The place itself was lovely, boasting the perfect combination of large yet cosy, whilst effortlessly mixing decades-old wooden furniture with modern creature comforts. Its most notable feature was a richness of personality, filled to the rafters with trinkets and photographs that brought back all kinds of memories. These memories in particular didn't pose a problem for him, but they were attached to another.
Standing alone on the riverbank that ran parallel to the property, Kevin was knee-deep in lavender and watching bees zipping amongst the wildflowers. It should have been a peaceful moment, good for the soul, but instead he was tormented by images of a nightmarish day from long ago.
He and his friend had been the same age. Together they would explore the bank, mesmerised by the furious froth of the passing stream. Now, with the hindsight that comes with adulthood, Kevin tried to convince his conscience that it had been a harmless prank, nothing more. But the guilt was still too strong, and he couldn't help but picture his younger self hiding in the undergrowth and calling out in mock distress.
That was fifteen years ago. In that time, Kevin had grown into a young man, an opportunity he had stolen from his childhood friend. His face sagged as he peered down into the river. It was a mere three feet from bed to bubbles; barely enough to reach his waist, yet capable of consuming a small boy. A helpless chick cruelly snatched from its nest and carried far away.
Copyright © 2020 Rich Sutherland
Image: Heorhii Heorhiichuk