December Flash Friday, the Fourth.

I hope you all had a splendid day yesterday (or today for those behind Australia’s time zone). Here is my gift to you – my last offering for this month. I had a immense fun writing this one. The limit was 700 words.

“AT AUNT ENID’S”

by Karen J Carlisle (c) 2013

Lucy was not fond of visiting Aunt Enid. Her aunt was nice enough but had never really embraced the electronic age. She had no internet access or pay television. Lucy always got bored.

Use your imagination, her aunt would say. Reality can be so much more exciting.

Aunt Enid had a passion for garden gnomes. It was almost pathological. She collected them from everywhere. There were small cute ones, large ugly ones and novelty ones with axes in their heads. They hailed from England, Germany and local garage sales.

Lucy picked her way through the gnome collection which stood in formation over the entire front yard. They all stared at her. Or was that her imagination?

“Mind the gnomes, dear!” yelled her aunt.

#

Every night Aunt Enid would go out to Bingo, leaving Lucy to entertain herself. Tonight she hugged Lucy as she left, yet again.

“Are you sure that you won’t be bored?” asked Aunt Enid. Lucy pictured herself sitting in the Town Hall, amongst the cardigan-clad brigade, marking off Bingo cards in an effort to win a basket of goodies. She winced.

“I’ll find something to do,” she said. Her aunt smiled and disappeared up the garden path.

There are only so many things that can be done to stave off boredom. Lucy had already read the contents of her aunt’s bookshelf on previous visits. It had not taken long to re-organise them into alphabetical order. After a few hours of reality TV and repeats, Lucy’s brain grew restless. She wandered to the front window and proceeded to name each and every gnome in her aunt’s collection.

Clouds darkened the sky. The wind caught the rose bushes. A branch lashed out knocking over one of Aunt Enid’s precious gnomes.

Lucy braved the brewing storm to retrieve the gnome. He looked so sad lying with one ceramic arm shattered on the concrete path.

Aunt Enid will be so upset, she thought as she returned to the house with the retrieved pieces.

#

It was getting late when Lucy heard strange noises from the street. The wind had stopped a few hours earlier, yet the front picket fence was shaking. The rose bushes were not.

Through the window, Lucy saw strange shapes writhing in the street light, just beyond the fence perimeter.

“Ash wood,” said Aunt Enid in her ear, startling Lucy who had not heard her come home. “It is good for protection but it won’t hold them for long.”

Aunt Enid struck her walking cane on the floor. It glowed. The air reverberated as a wave pulsed outward. Lucy struggled to hold her balance.

There was a cracking sound from the front yard. Then another. The picket fence buckled as the shapes rolled over it and onto the lawn.

The gnome guards took a step forward in unison. Those with fishing rods now brandished swords in their place. Axes were removed from heads and were now pointed towards the shadows.

Each gnome rushed the intruders in turn, demolishing them from below. As each row of gnomes fell, another took its place. With military precision they fought on until finally the dark shapes dissolved into a grey mist.

“Open the door,” said Aunt Enid.

Lucy unlatched the door, threw it open then clung to the wall beside it, leaving a clear line of sight. Aunt Enid held her cane at arm’s length and blew gently along it, towards the doorway. The grey mist stirred then retreated beyond the picket fence.

The gnomes halted then turned toward the house. Those left standing marched to their spot leaving the broken remains of their comrades behind. Only when they had all returned did they turn, as one, to face the street. There was silence.

Aunt Enid slammed the front door shut and locked it. She walked calmly into the lounge room and slumped into her favourite chair.

“Is that exciting enough for you?” she said.

Lucy nodded slowly, trying to let the night’s events sink in.

“Then you had better fetch the superglue,” she said.

THE END

The idea for this flash fiction sprang from one of my WiPs (works-in-progress) – my fantasy story Through the Mirror, Darkly.


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