Flash Fiction Winner – “The Trunk” by Alicia Pronovost

A door remained open, mutely swinging in a breeze she could not feel. Light glimmered, curling around its edge, beckoning her forward. The first step creaked beneath her foot, and she hesitated. When did she decide to put it there?

With her hesitation came doubts. She shouldn’t be doing this. It had always been forbidden. But she’d been a child then. Maybe it was just one of those rules for children. Maybe it didn’t matter anymore. She looked around her, but the upstairs hallway was still empty, sounds of movement in the kitchen below still echoing up to her. Above, the door still hung open, a door that had never been open. A door that was forbidden.

Throwing caution to the wind, she ran on tip-toe up the steps, blessing her years of ballet training for making her light and quick on her feet. Her head awash with the heady sensation of disobedience, she threw herself through the door, pushing it almost closed behind her, and sighing in relief.

Cobwebs hung in the corners of the dusty attic room, dangling over some old pots and pans that seemed rusted with age. Various other things were piled in the corners, but straight ahead, sitting in a small round window, was an old trunk. Heart pounding, she made her way straight to it and threw open the lid.

A treasure trove sat inside, a secret gathering of old papers and photos. A dusty bottle of wine, now empty, sat on top, and she coughed as she blew the dust off its faded label. Grinning, she began to rifle through the letters, movie tickets and paper clippings, recognizing the dark eyes of her grandmother in the young face that looked up at her. In one photo she stood beside a handsome young man that looked… nothing like her grandfather. They smiled beneath a Ferris wheel, hand in hand, a sparkling ring glinting faintly in the black and white sun on the stuffed bear she held.

She frowned for a moment at the picture, until something beneath it caught her eye. It was a newspaper clipping.

 

Car Found in Lake, Three Teenagers Dead

 

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