In response to today’s Faber Academy ‘QuickFic’ 250 word writing prompt – “We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities” – I wrote a short story.
They had closed the lid on the coffin.
She could see the ghost of it: the sleek wood, gilded finish, brass handles. A rectangle of pain.
Draped in black, she sat on the only chair in her grandmother’s bedroom, in front of the dressing table.
Her ghastly reflection looked back at her in the mirror.
The wardrobe behind her was ajar. She couldn’t bear to close it. It was all that was out of place.
Everything was so still now. The room was filled with shadows; the curtains were closed.
Her breathing became shorter. She could hear her gasps for oxygen as her eyes filled with tears. She blinked them away, rubbing her face with the back of her hand, and a sparkle caught her eye.
The small glittering jewellery box was perched in the corner of the dressing table.
It had always seemed so elegant to her. She remembered being eight, standing on her tiptoes to peer at its sharp edges and being slapped away.
Ten years later, there it was, within reach for the first time.
She picked it up. It felt cold in her hands. She opened it.
Resting on the plush red interior was a lavish gold necklace. It was beautiful.
She took it out and placed it around her neck. The clasp clicked and she looked again at her reflection, touching the necklace gently.
She tucked it under her shirt, and stood up.
This was what she needed.
It was a memory.
It was hope.