I thought I would offer you a quick read today. This is an example of flash fiction, where an entire story is told in a few paragraphs. This is a photo of the remains of a real, once elegant, 19th century hotel. It was my inspiration for Denouement.

The grand old gal had ten more hours to live. Her broken windows fixated on the waves biting into the lake’s edges. How many summers had her rooms caressed lovers, families, and strangers? Slowly neglected over the years, she had come to this.

She knew what bulldozers sounded like. She had heard their murderous growl destroy her friends. Nine a.m. tomorrow, one would come for her. Everyone in town knew, but none cared.

Except Derrick McAllister. He cared a great deal. Grateful for the full moon, with a flashlight attached to his belt, he crept around the old hotel, searching for any opening in the wild growth that choked her. If he found an opening, could he get in? Would the floors hold his weight? He had no choice. He had to try, so he could flee if necessary.

It was a miracle he found the door. Relief flooded him when the floorboard just inside held. Two more steps and his confidence grew. He yelped when his third step broke through rotting boards and dumped him into the basement, next to the heap of wood that once had been stairs.

Nursing a throbbing hip and twisted ankle, he swallowed screams of pain. Had he buried her body deeply enough to remain hidden? It had been years. If found, her remains would lead straight to him. He bit his lip until he tasted blood. Rolling along the floor and sweeping his arms like a clock’s second hand, his fingers found a bone. His flashlight showed him another.

He stared at the gaping hole high above that opened to the first floor and sobbed.

Copyright 2023 Sue LeDoux