Flash Fiction Fridays: Loss


The Doll by the Graveyard Fence 
By Kathy Handley

On a murky day in November, Rosalie ambled down the dusty road three miles to the tiny enclosed graveyard one would almost miss, as the bulky-branched bushes criss-crossed like arms and saplings grew unnoticed between tall scrubby oaks nearly — all of which secluded and encased the squiggly path to it. She took the trail and stopped to lean against the waist-high, black wrought iron fence — her usual rest station. Glancing casually into the area, where leaves and brush had covered many of the gravestones, she spied a flash of color, a tiny triangular flag of blue material poking out on one plain, flat unmarked gravestone. Easing over the fence and shuffling through the debris, she lent crunching sounds to the silence before she bent to discover a doll. The torn-worn blue dress had lost most of its lacy, yellowed trim. Her matted hair, reminiscent of forties dolls that once delighted children back in the day, held a touch of its original shape. The doll by the graveyard fence had hazel eyes that defied understanding.

Speaking to the doll, Rosalie said, “Oh Dearie, you look so cold, but I dare not take you home. And who left you here, sweetie pie?”

A beloved child already passed…  a mother who has experienced a killing loss.

Rosalie knelt by the doll, as if to pray for her.  The white barn owl watched, the birds, in spirit, clumped together silently on a wire above her. The spin of an airplane engine, that was faltering, clunked by. Rosalie’s knees were damp. Her trousers took on the earthy smell of the forest and her eyes dampened with sadness. Was she meant to understand loss? 

to come…

Kathy Handley, a Grub Street member, writes fiction of all lengths. Her short fiction has appeared in many literary magazines, including www.istanbulliterarymagazine.com and www.literarymama.com. Her writing placed in many contests, most recently she placed in Press 53 2010 Flash Fiction and won the Word Hustler’s Page-to-Screen contest. Handley currently serves as Prose Poetry judge for the National League of American Pen Women Soul-Making Contest. She is the author of Birds of Paradise and her collection, A World of Love and Envy, Short stories, Flash Fiction, and Poetry. To learn more about Kathy, visit her website.


Kelly Hashway said…
Great use of the senses.
Sarah Dalton said…
I love the imagery of the birds watching.

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