Lived In: flash fiction

Bill hadn’t been in such a nice house for a very long time. It was quiet but a different kind of quiet than the dusty silence of the warehouse. They were standing in an entryway with wood floors that led into a carpeted den ahead. Miniature coats hung from hooks by the door, and small tennis shoes were pushed up against the wall.

There were dishes in the sink from earlier in the day. There were blankets of various colors piled sloppily on the sofa in the den. A basketball sat against one wall, a pink scooter against another. There were empty pudding cups and spoons on the kitchen table, and magazines and a pile of mail on the counter next to an essay with a big red B written on the front of it.

If he had to sum up their house in one word, he would describe it as: living. The house was vibrant and alive, even when no one was home. Life oozed from the walls in colorful wallpaper and bubbled up from the sink in crumbs and sticky spoons. This was a place where the parents loved their children and the children loved them back. He couldn’t believe he had been permitted into a house like this.

“You okay, Dad?” asked Mike, as though it was his new mantra.

“I’m fine,” Bill replied, drinking in the house. “W-where is the garage?”

“Right through the kitchen,” said Mike, guiding him around the counter.

Bill walked slowly, doing his best not to scratch the wood floor. Mike opened a small side-door and turned on the light.

A/N: In fiction writing, “exposition” is often a dirty word. However, stories need exposition in order to hold all the moving parts together and get them moving in the right direction. The trick is to turn exposition into pertinent description.

Here’s a little experiment of mine, practicing slowing down and really entering the space my characters inhabit. I really enjoyed creating this house. The story is about a bad father who, at the end of his life, moves in with his estranged family.


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