I took the Blue Ridge Parkway from Blowing Rock to almost Asheville on my way home from my first AuthorCon / Scares That Care event. I stopped as often as I could to take in the view, or to hike a short ways, half a mile or so, on some of the trails. I stopped here at the Chenoa View to do a reading of my story Harbinger, which appears in Root, Branch, Tree: 2020 National Flash Fiction Day Anthology.
After I finished reading, it occurred to me I might have read that one at a boat ramp, since a boat ramp is not only part of the setting, but also where I got the idea for the story.
Once upon a time, I lived in a duplex not quite a mile from Cedar Lake in Southern Illinois. Before I had a kayak, I’d walk my dog down to the lake, or sometimes, drive there instead of going straight home after work. It was a chaotic time in my life (when isn’t it though) and sometimes I needed a minute to sit by the water before going home. The idea for this particular story started when I drove to the boat ramp during a nighttime thunderstorm. I sat there in my truck, watching the lightning flash over the lake and listening to the dark-moving clouds rumble, and thought about what it’s like to lose someone you’ve already lost.
In this story, I mean for the end to be ambiguous. Why does GraceAnn make her deal, and with whom? Does she want her sister to go soon so she won’t suffer? Or is GraceAnn bitter? Does she really wish it was her instead?
I hope you enjoy the story!