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Clutch Innocence

The last of Grandma Jane’s bread sat there on the checkered cloth like a lonely boulder in the middle of a stream.

Maybe Greg would eat it later.


But the jam and the butter were all gone, and there would be other food later, when it was done.

He looked at Liz, leaned back on the blanket, eyes closed under the summer sky. Greg hadn’t seen his cousin in more than three years, hadn’t known if he ever would again.

But then the call came, and all the family converged on Grandma’s farm, just like when the kids were little.

“Don’t go running off with Liz,” his father had told him when they got out of the truck. Greg said he wouldn’t, even though he didn’t know why he shouldn’t. They had spent every summer until they were ten running and playing and frolicking in every corner of the property.

Why should anything change just because they were a bit older?

Greg shuffled his bare feet in the lush green grass, and then he lay back, too. The sun hurt his eyes, made him squint, but after a few seconds, he started to pick shapes out of the clouds.

Just like when they were little.

“See that cloud right there?” he asked, not bothering to point.

“Uh-huh,” Liz said. She didn’t open her eyes.

“It looks just like an elephant.” They always saw elephants in the clouds, when they were little.

“Uh-huh.” Liz reached over and took his hand in hers.

Down the hill, people were talking outside the farmhouse, the wind carrying their voices up to the kids. A woman began to cry.

Liz squeezed Greg’s hand tighter.

“There is still some of Grandma’s bread left,” she said.

“Maybe I’ll eat it later.”

Published inFlash Fiction

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