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Linger

“What’s that over there, Dad?” Wes pointed to the dilapidated structure on the other side of a rusty chain link fence.

Will glanced at the overgrown weeds and tiny house beyond his mother’s backyard. He kept walking.

“It’s just an old house, Wes,” Will said. “Nobody lives there.”

They were standing on the front stoop of Martha’s house now, and Will wasn’t sure whether to knock or just walk right in. It had been a long time since he’d been home.

He began with a timid knock, and when no sound came from inside the house, he eased open the door.

“Mom?” he called.

“In the kitchen,” a faint voice answered. “Come on in.”

Will nodded to Wes, and they stepped inside the house. The living room was like a time capsule to Will, exactly the same as when he’d left for college thirty years before.

The only think missing was Bill.

Martha stood at the sink in the next room. It had been a year since Will had seen his mother, when she and Bill came out for Wes’s sixteenth birthday.

“The Daltons are going to tear down Mammaw and Pop’s house,” she said, keeping her back to Wes and Will. “They bought the lot, and they’re going to put a garden shed there.”

“No one has lived there for a long time, Mom.”

“Who are those men, Mammaw?” Will pointed through the front screen door of his grandparents’ house.

Mammaw stepped up beside the boy and put a hand on his shoulder.

“Hard to say, sweetheart. Maybe you’ve seen them before.”

Will frowned. “I don’t think so. Least, I don’t remember seeing them.”

Pop slipped his arm around Will from the other side.

“Memories cling to places we love, Will, even when you think nobody lives there anymore.”

Published inFlash Fiction

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