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“Whatcha doing, Mommy?”

It was a dark October night, and cold rain pelted the bedroom window. Lisa stood in the doorway, head cocked sideways.

Nancy looked up from the old nightstand that served as her writing desk, smiled at her daughter

“Well, Lisa … I’m writing a book!”

The little girl’s eyes lit up. “A book?” She exclaimed. “Can I read it?”

“Maybe when I’m finished,” Nancy said.

“When will that be?” Frustration filled Lisa’s voice.

Nancy held the notebook up to the light and flipped through the pages for the girl to see. Most of them were empty.

“I still have a lot left to write,” Nancy said.

“Awwww!” Lisa was in anguish now. “Can’t I read just a little bit?”

“And miss trick-or-treating?”

Lisa’s eyes bugged open wide. She had almost forgotten it was Halloween.

Nancy put down her pen, stood, and walked across the room. She stooped and adjusted the ruffled edges of the girl’s Strawberry Shortcake skirt.

Lisa had forgotten about that costume, too.

“Are you ready, honey.” Dan’s voice was soft behind her. “I think we got everything your mom needs.”

Lisa glanced over her shoulder to find her husband standing there in the doorway to her mother’s bedroom, small duffel in his hand.

“The nursing home supplies almost everything.” Dan said, eyes cast low.

Lisa nodded and forced a timid smile. Turned her gaze back to the book she held in her hands.

“It was the coldest, rainiest Halloween yet.” Nancy’s soft, neat handwriting spoke to Lisa from the page. “Lisa only trick-or-treated for fifteen minutes before she called it quits, then we came home and watched scary old movies on TV, just the two of us. It was the greatest Halloween yet.”

Lisa flipped through the rest of the journal, taking in page after page through tear-bleared eyes. The last several leaves were still blank.

“Did you grab a pen?” she asked Dan quietly. “Mom will need a pen.”

Published inFlash Fiction

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