Flashback Friday: Black Snake

This Flash Fiction piece was written in February for a contest. The idea was you had to choose at least four of ten words provided and write a story including those words. The ten words to choose from were “scraggly”, “pecan”, “route”, “succinct”, “accumulate”, “handle”, “bias”, “exist”, “coast” and “handkerchief”. I obviously didn’t win the contest, but I did end up with a FF piece to share with you here. I hope you like it!

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Black Snake

I sat in the shade of the big oak tree in our scraggly yard. I was twelve that summer, and I had been sent out into the heat to give Mama and Daddy some privacy in our shabby, salt box house. Daddy had come home on his lunch break. He handed me something knotted up in a grimy handkerchief as they shooed me out the door. I unwrapped the small parcel to discover a handful of shelled pecans.

I ate Daddy’s gift in the smothering July heat that accumulated around my mouth and nose like a wool sweater. A snake slithered against the foundation of the house. It’s barely perceptible tongue tasted the air. I calmly watched from my shady seat, munching pecans, and tracing the snake’s undulating route with my eyes. I wasn’t afraid of black snakes. Daddy said they were good. They wouldn’t hurt me, but they would eat our mice. We could exist peacefully together.

The snake was four feet long, smooth and round as a rake handle. I watched it raise its head steadily along the rock foundation and then disappear through a small hole in the masonry. I watched the long, thick body disappear with a sudden and succinct drop, as the weight of the front end pulled the back end through. I found this unlawful entry intriguing.

Two weeks later, Daddy emerged from the cellar gripping the snake behind its head. I smiled as my eyes found the pregnant lump in the middle.

©2015 Rachel Holbrook

You can read my previous Flashback Friday stories here!

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