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Flash Fiction by Ann Bowend
Ann’s hands moved quickly and deftly as she rolled the biscuits into symmetrical balls and placed them in the iron skillet. Her white hair fluffed around her face, and she pushed it back with her wrist, leaving a trail of flour on her forehead.
The iron skillet was perfect for making biscuits. They always came out brown on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. She pressed the last biscuit in place, and then slid the skillet into the hot oven. While the biscuits baked, she laid strips of bacon on a plate and popped them into the microwave. She glanced at the clock and sucked in her breath. Jackson would be rolling out of bed any minute.
With hands that shook slightly, she cracked three eggs into a bowl and gave them a quick stir. She kept a close eye on the clock while she finished breakfast. She slid the dirtied pots and pans into her massive sink and was just wiping the counters when Jackson walked in.
She smiled tentatively. “Good morning, honey.”
He grunted and ran a hand along his grizzled jaw as he plopped his massive bulk into the chair. She poured him a steaming cup of coffee and set the plate in front of him.
The butter dripped from the biscuit as he took his first bite. He frowned and looked at her for the first time. “Where’s the fig preserves?”
“You used the last of the figs yesterday. I have some blackberry jelly I put up last year.”
He snorted. “You know I don’t like blackberries.”
She kept silent even though it was the first she had heard of it.
“Run next door and see if they have any.”
She bit her bottom lip. “Hardly anyone makes fig preserves nowadays. Mrs. Anderson never even cooks.”
He waved a hand at her in dismissal. “I don’t care where you get ’em, just go.”
“I’ll run to the store and see what I can find.”
He pushed back his chair, and it clattered to the floor. “I ain’t eating no store-bought figs.”
She backed away, but he ignored her as he headed for the door.
“Where are you going?” she asked.
The door slamming behind him was the only answer she received. She hurriedly ate her breakfast, casting glances at the door as she ate.
She hesitated when she finished her last bite. Should she clean up his plate? What if he changed his mind and came back?
She took her plate to the sink and leaned against it, feeling dizzy.
She heard the door open, as if from a great distance. Jackson’s form wavered before her.
He settled his bulk back in the chair and opened the jar of figs he held in his hands. “Fetch me a spoon.”
She tried to speak, but words would not form.
“What’s wrong with you, woman?” He twisted in his chair to get a better view.
The right side of her mouth drooped down, and no sounds emerged. Jackson gave her a quizzical look and rose to rummage through the drawer.
With much effort, the words slurred, she managed to say, “Need to go. Hospital.”
He raised an eyebrow at her. “As soon as I finish my breakfast.” He sat down and shoveled in a mouthful of eggs.
Ann looked into the sink. The iron skillet rested on top of the other dishes. She tried to grasp the handle with her right hand, but her fingers would not close around it. So she picked it up with her left.
Jackson never knew what hit him.