by Jinapher J. Hoffman
I wade into the water. The boat drifts out further—out of my reach—forever. It’s still on fire, the flames a beacon for lost hope. Ma grips my shoulder, pulling me back.
“But, where is he going?” I ask her.
She kneels down and pulls the tips of my fingers to her mouth and kisses them.
I wipe tears from her cheeks. “Don’t worry. Pa said he’d always come back.”
She pulls Pa’s tags from her pocket and puts them around my neck. “Not this time, baby.” She kisses my forehead. “Not this time.”
Her head nuzzles into my shoulder and I stare past her at the empty pasture.
“Ma, where is everyone? Aunt Linda? Cousin Tim?” I pull away from her. “They should be here. Shouldn’t they? They should see Pa off.”
Ma trembles. “Not every hero makes a crowd, baby.” She tugs on my hand. “Come on, let’s go back to the house.”
I shake my head. “I want to watch him go.”
She turns away. She always turns away.
Pa is a blazing dot against the horizon. I reach a hand out, grasping at the flames, but my palm is left empty and the boat is gone.
Jinapher J. Hoffman is the Founder and Writer for her self-named blog, author of the YA Dystopian Thriller Twenty, Co-Founder of Incipient Productions, Scriptwriter, Director, and a current student in Orlando – obtaining a BA in Creative Writing for the Entertainment Business. She’s had some of her short fiction published with 101 Words, Slink Chunk Press, and Flash Fiction Magazine. In her spare time, she is a DH Designs model, cat lover, and attempting to consume less coffee.