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Homecoming -- Fiction Writers Group Flash Fiction for 7/10/20

Here is the prompt for this week's 300-word flash fiction entry (www.pixabay.com/photos/forest-path-trees-alley-outdoors-868715):



And here's my entry.



Homecoming


He refused help getting down from the wagon when it stopped at the end of the lane. But he still wasn’t used to the wooden leg the Army gave him before shipping him home, so he ended up face-down along the side of the road. The snickers from his fellows on the wagon were more subdued than he expected—probably because they saw their own fate reflected in his.

As the horses snorted and the wagon set off for the next homecoming, he levered himself to his feet, gathered his cane and pack, and set off down the lane. To his eyes, the trees his great-grandfather had planted along the track seemed to have grown even taller and more majestic during the years he was away. The canopy of branches kept the grass short, but now that their leaves had turned the color of his brass buttons and the blood of his buddies, their falling painted the lane with two ribbons of red. Unbidden, his thoughts flew to the creek behind Little Round Top where the lead had taken his leg. The creek and his leg had run the same crimson color that day.

He could see that no wagon wheels had disturbed the leaves where they lay, which worried him and quickened his hobbling pace toward the setting sun and his home. His eyes were cast downward when a long shadow fell across his path. He raised his head with a mixture of hope and fear and his eyes fogged with tears when he saw her silhouetted there. He hobbled faster, stumbling, but with her long skirts flying, she crossed the gap between them faster than he ever would again.

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