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What Lives They Contain -- FWG Flash Fiction for 12/18/2021

This one came pretty easy, maybe fifteen minutes for the draft. It's called "What Lives They Contain," and could be the prologue of a whole series of historical romance, thriller, or supernatural stories. My inspiration came from:





What Lives They Contain



The task was daunting, though the lawyer insisted it be done to settle the estate: inventory the entire library. Four walls stacked floor to ceiling with books jammed together every which way. All were leather-bound. Most had dates scribbled on their spines. Marcia stood to inherit the old mansion from some long lost uncle whom she had never met and hadn't even known existed. Adopted as a baby, she knew nothing about her birth family until a month ago when the estate attorney found her. The house comprised at least the twenty-four rooms she had explored looking for the library. Most were well-appointed with tall, though dirt-streaked, windows and beautifully carved woodwork. The floors squeaked, of course, but, Marcia thought, the house could be a showpiece and bring a small fortune if the right buyer could be found. Except for this dark and dingy "library," which was little more than a storeroom. She pulled the first of the dusty volumes off their shelf and carried them to a table. The pages crinkled, and dust tickled her nose when she opened the first one. In it, written in a beautiful, but hard to read cursive, was a lady's journal. The first page was dated January 3rd, 1872. Intrigued, Marcia read the page, then the next, and the next. The story they told of her extraordinary ancestor kept her mesmerized until her eyes grew blurry from the dim overhead light fixture. Straightening, she breathed in the smell of the linen paper, the old leather, and perhaps just a hint of her great-great-great-grandmother's lavender perfume. She gazed longingly, even a little lovingly, at the thousands of journals that hid the walls completely, as if they alone held up the ceiling. How many lives did they chronicle? How many stories would they tell her?


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