She opened the door with anticipation more than strength; she'd been looking forward to this all week. Placing her hand over her middle in a futile attempt to still her anxious stomach, she muttered, "Butterflies, eh, feel more like raging ants."
Claire stood at the end of the dull hallway, with two long braids stretching down to her waist and a small, pale hand clutching his. Their eyes met over her little head, his cold and calculating, hers, wide and a little scared. Claire's musical little voice broke the contact.
"Are you sure we're ready for this, Jason?"
Jason's head slowly turned away from her. Claire saw his shoulders raise as he took a deep breath. She knew what that meant, she had seen it before.
So unlike [their] Dad, Jason was going to let her take the lead again.
The door swung away from Claire's hand, as though grabbed from the other side. The fragrance of lavender and old age filled their heads and quickened their pulses. It was the last time they'd see home. At least home as they'd ever remember it to be.
Gram sat on the davenport, elegant as ever, but moved her hand slowly as she pointed to the keepsake box high the top of the buffet. "It's time you knew the truth before it's too late," she rasped.
Her small hand formed a trembling fist. "Rap on the top of the box three times, quickly now."
Inside the box was a small butterfly broach that laid on top of several small torn pages and a few pictures turned upside down. Her hand still trembling as she went to turn them over.
Who were these people in the pictures? They looked familiar somehow.
"Gram, I don't understand. What am I looking at here?" she asked, voice shaking.
The old woman looked at Jason, her face hawk-like, her eyes full of accusation. "Ask him. He knows."
"Your destiny," Gram said. One lone tear followed the crease the smile line on her face.
Gram was being vague again, yet truth rang in her words. Frowning, Claire tugged on a braid and studied Jason. What did he know of destiny? Of dust-lined pictures hidden in a box?
He didn't meet her pointed look, choosing instead to pluck the pictures from Gram's box and hold them up to the light.
Shock wrapped around his mind as he stared at this haunting image. "How is this possible?" he whispered to himself.
"Look," his voice barely a whisper. "Claire, it's us."
He held out the picture, and she snatched at it.
"When we were... oh, but it can't be." Claire turned to Gram.
...And that's it. I've added nothing. (My only contribution was the very first line.) I just want to leave it hang here, because I like the way we can form our own conclusions.
What scenario comes to your mind?
Well done, everyone! Thanks for adding your own bits. I think it's a great experience, and I appreciate your participation.
Have a wonderful weekend.