Short Story: The Faultless Four

Short story writing challenge #2 — The Faultless Four

The five words that were randomly generated for me to use are: gossip, wooden, spilled, crooked, weeds

Trudy had never been one to dwell on things, but today was different. Today the past had jumped into her bright yellow, sunflower painted mailbox and she had no idea what it meant.

After hunting down the album from her attic and nearly breaking her neck in the process, she headed to the porch—her comfort zone. It was a glorious day and the afternoon sun pushed through the grape vines dangling from the awning, the soft rays touching her wrinkled face with a warm kindness. She sighed and sat in her favourite blue wicker chair and laid the old album on her lap, its weight pushing down on her legs with its memories.

“Here goes nothing, old girl,” she said to herself as she opened it up. There they were in all their beauty and glory — the Faultless Four. Nothing could touch them back in the day. No boy, no parent, no other friend could ever get in the way of their tight little square of love, laughter and die-hard loyalty.

There was Susanne — her spectacular auburn hair tumbling down to her hips, her grey eyes dancing with mischief as she squeezed Mona so tight around the waist it looked like they were glued together.  Mona was looking down at Susanne with a crooked smile as if she was indulging a toddler. She was so tall that only one boy in their class had ever been able to even look her in the eyes. She’d married this boy and they’d had children that sprouted up like weeds—a family of gorgeous giraffes. Trudy was crossing her arms in the photo, her hip tilted and her face turned away from her girlfriends as if they were driving her crazy, which they often were, but she loved them anyway.

And then there was Caroline. Trudy had never noticed how determined C —their nickname for her— always seemed to look. She had always been the most fun of the Four, as well as the smartest. So smart. Too smart, maybe.

Trudy began to shake. It had been thirty years since Caroline had disappeared. They’d been her closest friends and yet they’d known as little about her disappearance as her poor, grief-stricken husband.  They’d shut the door of hope after three years and forced themselves to forget after five.  Until today. Trudy had spilled her tea all over her new tablecloth after she opened the letter. It had seeped into the old wooden table, leaving a dark stain. Three lines, five little words. That was all it took to thrust the door back open.

Dearest Trudy,

I’m alive.

~C.

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