Family Fiction posted December 26, 2013

This work has reached the exceptional level
The gift that keeps on giving.

Hidden Miracle

by forestport12

Surprise Me Contest Winner 

Bill and Nancy slumped together on the couch. A sourdough existence registered on their faces days before Christmas. It was the first anniversary of their son's death from a car accident. Their son Josh was only seventeen when he missed the hairpin turn near home because of icy conditions, Just an accident, no one to blame, unless you wanted to consider your son's inexperience at the wheel or maybe almighty God's lack of intervention.

Trimming the Christmas tree, once a family ritual became a chore. Bill had stretched in pain to put the star in place above the spruce. But it had felt like a giant boulder. The only gifts under the tree were the ones they'd exchange in their empty nest that felt more like a tomb everyday. Bill never bothered to string the lights outside. Nancy didn't bother to make her son's favorite candy cane cookies. What would be the point?

They snuggled together and watched the evening gather darkness. Thick flakes fell like frozen confetti. "Looks like the first good storm of winter," said Bill.

Nancy sighed, "Can't stop thinking about our son. Not a day goes by..." Tears stained her face.

Bill squeezed her. His eyes stung with tears. "Me too, honey. Me too."

Nancy looked into his bloodshot eyes. "Do you think we did the right thing, letting him go like that?"

"It's what he would have wanted, being on life support. He lives in our hearts."

"He should have lived and one day been able to say those things about us."

They were very much in love after all these years. No matter the tragedy, a determined love kept them glued to each other, insulated from the outside world, swallowed together in grief. Maybe that's why they hadn't noticed the car lights that swept across the picture window.

The car rolled into Bill and Nancy's driveway on virgin snow. The doorbell made them jump. "Who could that be?" asked Bill. "It's late. Expecting someone, honey?"

"Heavens no. Unless it is an angel with a message, I won't have it." Nancy snuck a peek from the window. "It's some man in his thirties, and he looks determined. There's a family in his car. We have to find out what he wants."

"What he wants? Maybe he's holding a pocket full of miracles."

When they opened the door, a rush of cold air greeted them. "Can we help you?"

"My name is Alex Lopez. I know I should have called first, but I was the one who received your son's heart. I'm here to thank you because you gave my family a Christmas miracle."

A tremor rose from Nancy's feet to her gaping mouth. Bill feared she'd pass out. She fell down on her knees and sobbed. Bill turned white as a sheet of paper. "Please, please come in Alex. We...we knew, and we thought someday we might hear from the recipient."

Bill helped Nancy regain her posture. As Alex crossed the threshold, she was struck with a thunderous thought. "You...might think I'm forward, but can I feel...can I be allowed to hear my son's heart inside of you?"

Alex nodded and closed the door. Nancy nervously leaned an ear against his sweater and heard the precious gift of her son's beating heart.

That night, Bill and Nancy didn't sit alone. A young Alex had four children and a praying wife who counted on him living a long and fruitful life. For one magical night, the house was filled with children, love, laughter, and the heartfelt presence of their returning son.

Writing Prompt
This is a flash fiction contest. Write a story that has a surprise ending. Since it is flash, the word count must be between 200 and 600 words. The ending can be funny, sad, shocking, etc. But the reader has to be surprised.

Surprise Me
Contest Winner


595 words
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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