My romantic flash fiction story "Beach House" has been published in Romance Flash:
be the first to admit that this is a pretty sad story for a romance,
but compared to the first version I wrote, this one’s all flowers and
I originally wrote this piece in response to a contest
prompt. Stories for the contest were supposed to feature a weathered
beach house and a woman placing a key in an envelope. I confess I had
quite a bit of trouble coming up with a storyline, and when I finally
did, it was a doozy. The basis of the story was essentially the same as
in the second version you read above, except that Susan actually is
expecting Derek to arrive. However, in order to incorporate the element
of the key and the suggested wording, I had to take drastic measures.
This was the original (now the alternate) ending:
“The storm had
passed when at last she arose; vanished into the house and emerged many
minutes later wearing a clean, dry sundress and carrying a light
backpack; a weary traveler yearning for rest. Struggling her way over to
her favorite spot on the porch, she sat; took two pills from an orange
bottle clenched in her fist and swallowed them whole. She tucked the
bottle into her bag and then fumbled through its contents until she
retrieved a pen and a crisp envelope creased neatly in half. Awkwardly
she unfolded it; opened the flap and dropped a shining silver key inside
it; the key to the oceanside home that they had once so happily shared.
With trembling fingers, she inscribed the stiff white paper with six
simple words and left them there for him to read; for him to try to
Sometimes it does hurt to hope.
Hoisting her bag
upon frail, fallen shoulders, she tripped clumsily away from the
weathered beach house and across the weather-beaten sand, no longer
having a point or a destination. No longer having a companion, to walk
with her across the beach until the end.”
Now that is a sad story.
being incredibly depressing, that version somehow never felt right to
me, but I couldn’t figure out a way to fix it. Finally I had the bright
idea of giving it a happy(ish) ending, and voila - my third piece in Romance Flash.