Imogen’s hands shook as she brushed the gathered debris away from the miniature village, her reeling emotions slow to calm. She righted a fallen bench and straightened a leaning signpost. Despite her best efforts, a clinging miasma of neglect remained. The place felt… empty.
It was an emptiness with which she was only too familiar.
Sometimes it seemed like only yesterday that Elsie had played amongst the overgrown shrubbery, her imagination transforming the secluded corner into a magical wonderland. Her carefree laughter had never failed to enliven Imogen’s spirits.
The village had always been Elsie’s work. It had first taken form when she’d still been a toddler – merely a higgledy-piggledy collection of sticks and stones, and pilfered toys that Imogen then had to embarrassedly return to their owners. “But the fairies need them, Mummy,” Elsie had protested. To halt her daughter’s burgeoning kleptomania, Imogen had gathered an array of craft materials, and she’d encouraged experimentation. Elsie’s own creativity had then taken over.
Imogen sighed, remembering those happier times. Everything was different now. Her delightful little girl was gone. In her place was a brooding, door-slamming impostor.
And Imogen wasn’t sure just how many more teenage outbursts she could stand.
Word count: 200 words
To read the other entries, or to submit your own, click the little blue frog.
This post is for the Sunday Photo Fiction flash fiction challenge. I haven’t written much flash fiction recently, but how could I resist Eric’s wonderful photo prompt?
I have to admit that, as I was writing this story I thought it would end with Elsie being either dead or stolen by the fairies. I even had a little scene in my head with fairy Elsie appearing by her shoulder and asking “Why are you sad, Mummy?” The ending that I actually wrote caught me somewhat by surprise!
Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed it.
6 thoughts on “Childhood Joys”
Fun ending! First I thought she’s died, then that she’d been swapped for a changeling by the faeries 🙂
Lovely story. I’m still lucky with a toddler who’s all smiles and squeals of delight. I’m dreading the teen-aged years when changelings swap her out for a brooding ball of ennui.
This hit close to home…a tad too close…I miss those days of dollhouses and tea parties and twinkle light cafes…but time to embrace all the newness of teens…the good, fun and the ugly. 🙂
Love the last line…funny and sad at once.
Very neat. Makes me think of Kevin and Perry 🙂
Lovely story, Louise, and one that most parents of teenagers will identify with. Why do toddlers have to age, after all…? 🙂
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