New Flash Fiction

Fall is my favorite time of year and always breeds creativity for me, for some reason the Autumnal tones of yellow and red leaves kick start my writing gears and new things come to me. Here's a little flash fiction I jotted down the other night, hope everyone digs it!

The Walk

Their feet slapped the pavement and echoed back to them from the houses lining the road.
Mathew giggled, his small body straining forward while the laughter inside him weakened his muscles.
“I’m gonna get you, Matt!” Justin yelled at his son. His pace was slow enough to allow the boy just enough room to think he was going to get away.
“Nuh uh!” Matthew said between bubbling laughs.
They ran down the looping road that lined their neighborhood, nice houses scrolling by, the last rays of sun barely filtering through the trees. It was beginning to cool off, only early September but already the days were shorter, the temperature never climbing above sixty degrees during the day.
Mathew turned the corner on the loop and jogged down a small hill, his little legs pumping harder now that he had momentum. “Can’t catch me now, dad, I’m an airplane!”
“What? Oh, you’re an airplane? Well then I’m a fighter jet!” Justin made a hissing sound and spread his arms out wide like wings, poured on a burst of speed and scooped his son up into his arms.
“No fair,” Matthew said amidst giggles. “You’re bigger than me.”
“You’re right, but someday you’ll be bigger than dad and then you’ll be able to pick me up.”
The little boy seemed to consider it for a moment, his forehead furrowing into lines, eyebrows raised high, a hint of sorrow on his face. “I won’t ever be bigger than you, dad.”
“You never know,” Justin said, placing his son back on his feet. “Now, it’s getting late, we better get going home, still need to make dinner and everything.”
“I’m really tired.”
“From running? But you’re young, you should have more energy than I do.”
“I just really tired.”
“Need a ride.”
Justin scooped the boy high into the air and sat him on his shoulders while they walked. The evening blossomed with shadows patching the sides of the road. Several lights began to glow behind windows, illuminating long squares of manicured grass across lawns. Crickets played a constant symphony and a few birds flitted overhead in search of nests before nightfall.
They were still a quarter mile from home when Matthew kicked his feet once. “I think I can walk now, dad.”
“You sure?”
“Yeah, I’m starting to get cold.”
Justin lowered him to the ground and felt a bit of dismay at not thinking to put a sweatshirt on his son. He wore his favorite t-shirt, the one he always seemed to have on. “Sorry, buddy, I should’ve brought a long sleeve for you.”
“It’s okay, dad, I won’t be cold for long. We’ll be home soon, right?”
“We sure will, buddy, and I’ll make you some soup.”
Matthew pointed ahead of them at the dusky street. “Dad, who’s that?”
Justin looked up and saw a tall figure approaching on the left side of the road. Up until then he hadn’t noticed they weren’t alone. How had he missed the person on the straight stretch? As the figure neared he let out a breath he hadn’t consciously been holding. It was their neighbor, Dan Parsons. The wash of fear receded, leaving him feel foolish, but you could never be too careful, especially with your kids.
“Evening Justin.” The old man said as he neared them. “Beautiful night.”
“It sure is,” Justin said, feeling the warmth of Matthew’s hand slide into his own. “We couldn’t resist a walk, could we Matty?”
Matthew shook his head, staring up at the tall man with wrinkles deeply set in his face like a ploughed field. Parsons glanced down at his shoes and smiled in a sad way. “How have you been lately, Justin, everything going okay?”
“Yeah, just fine. Busy at work and whatnot. How about you? How’s Elsie?”
“She’s good, wants you to stop by for dinner again soon.”
“That’d be really nice, we’d like that.”
Dan nodded, glanced around the deserted road. “You sure you don’t want to come inside, talk for a bit?”
“No, that’s okay, better get the little guy home, but thanks. I’ll catch up with you soon.” Justin held Mathew’s hand and set off down the road toward their waiting house leaving Dan to stand by himself listening to the coming night.
Dan finally sighed and walked a hundred yards to his own driveway, pausing to check the mail but Elsie had gotten it already. The windows glowing gold looked so inviting, but he hesitated, breathing in the evening air before going inside.
Elsie was popping popcorn when he hung his coat up and pulled his shoes off. She glanced away from the pan for a moment as he stepped into the kitchen.
“Saw you talking to Justin. He was out for a walk?”
“Yes, I need to speak with Jill, she’s letting him have too much freedom lately, I worry he’s going to wander off one of these times.”
“Well, why didn’t you invite him in?”
Dan waited, watching Elsie shake the popcorn pan, her gray hair bouncing a little. He closed his eyes. “Because he had Matthew with him.”
Elsie stopped shaking the pan, her spine slowly going rigid. She stared ahead out of the window, now opaque to all but their reflections. “I thought he was getting better.”
“So did I.”
She sighed, her fragile frame weakening, almost buckling over the stove. “We should move him in here.”
“We’ve went over this before, I think that would only make it worse.”
Elsie took the pan off the burner and faced him. Her eyes had lost what gleam they had only minutes earlier. “We’ll have to tell Jill to change his medication.”
Dan sighed, remembering the way his son looked at him like an acquaintance. “Sometimes I just wish that I could still see him too.”