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Flash fiction: The sinkhole


An earthworm burrowed slowly past Earnest and Maisie’s kitchen window where they huddled, opening the latest mail from the Mine Subsidence Board.

Earnest’s eyes skimmed forward to the punchline. ‘Your appeal’ … ‘damage not substantiated’ … ‘We regret’…

He tut-tutted as he read.

Maisie held her breath.

“No good news, my angel.”

The latest shifts had been dramatic, sucking their wee cottage into the old sinkhole with a slurp and a snort and a crack.

They stood for a moment, regarding each other. Maisie holding her heart and searching Earnest’s face: Feeling his burden, his anger, his grief and quiet resignation.

“Ah, there’s nought for it,” he sighed. “Help me here, my darling.”

Maisie followed him as he pushed their old ladder over to where the front door had once stood and, as was their way, held steady while foot over foot Earnest ascended to hitch it up another inch.

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Photo credit: Paper Swans Press, UK


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