John W. Dennehy is a writer of dark fiction, including horror, speculative fiction, and supernatural suspense thrillers. He grew up in a small cottage on a lake in New Hampshire. After graduating from Pinkerton Academy, he enlisted in the U.S. Marines serving with MALS-26 Patriots. John went on to study English/Creative Writing at UNC Wilmington, and earned his law degree at Suffolk University Law School. His story Cast Out was published in Sanitarium Magazine, Finders Keepers appeared in SQ Magazine, and his story Into the Darkness was accepted by Voluted Tales Magazine.
Flash Fiction by John W. Dennehy
Cara sat on a window seat with a rosewood box in her lap. The box was closed.
She twirled a stone ring on her finger while musing about opening it. A blustery
hail storm brewed outside, clicking bits of ice against the window panes of her
coastal New Englander, classical architecture with cedar shake siding.
As she flipped the clasp on the box, Cara pondered about how her husband
had found them. It had only been a mid-life detour, a fling with a handsome young
man,a nobody that wouldn’t go much further than his plumbing job. No threat to
a powerful financier. Yet he blew. And seemed to have all the details, like a
camera had been placed on the mantel.
She started to crack open the box. But hesitated. She thought of the mantel.
Although Cara had come from a prominent family, she had done well by marrying
Stimpson. His uncle had been governor of New Hampshire, members of his family
were trustees at Exeter, and he was quite well off. Still, she had tolerated her
share of oddities. His obsession with Welsh mythology.
The wind picked up off the bay and gusted hard, shaking the house. She
flicked the lid open. A pair of cheap earrings lay snug in a corner, surrounded
by necklaces and trinkets from junkets past.
Reaching for the earrings, she paused, fearful Tim would find out. She
furrowed her brow wondering how he had known. And then she grew indignant.
Surely he had strayed. All those trips in search of artifacts. Again she began to
reach for the earrings and hesitated.
Cara had searched the living room for a camera. She inspected the rugged
mantel that he brought back from an estate in England, poking every crevice but
Staring at the earrings, she recalled his prohibition: he wouldn’t leave her if
she never had anything to do with him again, and if she promised to always wear
the stone ring. Cara gazed upon the earrings and felt a tinge of excitement. It
hadn’t been love, but he had made her feel young and beautiful. Her pulse
quickened through her arms and an excited chill ran up her spine.
Cara smiled and reached for the earrings. She held them up and her
heart beat rapidly. There was a feeling of ecstasy as the memories rolled
through her mind. Outside, there was a clap of thunder. A chill shuddered over
her and then Cara felt her fingertips turn a little numb. Then she felt a
prickling sensation run from her fingers, over her palms and partway up
her forearms. The prickling turned to pulsating jabs of pain Suddenly her hands
were stiff and the pain was agonizing. Cara dropped the earrings and they
clattered onto the hardwood floor.She looked down at them morosely.
Her hands felt heavy. Cara labored to lift them into view. They had turned
to stone,grey like the ring that she wore on her finger