I wanted to share another piece of flash fiction I wrote as a part of Lisa Kessler’s class. I had so much fun working on these short fiction pieces. The max word count for this assignment was 500 words. I used every available word. We were told to write a romance piece, but a sub-genre that was something new. Since I normally write romance, I picked historical–Civil War era. I hope you enjoy the peek into Elizabeth’s day! And I hope you appreciate that I stepped out of my comfort zone to tackle a historical piece. LOL
A Chance Meeting
Last night, she kissed a Union soldier. Her very first kiss. His firm lips upon hers, the touch of his rough hands, and the scratchy wool of his blue uniform…it all felt so real. She’d been shocked to realize it was only a dream.
Elizabeth pushed her sleeves up and wiped her sweat-drenched forehead. The June morning seemed no different than the day before—bright sunshine and high humidity.
Deciding it was too hot to do laundry inside, she set-up the large wooden bucket on the back porch then filled it with hot water. After grabbing the soap and worn washboard, Elizabeth started scrubbing.
Yesterday after church, the subject of the Confederates dominated conversation—if and when they’d attack Gettysburg. Her parents discussed their fears later that evening, when they thought she was asleep.
Blowing damp strands of hair out of her face, she walked the basket of clothes to the line. She took her time hanging the clothes as the breeze cooled her skin.
A branch snapped, causing her to jump. With her heart racing, Elizabeth strode toward the house.
“Young lady…a drink of water…please?”
The tenor voice came from a clump of trees west of the house. She froze. Squinting, she took a cautious step in that direction.
“Over here.” The voice sounded louder.
Then she saw him. A solider. He stood behind a stately oak, his clothing mismatched and ragged, his face sunburnt. He held a canteen in his outstretched hand. Lifting up her skirts, she hurried to him.
“Who are you?” she asked, breathless.
“I’m Thomas.” His voice rasped. “Would you bring me a drink? Please? My canteen’s dry.”
His Southern drawl spun tendrils of pleasure with every syllable. Elizabeth could listen to him talk all day. She didn’t want to walk away but took his canteen and hurried to the springhouse. After filling the container with ice cold water, she returned to Thomas and handed him the canteen.
As he took it, his fingers brushed hers. He took a drink and smiled. “What’s your name, miss?” Slowly, he reached toward her face, stroking a finger down her cheek. “Your skin…it’s like the finest silk.”
Her cheeks heated as she murmured, “Elizabeth.”
“I can’t stay long, darling Elizabeth. I must return to my regiment.” He bowed his head, touching the brim of his hat. “Thank you for helping a weary soldier this hot summer’s day.”
She looked into Thomas’s eyes. She guessed he was about her age, but his eyes held the pain and weariness of one much older. Feeling bold, she grabbed his hand, giving it a squeeze. “Please take care, Thomas.”
“For you, Elizabeth, I shall.” He leaned down and brushed a soft kiss across her lips.
Time stopped at the press of his lips, her heart hammering at his touch. Yanks, Rebs—what did it matter? He was a man … and he was no dream.
When she opened her eyes, he was gone, a faint rustle in the foliage that quickly faded.