A stream of women had knocked softly at his door every day since the story hit the news, presenting their casseroles with moist, tragic eyes. A lawsuit against the Girl Scouts would dry every tear in town. No more lasagna or offers of babysitting after that. Not worth it. The doorbell rang apologetically. A zaftig redhead bearing chicken soup whisper-wailed her condolences, scurrying away as she heard Ella crying within.
In the kitchen, the baby screamed against his chest as he rinsed the last of the six frozen plastic baggies under hot water. Too hot, and the enzymes would break down. Too cold, and the baby wouldn’t drink it. “Soon, sweetheart,” he sang as his wife would have, but even he could hear that his croon was more like a bark than a lullaby.
Ella sucked with savage intensity on the bottle full of her mother’s last living essence. Wendy’s milk disappeared too quickly inside their only child. Steven brushed his pinky over a dribble on Ella’s chin and tasted the last of it.
March 19th through the 23rd–the third week of the third month of 2012–is flash fiction week on the Nose. All stories to have three characters and top out at 300 words.
Julie Goldberg blogs at Perfect Whole. She is working on her first novel.