Visual Dare - Hesitation


This is another of Angela Goff’s visual dares. I gave it as a prompt to the writing club, and people came up with wonderful things! Here is mine (crossposted, at last, from my live journal)

Isn’t it strange? Those were the letters I pulled from the scrabble bag. Exactly those. I took eight, instead of seven, and then I just stared. It was like the angel Gabriel speaking to me. I froze.

“What’s the matter, Grandpa?” Mercy said.

Joe said, “You’ve got an extra letter.”

“So I do. So I do.” I took the “t” from “wait” and put it back in the bag. Then I set the other letters face down on my rack. “Just a moment, children. I’ll be right back.”

“Where you going, Grandpa?”

“Bathroom, probably,” young Joe said to his sister. “Can I see your letters?”


“But I can help you, see?”

“No! Look at your own letters!”

I stepped into the den. The children’s voices were cut off when I closed the door. For a moment, I stared at the phone. A string of ten numbers—I thought I’d forgotten, but my fingers remembered for me. The phone rang and rang, with the echo a phone makes in an empty room. I was about to hang up when I heard the click of someone lifting the receiver. An old phone, like mine. An old man like me on the other end. “Gafferty residence,” a voice said. A man’s voice, hoarse and quiet, and behind it the gasping of an oxygen pump. “Who’s this?”

“Joseph? Is that you? Don’t hang up, now. It’s me, Michael. It’s your brother Michael."