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May 2011 One Off

Welcome to 10Flash.

This time up, we present a poignant piece from an established flash fiction professional — Michael Ehart.  Michael says he writes adventure stories.  To Have and to Hold is a brutal hike through a good man’s personal hell.  It’s also a love story.  Enjoy.

To Have and to Hold

suspense by Michael Ehart

Julie fell off the meth wagon again. Because I was in Chicago on a case, I didn’t learn about it until I got home Sunday night. By then she had at least a two day head start into the dark.

I went through her things, hoping this time to get some indication of who she was with or where she had gone, but besides the realization that I had missed the warning signs again, there was nothing but unwashed dishes, dirty clothes and the other signs of depression that precede one of her episodes.

I grabbed a recent picture from my digital camera, taken surreptitiously a couple of months before. Her appearance changes fast, and a picture taken even a couple of years ago would be useless.

I found Tony, her sponsor, in the pool hall where he worked. “Ain’t seen her, man. Haven’t seen her for about a week.”

I glared at his gap-toothed smile. “Aren’t you supposed to keep an eye on her?”

He shrugged. “I try, but you know, a week ain’t that long, bro.”

A week is forever sometimes.

[To read the rest of the story, click the title]

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