As you probably know by now, I participate in FlashFriday (FlashFriday.Wordpress.com’s weekly flash fiction contest) where they choose a prompt and a length and writers work to complete a story based on the prompt that meets the length requirements.
This weeks’ prompt was an interesting place, with an even more interesting name:
The target word count – 300 (give or take 10 words)
In honor of the name of the institution (The Odd Fellows Home for Orphans, Indigent and Aged) they offered up a second contest challenge for the story with the “Best Title” challenge. I don’t know if mine was the ‘best’ title– but I think it was the most interesting. (In fact it was so interesting… I had trouble coming up with a story that went with it.
And so, without further ado… I bring you:
Madame Bartholomew’s Bed and Breakfast for the Criminally Insane.
A bed and breakfast had never been part of Marie Bartholomew’s plan. She had been looking for the ideal summer vacation home, and here it was, but the idea of actually working while on vacation was preposterous.
She wanted, no, needed a place where she could simply relax and let her hair down, a place where she didn’t have to be anything to anyone. A B&B would mean having to get up early; fix guests breakfast, lunch and dinner on a regimented schedule and it meant having to clean not only after herself and her family, but the guests as well.
It was simply too much, but the house called to her.
To be fair, it wasn’t a house, not really. It was three and a half stories of former institutional splendor. And while the building was striking– it was the stone monolith in the formal gardens that caught her attention. She had seen similar formations in her youth, carefully guarded in sacred groves– but this one was not only out in the open, it was the focal point of the landscape, carefully enclosed in glass and steel for year round access. It was perfect.
“I’ll take it!” the old woman blurted out.
The night manager of Saint Bart’s looked at the young man who was checking his mother in, and raised an eyebrow.
The lad shrugged. Ever since someone had gutted his father in the woods, his mother had become unhinged. He hoped the rest home would do her some good. He hated leaving her here, but he just didn’t feel safe with her in his home any more. Not after the night he’d heard her talking in her sleep.
No, this place was better for her, and she would be someone else’s problem.
Madame Bartholomew smiled knowingly. This place held so much potential.