Laura James’s Picture Choice: 2
Title: Afternoon Te
Gladys and Matilda had never really been friends but as their husbands were brothers they had always muddled along well. When Frank and Bert had died on a hunting trip together the woman turned to the only other person who understood and a close friendship had developed.
It was the 15th anniversary of their husbands death yet the pain was still as fresh as when the police had come to the house to deliver the sad news. Gladys stood in the kitchen mixing the batter for her delightful sponge cake, a dash of vanilla was usually her secret ingredient but today she was mixing it up a little. Matilda would be round for afternoon tea as always and she had to make sure everything was perfect for this, the last time they would meet.
With the cake safely in the oven Gladys put on her outdoor coat and headed to the garden to collect berries to help brighten her cake and mask the underlying taste of bitterness. Once her bowl was full she headed back into the kitchen to wash and prepare them, the smell of sponge cake filing the air.
The doorbell rang just as Gladys put the final sprinkle of icing sugar on her cake. She took off her apron and went to let in her old friend in.
Matilda stood on the front porch clutching her bag close to her chest, Frank in her thoughts, as he was every day, but today especially. She smiled when Gladys opened the door, "I've brought a new blend of tea, thought it might help."
"How thoughtful." Gladys lent in and gave Matilda a hug. "The cake's finished, your timing couldn't be better."
Matilda hung up her coat and followed Gladys into the kitchen where she put down the packet of tea. The women moved around the kitchen in companionable silence, both knowing exactly what to do. Soon the tray was set, the teapot full, the cake cut and cream whisked.
"Nothing for it then." said Gladys, "You still want to do this?"
Matilda picked up the tray and walked into the conservatory, her actions the only answer Gladys needed.
Soon both women were drinking tea and eating cake, neither one spoke a word. Before long the tea and whole sponge was finished. Gladys took the hand of her friend and smiled, "Won't be long now dear."
Matilda smiled in return, "I know. Thanks for being with me."
Lying back in their chairs the woman waited for death to claim them. Both secure in the knowledge that soon they would be in the arms of the only people that mattered or if not, then at least they would no longer feel the great loss that had taken over their lives.
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Based in Dunfermline, Scotland, Laura is obsessed with all things horror and spends her time writing flash fiction which she hopes, on occasion, really scares her readers. Feel free to stalk her on twitter, @lejamez