Powder Burn Flash # 157 - Ron Richardson
By Ron Richardson
It was the winter of 1938. A blustery breeze blew down from the north rattling frosty windowpanes in mingling harmony with the incessant click clack of the machine. It turned out to be a sad day to celebrate Homer’s 75th birthday.
The small room was overheated. The festive few who gathered stood shoulder to shoulder, brows hatching beads of sweat. Homer, meanwhile stared at their mirrored image, an imagined smile playing about his lips.
The lady in starched white spoke above the noise of the machine. “We should begin now.”
The group shuffled closer, issuing forth well-wishes. Someone lit the single candle on the white cake, tilted it toward Homer and read aloud from the lettered icing, The Golden Years. They broke into subdued song, low, almost whispering so as not to disturb the others.
“Happy birthday to you . . .” they crooned.
Outside there came a burst of hurricane force wind catching the weakest limb of the old oak tree by surprise. It cracked mightily like thunder and broke away downing the icicle draped power line that led to Homers room.
The iron lung, the tube Homer called home, grew silent. Unable to breathe, his senses spiraled out of control. The last thing he heard as his world faded to black was the echoed refrain, “ . . . and many more!”
BIO: A native Texan, Ron is a navy veteran, college graduate and retired air traffic controller. He is a member of Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc., and hosts a fiction writer's critique group. He has been published by LITBITS, ESC!, Powder Burn Flash, and Fiction On Line.