“Abandoned” – A Photo Prompt Short Story

Good morning readers!! I’m so excited to share another beautiful day with you! Digging into the vaults of my writing folders, I came across this contest entry from last January. It didn’t win but I thought it held some promise. What do you think?


By Cathy Bown

Sixty years ago, my grandparents married in this yard. Now, I’m standing here, the last in my family line, looking at the dilapidated building with the overgrown ivy and perfect snowy cover, untouched by any human foot. Having stripped the trees of their greenery months ago, the dismal weather leaves a dreary haze over everything. Like everything else right now, this building and its yard feel cold and empty.

I have nothing left but this little plot of land far away from home. I didn’t have a plan when I took off to come here. All I knew was that I couldn’t cry anymore. Losing my mamma and papa two weeks ago had been unbearable. My sister followed shortly after, succumbing to extensive injuries from the crash. I was supposed to have been in that car with them, but I was mad, so I refused to go.

Now, I am alive, and they are gone.

I didn’t know about this tiny house until a lawyer showed up three days ago, handed me the paperwork, and told me I needed to sign off on the property so it could be destroyed and reclaimed by the city.

After reading the paperwork, I insisted on looking at the place. I was here now to inspect and sign off on it—the last piece of my family history.

Everything I loved in my life is now gone. At twenty-six, I still live at home. Lived. I’ve rejected every man who has ever approached me, knowing my father would insist they weren’t good enough.

At night, though, I dream of love at first sight, happily ever after, and magic. Or I used to. Life has been so dark. Lately, I can’t dream.

“A pity about this house. My parents knew the last owners. Lovely couple.” A middle-aged woman and a younger man appeared behind me.

“You knew them? They were my grandparents.”

“Of course. You look just like your nonna, then. I can see it in your face.”

“Do you know why they left? They moved to America, but I don’t know why they would leave this. It must have been beautiful back then.”

“It was. It was. But everyone said America is where you raise children if you want them to have opportunities. They had big dreams. They were young and naïve, my parents said.”


“Are you moving in?” The young man asks quietly, in a deep voice. I look at him and answer without thinking.

“Yes, I think I am.” The ivy on the house looks like a heart. There must be love here. There must be hope.

He smiles.

“You must join us for pranzo, lunch. My son, he is a magnificent cook.” The man blushes and buries his face in his scarf, hiding from my smile.

“Mama, stop.”

The future is unclear to me, but this suddenly feels right. I follow them home, watching the shy young man smile as we walk away.


Until Next Time,

Cathy Marie Bown

Don’t forget to grab a copy of A COVID CHRISTMAS STORY! Starting tomorrow, the e-book will be on sale for one week!

Published by cathymariebown

I am a writer and student looking for my place in the digital world.

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