Zest Lit Issue 2, October 2013 - Page 40

those photos in the trash; I don’t want them.’ Without waiting for any reply, she pulled a pair of scissors from the cabinet and left again.

Mary Elizabeth sat perfectly still for a long moment, her mind empty. Then she found herself moving. She removed her apron and hung it on its hook, retrieved her coat and pocketbook from the pantry, and placed her keys on the table, ready to leave. She took the photograph of Mr. and Mrs. Dempsey, slipped it into the front section of her pocketbook, and tossed the other pictures in the trash. Then, holding the certificates and letter in one hand, she turned the knob on the front burner of the stove. As soon as the flame ignited, she held the sheaf of paper over it until the pages burst into flame. The little coupons burned first, then the beautiful picture of the canyon. Mountains, trees, man, and horse blackened bit by bit and curled into ash. When the flames got so close to her fingers that she had to let go, she dropped the rest into the sink and let it smolder.

She used a long wooden spoon to smash the ash to powder, turned on the tap, and watched as the last blackened bits disappeared down the drain in a gurgling swirl.