This is part five of the continuing saga, The Last Grain of Sand, which I began via a prompt at Bluebell Books’ Short Story Slam several weeks ago. The four previous parts are available by clicking on the links below. This new segment is being posted to Bluebell Books’ Short Story Slam Week 18.

Part Five:


 The boy’s voice startled me and the girl, and our heads snapped around in unison. We stared at him open-mouthed, as he looked back at us expectantly.

“Hi,” the girl said.

The boy pointed to the backpack on the ground. “You stole my backpack.”

I glanced down, then back at him. “That was your house? Where were you? I thought everyone was… gone.”

“In the barn,” the boy answered. His brow furrowed. “You think they’re dead?”

The girl looked at me, and I let go of her arm.

“Who, your parents?” I asked

He looked away then turned misted eyes toward us. “No. I know they’re dead; my Gram and Gramps; that’s who I live with now.” A tear rolled down one cheek, and he swiped at it angrily.

The girl made a soft “oh” sound and walked to the boy. Kneeling, she hugged him and said, “I don’t think your Gram and Gramps are dead. We’ll get back on the highway, and we’ll find them. Everyone must have gathered somewhere safe.”

I’d followed her to the boy—he looked to be about ten years old—and I wondered at the wisdom of telling him something that probably wasn’t true. She looked up at me and said, “Okay, what now?” She stood up, offering her hand to the boy, and he took it. They stood looking at me, with hopeful expressions.

I had the backpack in one hand, and using the brightly colored umbrella I had in the other hand as a pointer, I pointed back the way we’d come. “You’re absolutely right,” I said. “We’ll get back to the main road and keep going west. It seems things have gotten better the farther west I’ve come.”

The boy looked at the umbrella and grinned. “Pretty umbrella,” he said. “But I don’t think you’ll need it out here.”

I thought about it, and realized he was right; it had rained less and less each day, and hadn’t rained a drop in the last two days.

His eyes got wide then he said, “Gramps says it’s the end times.” Cocking his head to one side, he added, “Maybe this was the rupture!”

I grinned. “You mean the rapture?”

He shrugged. “Gramps said it’s the same difference.”

The girl giggled.

“Well,” I said. “He may have a point there.”

I nodded to the south then said, “I think our plan should be to go back to her house.” I looked at the girl. “Get more supplies then head west tomorrow.”

“I’m Ben,” the boy said, as we started walking. He was between me and the girl, and I looked down and offered my hand.

“Chase Martin,” I said.

He shook my hand firmly. “Ben Taylor.”

The girl chimed in, “Lilly King.”

We walked in silence for a ways then the boy said, “That umbrella reminds me of my parents’ funeral. It was raining and cold, and I remember looking out at the crowd, and all I could see was a bunch of umbrellas; must’ve been a hundred of them—all different colors—and it was like there wasn’t any people there, ‘cept me, Gram, Gramps, and the preacher.” He looked up at Lilly and said, “At the end, this lady who looked a lot like you came and put a bunch of yellow flowers on Mom’s grave. It was strange, because it looked like her umbrella had wings on top of it.” He stopped talking, and looked down at the road. After a few moments had passed he said, “Pretty weird, huh?”

Lilly smiled down at him and said, “Not weird at all. Lots of angels look like me.”

I shot her a scornful look, and her smile widened.

The smell of cinnamon wafted beneath my nose.

Copyright © 2011 C. Mashburn

Part one: The Last Grain of Sand

Part two: Hope

Part three: Like a Fairy Tale

Part four: Then There Were Three

Part six: L. Aliens in the Morning

Part seven: Dearest Wife

Part eight: Dearest John

Part nine: L. Angel

Part ten: The Books

Part eleven: Play Money


Image Credit:


  1. terri0729 said

    You’re really getting into this aren’t you Charlie?! You can tell and this addition is just as great as the rest of them!! keep it up. Blessings, Terri

  2. Taylor said

    Ben Taylor,

    Lilly King,

    fun names, great details,

    PS; I saw your comments everywhere for bluebell, you shall submit your entry via linkz, have fun.

  3. elizena said

    Absolutely loved it! Smiled as I read this chapter. It was so much lighter and in spite of the fact that the characters still don’t know what’s going on, I felt there was hope. I’m also enjoying getting to know the newest characters, Lilly and Ben. Still giggling over Ben saying it might be the Rupture. Another cool chapter.

    • Thanks, Elizena! I’m glad you’re enjoying this. Yes, I couldn’t resist the “rupture” comment.
      Maybe Kellie Elmore will give me a prompt I can continue the story with on this week’s Free Write Friday.

      • elizena said

        I hope so, because I want more on this little band of friends. You continually surprise me in how you fit in each chapter with the prompts. After a while you’re just going to have to write the book. Looking forward to that!

      • I am surprised as well, Elizena! I am hoping Kellie will have a good prompt for me tomorrow, so I can continue the story. I, too, am anxious to see where the groups travels will take them.
        Thank you for the encouraging comment!

  4. thingy said

    What a great story. Yes, more! : )

  5. Sherry Mashburn said

    Hmmm . . . angels, cinnamon? Keep ’em coming, Charlie! Can’t wait for the next installment!

  6. Kay Salady said

    This is wonderful, Charles!

  7. fav. line: “Lilly smiled down at him and said, “Not weird at all. Lots of angels look like me.”

  8. Natalie said

    I shot her a scornful look, and her smile widened.

    The smell of cinnamon wafted beneath my nose.

    yummy ending, smiles.

    • Everyone seems to be liking the ending! I actually added that just before posting. Intutition? Spark of genius? Yes! That’s it!
      Thanks for the wonderful comment!

  9. excellent story building up.

    love the ending, 😉

  10. Wonderful story, love how you wove the umbrella into the story, nice! 🙂

    • Maybe I should re-name this saga, “The Last Umbrella”! Seems like Bluebell has a thing about umbrellas!
      Thanks for the visit and comment, John!

  11. Snowflakes said

    a creative mind, your words show.

    gripping tensions, love it.


  12. Traci B said

    Intriguing story, Charles! I can’t wait to see what happens next. 🙂

    • Great! I’m glad you’re enjoying it! I’m hoping to post another segment sometime today!
      Thanks for the visit and comment!

  13. I really like this story, especially the rupture. I think I’d better read the rest!

    • I’m glad you like it, Belva! I might be posting another segment today!
      Thank you for the visit and comment!

  14. I liked the part that I read now. I will now go back and start reading from the start. 😀

    Thanks for the link and your comment on my blog.

    • I think you will enjoy the story, Mihir.
      You are welcome, and thank you for the visit and comment on my blog, too!

  15. This is a great continuing saga…keeps me wondering what comes next

  16. Kirsten said

    hmmm…cinnamon…angels…wonder where you are going to take us next, Charles 🙂

    I keep telling myself I only have time for one Chapter today…and yet I can’t stop reading! lol

    Great writing 🙂

    • Hahaha! That’s the greatest compliment you cna give me, Kirsten; you can’t stop reading! I love it!

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