It slipped out of his hands. I watched in horror as the ancient urn containing my late brother’s ashes fell. A priceless family heirloom, it descended in slow frame frozen shots towards the dark, polished hardwood floor. He, my brother, had insisted his ashes be stored in it and kept on the mantel piece.

Finally it landed at an angle on the very edge of its base, elegantly pirouetted like a dying swan, then shattered into a thousand shards. All this must have happened in a mere second. To me it seemed to last an eternity.

The ashes spread across the floor like some macabre 3D Rorschach ink blot. Specks of ash, highlighted by the streams of sunlight coming in through the window, flew around the room.

A –a –a – ATCHOO! Excuse me, he said apologetically. I’m allergic to dust.

Gesundheit, I said.

Looking at the floor, I burst out laughing. Great, gulping belly laughs.

He looked at me, confused.

Gasping for breath, with tears streaming down my cheeks, I pointed at the floor.

Look !!

There were hundreds of sparkling  diamonds scattered in and around the blot of ashes.

So THAT’s where you hid them, you sneaky bugger !


© Raili Tanska


20 thoughts on “ASHES

  1. I was worried there for a second too. I thought, “Oh no! What a terrible family tragedy!” I was delighted to find that it was actually a very clever piece of flash fiction. 🙂

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