Alex, a friend I made at the National Young Writers Fest last year, posted me an envelope full of photos she found in a book shop the other day to use as prompts. This is the first photo and the first story:
Neil holds his fear in his hand. The tiny picture makes his insides feel empty; a clash of anxiety and nostalgia. He remembers climbing onto the fence and smiling at the camera. He tries recalling the carefree attitude he had at the time, but the moment is now so far away. It had been the last time his family was together, after that he was forced to grow up fast. He feels cheated, but then he has an idea. He walks out of the nursing home and climbs the patio banister.
“What are you doing up there?” a nurse asks him.
“I thought it might be fun,” Neil answers.
He smiles, and it’s the same smile he remembers donning all those years ago.