Inheritance

An experiment in microfiction, wherein I try to tell a story in under 250 words.

June would have no children.

“Lord, you alone are my inheritance. You are my prize, my pleasure, and my portion,” she prayed over the petunias spilling from the pots on her porch. She plucked the dead heads with no great tenderness, dislodging the plant itself. June, feeling the plant wiggle up from the soil too far, winced.

Her husband, in the field cursing at a broken-down tractor, was no father. Still, they loved one another.

At dinner, he rubbed his rough hand across his cheek. “The apple tree is et up with maggot flies.”

“All the rain?” she asked. He shrugged. It was all pestilence and plague.

Over the garden, she sang hymns of redemption. Still, the dirt remained too full of clay and the leaves too eager to blight. Harvest was light. As a little girl, she watched her zealot uncle march through the pastures preaching to the cows. They hadn’t seemed to mind. She wondered now if her seeds were heathen.

“You are my prize, my pleasure, and my portion,” over the petunias. And they always sang back in full blooms all summer.

“Wonder why,” Oscar, her husband, had whispered to her in the dark, many years ago, “that your belly stays empty.”

She had shrugged. It was all pestilence and plague.