This short story was added to the SHORT STORY PROMPT LINK PARTY 3 in March 2019. Today, I am republishing the story.
Ready? Here’s the prompt: One flashlight flash meant danger, two flashes meant safe, but then she saw three flashes that night from beyond the swamp. They had never talked about what three flashes meant and now she…
Now, here’s my version: AFTON AND GABE – THREE FLASHES
One flashlight flash meant danger, two flashes meant safe, but then she saw three flashes that night from beyond the swamp. They had never talked about what three flashes meant and now she was worried!
Should I be worried? I can’t help but be worried! Maybe it was a mistake. Maybe he didn’t mean to flash the flashlight three times.
Afton watched eagerly and tried desperately to see through the foggy swamp as she stood on the deck of her and Gabe’s fishing pier.
Why oh why did I fall in love with him? Why oh why did I leave my normal suburban life to come here to this awful place?
Why were such thoughts going through Afton’s mind? She knew the answers to her whys.
Afton had met Gabe at college. She was studying business administration as was he. She had dreams of working for a large corporation, knowing she’d have to start at the bottom and climb her way to the top but she knew she could do it. Gabe wanted to start his own business.
His sky-blue eyes and kind smile are what she noticed first about him. After one date, Afton knew that one day Gabe would be her husband.
They were married after graduating from college and then moved to Gabe’s family’s land in southern Florida where they built a small cabin on the river.
Afton’s plans had changed and she joined Gabe in establishing a swamp touring business where he would take people out on the swamp in an airboat. The tours were popular and they did well with the business.
Their future looked bright and they had recently began construction on their dream home not too far from the little cabin.
However, Gabe had an interest that really scared Afton. He hunted alligator in his spare time as a hobby. He sold the hides and meat and did well but the danger was high.
Afton stood on the pier for hours, hoping and watching for another sign from Gabe who had gone out hunting alligator. Morning came and Gabe never returned. A search party was sent out. They found Gabe’s boat but not his body.
A memorial service was held for Gabe a few days later. His parents accompanied Afton back to the cabin on the river after the service.
“I knew it was dangerous! I wish he had stayed home and not gone out hunting,” Afton said with tears streaming down her face.
“It was his passion dear, you know that. We all knew it,” Gabe’s mother said.
“I just wish I knew about the three flashes. I’ll never forget seeing them,” Afton said to Gabe’s parents.
“Three flashes?” Gabe’s father asked.
“Yes, Gabe always told me to remember that one flashlight flash meant danger, two flashes meant safe, but he never mentioned what three flashes meant. I saw three flashes that night as I stood on the pier,” Afton answered.
Gabe’s parents looked at each other and smiled then looked at Afton.
Gabe’s mother wrapped her arms around the young widow and hugged her tightly as she said, “Afton dear, three flashes means I love you! It was Gabe’s way of telling you goodbye, he knew his life was ending, and he wanted you to know he loved you!”
*This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.