Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Old Salt Mine...A Short Story



Weekly Writing Prompt!

It's time again for a little story, or a short story if you prefer. This week we've got two photos to help inspire those creative juices. We'll see how many stories spring forth.

And, as always, if you'd like to participate in the writing prompt and add your story to the others, here are the rules:

1) Use the above two photos in your story.
2) Keep your word count 500 or less (or a few more words if they're needed...).
3) You have until next Tuesday night to link up your story.
4) Use the Blue Link to add your story at Leanne's, or Tena's websites and follow the instructions.
5) Have fun, don't stress, and let those creative juices flow!

So, here you go!

The Old Salt Mine

"Sea Salt?!" Craig Waterton said to his daughter as the two shopped at the local grocer. "Why in the world are you buying sea salt? Looks like that $25K I'm spending each year for you to go to college would be better spent on that no-good brother of yours."

Shelley Waterton knew something was bothering her father ever since she returned on spring break from Cornell, but the two had been practically strangers for years. They were as close to each other thousands of miles away as they were in the same room. Shelley thought spending her break back home in Utah with her widowed father might help bridge the gap that existed between them, but since she returned all her father did was complain.

"I just thought it would be fun," Shelley said discouraged. "Something different." She left her father and the nearly empty shopping cart alone in the aisle as she walked away.

"Where are you going?" Craig said, the gruffness in his voice communicating well the disgust he was feeling.

"I'll be in the truck," she said as she turned the corner and disappeared. The lonely man stood and looked at the various types of salt sitting defiantly on the grocery store shelves.

"Oh, how I hate him sometimes," Shelley muttered as she slammed shut the old Ford's passenger-side door. "He never changes, never!" And since arriving only the day before, she wondered yet again if her decision had been a colossal mistake. A few minutes later the automatic doors of the building opened and her father emerged carrying two brown paper bags. Shelley didn't look at the man as he stowed the bags in the bed of the truck, climbed inside, shut the door and gunned the engine.

"Dad, I'm sorry. I'm just so tired. Tired of fighting, tired of trying to please you. Tired of...everything. I think once we get home I'll get my things and catch the first plane to New York. This isn't working out. I shouldn't have come."

Shelley looked at the man she so loved and hated at the same time. "I'm sorry."

Craig only looked straight ahead as he navigated the truck out of the parking lot and onto the road that led to their ranch house, but instead of driving to their home, he took a side road to where Shelley and her brother used to ride horses when they were younger.

The two rode in silence until Craig stopped the truck and killed the engine. "What're we doing here, dad?"

"Just up the trail," Shelley followed her father's gaze. "There's an old salt mine, remember?"

"Yes," she said, the memories flooding back. "That's where Peter and I used to play. I loved it up there."

"So did I. When your mother and I were dating, she and I used to go up there. Places like that old salt mine is where I fell in love with her. And in the store, the salt reminded me of her."

He turned and looked at his daughter. "I miss her so much and when I look at you, you remind me of her, too. You're so beautiful--just like her."

Shelley saw a single tear fall down the old man's wrinkled face. She reached over and held his hand and didn't say a word. 

Word Count: 557


  1. Aaah, bitter sweet, great writing as always.

    1. Thanks Sally for the kind words. I like how this one turned out.

  2. This is sweet. He's obviously torn between the love for his daughter and missing his wife. A tough place to be, I hope they make it up alright.

    Good writing.

    1. Thanks Heather! I liked adding the change to the father because it made his actions more understandable. Thanks again!

  3. Aw geez. This one made me cry. I love the unexpected change of emotion... from tense gruffness to emotional sweetness in a second. I just love it. Nice work. I love your style, friend!

    1. Thanks Leanne! Your kind words mean so much for me. This one sort of just happened as I wrote it, and it surprised me a little when the reason for the father's bitterness was revealed. Thanks again!