The Medal on the Mantle

A small flashfic I wrote for Billy Owens Jr based on his character Freddy from his WIP novel The Seven.

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Every night before Freddy went to bed, he paused by the medal on the mantle. This time, instead of just saying goodnight, Freddy reached up and carefully lifted it down. Sinking into the couch, he ran a thumb over the raised letters and tried to stifle the prickle in the back of his throat.

“I miss you so much.” He whispered as a tear finally escaped and splashed onto the golden surface. It was the anniversary of his father’s death and this medal was the only real reminder Freddy had left of him. Everything else was in storage, and the grave, of course was back where they’d moved from. From his pocket, he pulled a polishing cloth and started to clean the medal. This was his ritual. This was how he kept his father’s image alive in his mind. Despite his sadness, he couldn’t help but smile when a particular memory screeched to the forefront of his mind.

One summer’s day, when he’d been around four, his mother had taken him down to the track to watch his father race. Freddy had been infatuated from the get-go. The colours, the cars, the noises, the smells! The way his father had looked like a superhero in his driving suit was forever emblazoned in his brain. He’d even gotten to sit on his father’s lap and pretend to drive his car that day, and he’d screamed blue murder when they’d tried to get him out. In the end they’d had to uncouple the steering wheel and Freddy had dragged it around like a trophy for the rest of the day, proudly showing it off to all his daddy’s racing friends.

Folding the ribbon neatly behind the medallion, Freddy wondered what his father would think of what he was doing now. Would he approve, or would he think he was being reckless? The mischievous way the light glinted off the medal made Freddy think his dad would be proud. He imagined them side by side in their racing suits, and as he put the medal back on the shelf, he could’ve sworn he felt fingers ruffling his hair and heard a familiar “love you, kiddo.”

2 thoughts on “The Medal on the Mantle

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