The subject for this flashfic was ‘the letter’. My entry didn’t place, but I still like it!

He prized up the warped floorboard and there it was, one corner poking out of the thick layer of dust. The paper was brown with age and crackled as he picked it out. The envelope carried a 2D stamp and was addressed to the army barracks he’d lived in before his unit had been sent overseas. He shivered, remembering the freezing conditions and the – justified, as it transpired – fear of what they would face. The handwriting he recognised, too – Anna, his then fiancee.

He turned the envelope over. It was still securely sealed. He wondered what she’d written to him. He tried to remember whether she’d ever challenged him bout failing to reply, but came up blank.

The envelope was sealed. He hesitated to open it. Perhaps she had sent him good luck, for he’d survived where many others hadn’t been so fortunate. But perhaps it had been bad news, something that had become irrelevant thanks to the passage of time. Pandora had failed this test, he thought. Perhaps he’d be better off not knowing.

Resolutely, he replaced the unopened letter and placed the new floorboard. Six nails later, the job was done.

Anna came in with their great granddaughter. He lifted her into his arms. He would never know how close he’d come, all those years ago, to missing 60 years of marriage, children, grandchildren and the delightful sprite who giggled in his arms.