Fiction: That Beautiful House on Maple Street

By Thomas Elson

“Daddy, look,” she said as she and her father approached the church on the corner with large, newly paved parking lot.

One shining golden dome. Two gently inclining ramps abutting three-inch riser steps for easy access. Three thick wooden double doors with porte-cochère gateways protecting parishioners from inclement weather. Four red brick spires topped with white stones. An engraved cornerstone: declaring: St. Matthew Church. 1932.

On that snowy Monday morning, the eight-year-old wrapped her bare hand around the door handle. And, as her father pushed the doorbell, she quickly jerked back from the cold metal.

“Why won’t anyone open the door?” She asked her father who had walked with her to the church for food. She squinted. Her eyes were wet from the cold.

“Try again,” the father said as he looked to his right and saw the camera lens just above the doorbell.

His daughter struggled to open the church door while the good natured, overweight church secretary sat typing behind pulled curtains and locked doors.


Thomas Elson’s stories appear in numerous venues, including Mad Swirl, Blink-Ink, Ellipsis, Scapegoat, Bull, Cabinet of Heed, Flash Frontier, Ginosko, Short Édition, Litro, Journal of Expressive Writing, Dead Mule School, Selkie, New Ulster, Lampeter, and Adelaide. He divides his time between Northern California and Western Kansas.