Jimson visits each guest in turn, helping them settle in.

Marta’s bruises are fading.

“My own bedroom and private bath! Fragrant lotions and soaps. Morning light. No one slapping me or pulling out my hair. It’s like a fairy tale.”

She throws her arms around Jimson who gently hugs her back. He remembers her monstrous husband and shudders.

Tucker still trembles a little.

“Too many windows. Dragged my mattress into the closet, pulled blankets over my head. Can barely hear the bombs and people screaming. Almost safe now.”

Jimson draws the heavy curtains and Tucker tentatively opens the closet door a little wider. Jimson’s eyes fill with compassion for the man who daily relives the horrors of war.

Laslow is no longer a skeleton.

He sighs contentedly.

“Incredible food! Salmon cakes with dill sauce, steamed asparagus, blueberry cobbler. And those artistic menus on the food trays! Reading the names of the dishes out loud is almost as good as eating them.”

Jimson smiles, grateful to be able to share his culinary passions with this man who had never had enough to eat – until now.

Philomena greets Jimson with bare feet.

“My first act of freedom was to remove my shoes and dance all night. My second act will be to wear my own designs when I give my gratitude recital.”

She eagerly shows Jimson her sketches of flowing pastels. Her birth family was wealthy and privileged, but had paralyzed her creative spirit.

A timid knock announces the out-of-work husband and pregnant wife. The nursery suite is ready. How nice it will be to have a baby in the house again!

Jimson throws the front door open.

“Any room for a couple of wanderers?” The husband looks exhausted, but happy.

“Welcome home, my friends.”

Jimson’s kindness is a reflection of his late father’s generosity. The will had turned Candles, the family estate, into a special haven. Tomorrow Jimson would issue the final invitation. But for now, he must show Marie and Tomas to their rooms.

“Are you hungry?” Jimson asks the new arrivals, already planning the festive homecoming feast.

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    Margarida Brei
    Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
    5 months ago

    Perhaps I was being pessimistic, but I kept thinking that something horrid would happen. So glad it didn’t and that the main character only reflected kindness.

    Carrie OLeary
    Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
    5 months ago

    An interesting story, Fuji. Not many people would be so altruistic in his position. Would he like another guest?

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    5 months ago

    Hello, Fuji. I really enjoyed this tale of kindness. No matter what the character’s motive is. It is still an act of kindness. So, I adore him. Well done.

    Christer Norrlof
    Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
    4 months ago

    I’m sorry to be so late for reading and commenting on the stories under this theme, Fuji. I just read your answers to the other comments here and have to say, “What a wonderful dream!” I believe in dreams’ symbolic significances and my interpretation is that it comes from your own open heart and mind and an unusual generosity. To open your house and invite people with different kinds of needs to… Read more »

    Deborah Goulding
    Deborah Goulding(@deborah-goulding)
    4 months ago

    Fuji, I will take a page from your book. Using a dream as a starting point can go into any direction. A complicated situation may or may not lead to an outcome, resolution. I do like your cast of characters! But mostly, the host who is endearing, has won my heart! Really enjoyed the takeaway from your story!

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