The Finder (Flash Fiction)

What if the person who found things-and mended them-was found by the One who mattered most?

Maria was the keeper of found things. Her drawers were filled with buttons, change, stamps, and ribbons. Her shelves boasted of tattered books, chipped China, weather-worn rocks, and twigs that looked like squirrels if you tilted your head a certain way.

Fat cats curled in nooks and equally fat dogs drooled on the worn rugs that littered the floor. Anything that had ever been thrown away or lost had found itself in Maria’s home.

It wasn’t just things and animals, Maria found people too.

It had started with finding herself a man back in her younger days. (Although Charles would have argued that he found her.) Her dear husband had long since passed but Maria had continued to help find lost and runaway children, wandering elderly folks, and once a newborn baby. The animals and things stayed, but most of the people returned back to their homes.

The majority of Maria’s life was spent picking up broken and abandoned things around her. Sometimes they needed mending, but most often they were uniquely themselves and thus perfect to Maria. It was strange, this talent she had, but she took it as a gift from God and didn’t question it. Why would she when she could help so many?

Today was different. The pitter-patter of rain drummed on Maria’s tin roof and all her furry companions snored and purred as she puttered about getting herself coffee. That wasn’t out of the ordinary. No, Maria knew what was off.

Today was the last day she would ever find something.

She’d woken up knowing this. It was a somber, yet comforting thought. So when she finished her coffee, Maria pulled on her old walking boots and her patched raincoat and went looking.

The woods behind her home were as good a place as any, and she made her way along the path, looking. For what, she wasn’t sure. There were no squirrel-shaped twigs, no abandoned books, and luckily no sobs of a lost child or baby.

Everything was as it should be.

Maria kept looking. Every time she was tempted to turn back, she heard as if from a great distance someone calling her name and she went on. The still voice guided her along when she grew tired and hungry.

There was something to be found, and she was going to find it.

It was nearly dark when she finally saw it. Hanging from a tree was a key. A regular, old house key. Maria took it from the small branch it swung from and immediately realized that the tree was in fact a door. How hadn’t she noticed it sooner?

Slipping the key into the lock, Maria watched the door creak open. Dazzling light shone from the space in the tree-door and she blinked to clear her vision.

The still voice spoke again. “Welcome home, Maria.”

And with no hesitation, Maria stepped through into the warmth that greeted her like an old friend. “I’m so glad you found me, Lord.”

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