This is my first Friday flash in months! Months and months and months! It is exactly 304 words, which is alright.
The baby grinned toothlessly into the camera. Its little fingers gripped the bare mattress.
Than it plopped its butt onto the bed and the blue blanket balanced atop its head slid down until the baby was completely covered, from the top of its bald skull to its bite-size toes.
The baby shrieked, whether in joy or distress, I couldn’t tell. I didn’t know enough about babies. But I knew what I was going to do next. It sure was loud. Nice, healthy lungs on this child. Maybe it knew this was the first day of its new life and it was celebrating with noise.
I turned off the camera and looked across the room at its mother. She looked like she was trying to scream louder than her baby. The bright pink ball gag kept her silent, though. Mostly silent. Tiny sounds still came made it through.
So annoying. Maybe I needed to cut off her tongue. But then she wouldn’t be able to scream when I wanted to hear her. Hmm.
The sweet sounds she would make later were worth a little irritation now, I decided.
“Come to Aunt Rosie,” I told the baby. “You know you love me.”
I reached forward and yanked the blanket off the baby. The baby was startled into silence, looked at me with big blue eyes and scrambled forward on hands and knees.
My sister said the baby was a boy, but how could anyone know? The baby wasn’t old enough to decide on a gender. And I would keep it alive until it did.
For now, its mother would do. She would last until this little one grew up enough for me to decide what to do with it.
Tomorrow was soon enough to take another picture. I would keep a collection as it grew up.
This flash was inspired by the letter U!
She pondered the picture.
It showed a lady, dead from drowning. She knew that face.
She glanced over her shoulder at the rest of her class; they wandered the room, looking up at the photographs on the wall. Her teacher was across the room, with most of the kids.
She turned back to the picture. It was colored, but not pretty. She took a step a closer and peered closer at the woman’s face.
She took her wallet out of her bag and slipped out a picture hidden away behind her school id and transport card. The black-and-white photo was yellow with age and tattered at the edges. Grandmother was young in this picture; she grinned into the camera, knee-deep in the ocean, holding up her printed maxi out of the water.
She studied the picture on the wall, then her wallet picture and back again.
“Girls and boys!” The teacher clapped her hands. “Gather around now. I want to introduce to artist. She composed these photographs with herself as the model.”
A woman who looked exactly like the picture of her grandmother stood beside the teacher.
So this is today’s Friday flash, inspired from the letter O. It’s not quite what I intended. The letter is O and the only thing I could think of is Big O. Wikipedia has an article on it.
Ory saw the mailman first, dragging the mail cart behind him. Ory listened, still and quiet in front of the door, to the scratches as the mailman opened the mailbox. The mailbox lid was loud as he snapped it shut.
Only then did he ring the doorbell.
Grinning, Ory yanked open the door. The mailman held a brown box before him. Green tape sealed the sides. The word BIG O was stamped all over in the box in a lurid, eye-searing pinks and yellows.
He signed for it, snatched it into his arms, slammed the door shut and sprinted with it into his room. Ory laid it gently on his bright green pillow. His red O scissors made quick work of the tape.
While fluffy foam nuggets spilled out of the box. He reached in and dumped handfuls on the floor. More handfuls. Two more handfuls.
Finally, he dug out the matching t-short, shorts and lanyard. He held up the shirt in front of him in the mirror. It was green, with a pink and yellow BIG O in the middle.
He thought: Finally ready for Big O camp! Finally!
I pushed aside the canary yellow silk curtains and looked out over the city through clear modern panes of the balcony doors.
My balcony was made of black, wrought iron, like every other balcony in this city, decorated with fanciful shapes of flowers and butterflies.
Beyond the edges of my apartment, steel and brass towers speared into the sky. They were silver and dun gold, like drops of metal fallen from the sky. On the eastern shores of the island, barely visible from here, were several equally tall and massive trees. Some sported hundreds of flowers; others had only plain dark green leaves; and one bristled with sharp, piney needles.
Hotels, businesses and homes, they housed the most powerful covens to claim a place in this city. Less powerful ones contented themselves with steel and bone-wood homes.
My permanent home, now. Somewhere in the teeming mass of people was my soul-bonded. He wouldn’t welcome me, that I knew. I’d betrayed him. My fingers tightened on the cool silk curtains.
It hardly mattered that the betrayal wasn’t what he thought. I didn’t deserve his forgiveness.
The balcony door panes blurred with water droplets. I glanced up at the sky. Still a clear, hard blue.
I jerked the curtains shut. I didn’t need to see this, didn’t need to think about this. There were other things in my life, now.
I wrote this real fast and I’m not sure how it came out so . . . here you are!!!
She eyed the mob screaming on the palace steps and fingered the gold ring in her skirt pocket.
Oh, this was bad. Very bad. Not that she could understand what they was saying, but it couldn’t be good.
Good thing she wasn’t responsible for this; she’d only arrived in the country just three days ago.
She rubbed the distinctive flat head of the ring. It was all good, she reassured herself. Everything was fine. She would get out of this.
“What they saying?” she asked. For a boy who thought they was twins, he sure was stupid.
He smiled at her, happy as a child with a handful of sugar. “Do you recall the temple we visited yesterday? A . . . an artifact, I suppose you would call it, disappeared from there yesterday.”
Horrified, she looked up into his bright purple eyes. How had they discovered it so soon? She had stolen it only hours ago, right before dawn. “But I thought . . . guess you was wrong about only the royal family being able to touch it. Just silly folktales afterall.”
He smiled, shook his head. “Come. You were stolen so young, you still don’t understand our ways. Your ways. Mother wishes to see you.”
Snow covered the tumulus. Scraggly, bare brown branches rose above it, providing meager shelter against the weather.
Not that she needed shelter anymore.
Drifts piled up against the edges and the steps were impossible to see.
I sank in to the knee on the first step. Wet and cold seeped in past my pants and trickled down my bare skin.
I pushed my hands through the snow for something solid to brace my hands against. The snow was soft and white as my hair. Perfect.
I crawled up to the top of the tumulus, slowly and with great care. Cold seeped into me until I felt as though my bones were made of ice and my belly filled with rock pellets.
Gray edged my vision and my breath made foggy puffs of wind in the air. Snow started to fall again. It dotted my black coat like a white fungus. My face heated under the falling flakes and I laughed.
The sky was white, a glorious white, beautiful as my absent wife. It warmed me as she did. This snow, it was better than the softest wool blanket.
I stood at the top of the tumulus, panting. Blood covered my fingers, but all I felt was burning. This burn didn’t hurt, couldn’t compare to the ache in my chest.
I sank down under the nearest tree. Snow crusted my pants and shoes and shirt. But I didn’t care. The tree’s slender branches bracketed the sky and I knew I was home.
She chortled and spun the hard black lace. Sweet, delightful air rushed past her wings.
She grinned and hopped backward, watching. It spun and spun!
Oh! Such fun!
Below, her provider paused and looked up. Now he would see.
She jumped and grabbed hold of the pretty blackness and yanked, wings beating furiously.
It was off! It spun faster and faster, until she hardly needed to make it go. Wind pushed her forward, glorious, speedy air. It was better than her provider’s big metal den.
“Sofia!” Her provider stood below her, waving his hands. “No! No, Sofia. Sit.”
Concerned, she let go and drifted down. He only sounded like that when some danger tried to cut off her wings.
“Good girl.” His hands cupped her back, warm and comforting. “What were you doing up there anyway, huh? We’ll get you some sugar and you can play in your cart, okay? But stay away from the mill.”
Step. Step. Step.
Gasp. Step. Gasp.
She staggered inside, shuddered as the heat of the store made its way under her jacket, sweater, shirt, thermals and scarf.
She ignored the roars and rush of the crowd.
Instead, she clenched with her numb, worn gloved fingers a yellow ticket: small, badly printed, but the answer to her dreams.
The check-out line grew long behind her, wove around product displays and was full of loud chatter.
She ignored it all.
The small slim box the checkout girl handed her was wonderful. Perfect. Others wouldn’t think so, but she could type now. Write whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted to. Watch videos, even.
She no longer needed to wait on the school’s computer labs.
Gentle reader, I was present at the Olde Circle yesterday evening when an astonishing thing happened.
“2900! 2900! Who wants to go for 3000? 3000, people. Going once, going twice, gone! The gentleman in the yellow hat has won the antique robot!” A small woman whispered in the auctioneer’s ear. “Ah! Forgive me, I meant to say, the honored hemorphidite in the yellow hat has won the antique robot.”
A shocked titter begin in the upper gallery and spread down to the peons in the lower seats. Who could blame them? No one has seen a hemorphidite in such marvelous surroundings in, well, decades.
A brightly dressed, tall hemorphidite descended from the upper gallery and walked to the stage. But before – she? he? it? – could reach the stage, a woman handed him a trolly with the robot on it, staring sightless ahead. The robots’ power switch was turned to off.
It, we shall say, offered the woman a card; it was a black card, but I regret I was not close enough to see which credit company it preferred.
The honored hemorphidite, gentle reader, gathered the trolly to its impressive bosom and made off with it.
No one knows where it went. All I know, gentle reader, is that somewhere in this city is a hemorphidite with an old robot.
Perhaps it decided to assuage its loneliness with the stark, broken lights of a robot.
It wasn’t true. It couldn’t be.
We lied. We’re married.
She circled the punching bag to the right and jabbed at it. Step, hit, step, step, hit.
We knew you wouldn’t approve so we lied. But we both want you, we really do.
Sweat beaded down her face and under her tank top. She threw a punch at the bag. It rocked back.
It’s not cheating. You have to understand.
She stripped off her gloves and threw them at the bag. They thudded on the wooden floor.
We both love you.
She screamed. Loud and high, her voice exploded from her.
She turned. They both stood by the door, anxious and eager. Mark and Eric, black and blond, looked as different as day and night.
Her boyfriend, floppy black hair, earnest brown eyes, tried to smile at her. His husband – husband! Not best friend! – stood mute next to him.
“How could you?” Her voice broke. “How could you?”
“We are sorry.” Her boyfriend hugged her tight.
Eric closed his arms around them both. “Please forgive us. Please.”