A month of stories: the really short stories

Past Lives

Day 11: Chariot

The car gleams in the sunlight, obviously painstakingly polished. It looks perfect in every little way, and List’s mouth waters as he fights to stop himself running a hand along the shiny surface.

Damn, she’s gorgeous.

He jumps as a hand lands on his shoulder, and looks round to see Melinda smiling wistfully, her eyes  also on the beautiful machine. “Someday,” she says, the two of them admiring it in unison. “Someday.”

Commission (Late 1945)

Mary looks up at her hopefully, and Melinda sighs, hands on hips. “A…spurned fellow?”

Mary nods, beaming at her. “It’s a case!”

Melinda senses List at her shoulder just before he mutters, “It’s money.”

Melinda almost sighs at his cynicism, but she shares it. She shakes her head. “I am…I refuse to stalk a woman for an overbearing husband, no matter how rich he is. This is not why I came here…”

Mary and List look at her curiously, as if to ask her exactly why she did, but she cuts off the question hanging in the air with, “No. No.”

Melinda’s word is final.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Still Life

Rotisserie

Round and round. Round and round and round.

Seth grimaces. “Please tell me that’s a chicken.” His eyes remain fixed on the fire, and it.

Violet shrugs, seemingly unruffled. “It’s some sort of bird.”

He wonders in the silence how she caught it, then decides he doesn’t want to know.

Round and round and round.

Family is relative,

Violet thinks, as they make steady progress through a forest that seems determined to reject their presence; thorns scratch her, innocuous-looking leaves sting her, and sweat is trickling down her face, her back.

Seth is ahead of them, scouting for trouble, looking back at them and nodding when he’s satisfied the coast is clear. He sees her worried face and gives her a silent half-smile, small but reassuring.

Sofia is close behind her, stopping occasionally to pick a herb or admire their surroundings, not seeming to care that half the plants here are poisonous, or sharp, or…

Violet should mind, really, but her friend seems so happy; Seth maybe less so, but he seems in generally good spirits, urging her on, giving her more of those steadying half-smiles.

This, she realises, as another thorn scratches her and she nearly trips over a root, is the closest she’s ever felt to being home.

For what seems like the first time in an eternity, she smiles.

Safe

Takes place after Seth has been imprisoned by the Faerie Queen for several weeks.

Violet’s babbling, desperate, lips moving but he can’t tell what she’s saying, and the light’s blinding him after so long in the dark cell, and her eyes are pleading with him, and his mind’s finally working, and he finally knows what she’s saying…

“It’s alright. It’s going to be alright.” Her hand is outstretched, waiting for his own, and God, she’s really here

He takes her hand, gripping it tightly; she smiles, small and scared but there. He stands, watching her carefully, needing to make sure she’s real, but she’s pushing him forwards, eyes wide and lavender, saying, “Go, run, run.” He nods, stumbling into the light, a hand thrown to his face to shield his eyes. He hears her whisper once more into his ear, a hand tightly gripping his, and he’s acutely aware of it, the only thing his hazy mind can focus on:

“It’s going to be alright.”

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