Another Friday, another Flash Fiction.
Today’s picture prompt comes from Pinterest. I’m sorry, I do not know who the original photo is of or who took it. But how awesome is that makeup?
This is a future scene of my WIP after the book takes place. Not that I am planning on a series, but this character, Fate, is someone I’ve played with for a while. This picture inspired me to write it, even if I never use it for anything other than flash fiction.
As always, my flash fiction pieces are created for personal inspiration and motivation. But any and all critique is welcome. Thanks for reading!
“Can we trust her?” I realize I should have asked this moments ago before we entered the store. Honestly, I’m not impressed. Supposedly she holds the answer to whatever question you seek, yet her occupation of choice is this rustic and mothballed-smelling junk shop?
“You can never trust Fate. But you want to find the door or not?” Jared hushed me after that. Saying she doesn’t like to be spoken about, and she’s been known to tell false truths of the future to those she dislikes that will drive the hearer mad.
I keep my mouth shut. We can only handle one problem at the moment.
No one greets us at the counter. No one seems to be in the shop at all other than a lonely seventy-year-old woman who is still wearing her flannel pajamas and whose white curly hair stands on end like she was just shocked with a couple hundred volts of electricity. She makes a few rounds about the store before opting out of any purchases and heading to the door. Jared and I watch her go and when we turn back, a young girl with raven hair stares at us from behind the counter with one brown eye and one milky white eye.
Her brown eye looks to Jared as she speaks, but her dead eye stays fixed on me.
“May I help you find something?” Her voice is silky soft and alluring. The voice you’d expect from a caring mother or a devoted friend. “We have a lovely selection of novelty buttons. Perhaps, you would be interested in our discount bin of bed knobs?”
“We didn’t come for buttons,” I blurt out, but I instantly regret the words because now both the girl’s eyes are on me and I see the fog within the white one swirl ever so slightly, sending a tingle down my spine.
“We have a question for you,” Jared interjects, drawing her attention back to him.
“Ah, of course. I’ve been expecting you, Jared. And you, Aela.” Her eyes fall back to me and I have the feeling I won’t be able to rely on Jared to ask the question.
“I know why you are here and what you intend to ask.” Her voice is void of the sweetness it held a moment ago. It is knowing and pointed and sharp. “But what you want to ask is not all that you seek. There is another question you wish me to answer,” she says, smiling, milky eye definitely swirling. “But first, payment.”
“It is my debt,” Jared says before I can stop him. What I do know about Fate is that she collects without returns or exchanges. I silently agree with Jared through a curt nod, but it does not mean I can’t throw a quick shoulder jab at him when Fate moves from around the counter. He gives me a half smile barely held up as his face pales.
Fate locks the door and pulls the blinds before planting herself in front of me. She tilts her head this way and that, inspecting me as I am unable to peel my gaze from her one white eye. If Liza were here she would know why Fate has one dead eye, she’d also know that Jared would be the one to volunteer payment. But she is not here, and I don’t know when I’ll see her again. But Vincent, I know where he is. He is why I am here. I need to find a way to the Underside. I won’t let him rot in that place. The Underside was meant as my prison, not his.
“There!” Fate says. “Oh, I was sure you would have chosen the little girl,” a note of disappointment in her tone.
The lights dim, the world itself fades around us as Fate’s dead eye begins to burn with a white light. The light swirls inside her socket before expanding and contorting her face in the motion, as if the eye were the center of a whirlpool. A blackness extends beyond the light, across her left cheek and nose, mixed with speckles of blues and grays and whites. The mass overtakes from her forehead down to her collarbone and I realize that her eye is not an eye at all, but are now a distinct cluster of stars, the center of a starry constellation now moving in tandem across her face. Half her flesh is gone, leaving only space and stardust. I have the urge to reach out and touch it, right before her eye flashes hot white, forcing me to shut my own.
When the flash recedes, Fate is staring at me, her face wholly intact and her white eye glimmering with sparkling tears. She wipes at it and holds a single tear on the tip of her finger.
“For payment.” She looks to Jared and my eyes follow. She stares intently for a second before nodding her head in unknown approval. “Yes. Should do nicely. When the time comes Jared, know that it is mine.” Jared pales but nods. I don’t have time to ask what was agreed upon when Fate continues, “Open your mouth, Aela.”
My face must look as confused as I feel because she chuckles out a sound that can surely move mountains, destroy cities. It rattles my chest and quickens my pulse.
“Truths are not pleasant, stupid girl. You must take it as is. Painfully.”
I lean my head back and she lets the tear drop from her finger and into my open mouth. It cuts me to pieces as it slides down my throat.