Flash Fiction Friday: The Family Jewels

Hello Readers, Writers,and Friends,

This week has been really awesome in some respects (Grand Canyon!) and really frightening in others. I think I’m going to tell you all about the scary stuff in a post on Monday, so stay tuned. But regardless of frightening experiences it is Friday and that means flash fiction.

For anyone dropping by here for the first time, every week I pull a couple of writing prompts and improv a short piece of fiction around them. It’s fun. Sometimes the things I write are not terrible. Other times, well, they can serve as examples of what happens when you don’t edit.

I encourage you to take these prompts and do your own flash fiction, use them however you like. Then comment below so we can share in your creative escapades.

Today’s prompts are: person covered in tattoos, mother’s necklace.

Preston Marline Morris (that’s Pres to you) didn’t have much in the way of ambition. She wasn’t particularly curious. And wasn’t easily offended, but woe betide you if you found yourself on the wrong side of her temper. No, Pres worked in a coffee house telling regulars to keep their feet off the tables and telling Mr. Greystone from down the street that no, they still didn’t carry coconut milk. But all of that could have easily been called into question the day Marcus walked in to the shop and ordered a cappuccino.

“Ok, one cappuccino. What size?” Pres asked as she scanned the cornucopia of tats that peaked from his sweater cuffs and crawled up his neck.

“Medium, or you know, whatever passes for a medium is fine,” he said, uncoiling a scarf that had been keeping the chill air off his inked skin.

When she asked for a name for the order he hesitated a second before telling her it was Marcus. His sudden shyness felt at odds with artistic aggression with which he carried his body art.

Pres shrugged it off, made his cappuccino, followed by Mr Greystone’s afternoon soy (haven’t you told your manager about coconut milk yet?) latte. And then a series of other drinks and confections ordered by college students and soccer moms and all the others that came through the cozy little place that had been Pres’s world for years.

She didn’t notice Marcus again until thy were five minutes from closing and he was still occupying the little table he had settled at earlier.

“Um, we’re about to close. Sorry,” she added when he looked at her with such an expression of hurt on his face, it broke her heart a little. Maybe he’d been stood up? Maybe he wasn’t sure where he was staying tonight.

But then he scanned the room. “We the only ones in here?”

“Yeeess.”

Marcus pulled off his sweater and unbuttoned the shirt beneath. Pres took two steps back, not sure what was happening. He stopped three buttons down and just held his shirt open so she could see the top of his chest clearly. It was as densely tattooed as his neck and wrists had hinted, but that didn’t alarm Pres. What made her sit down hard on the stool across from him was the image that decked his collarbones.

She’d only seen it every day from the time she could remember her own name until her mother had died when she was fourteen. The blue stone and silver filigree were perfected depicted on Marcu’s skin.

“My mother’s necklace,” she whispered. “Wha? I–“

“She wanted you to have it.” marcus pressed his hand to his chest. A pale golden light seeped beneath his fingers and grew until Pres had to look away. When the light faded and she looked back, Marcus held her mother’s necklace in his hand. The skin where the image had been was smooth and clear.

He held the necklace out to Pres, but she just stared. He placed it one the table in front of her.

“I don’t understand.” Pres ‘s fingers hovered just over the polished stone’s surface. Had she ever touched it before. Surely she must’ve, but she couldn’t remember ever doing it.

“I wish you didn’t have to, but you will,” Marcus said, doing the buttons of his shirt up once more. He pulled on his seater. Replaced the scarf. Now he pulled out a knit cap and placed it on his head.

He dropped a hefty tip and a business card on the table, and left the coffee house without another word.

Pres sat transfixed, as thought she expected her mother’s voice to call to her from the depths of the gem that sat in front o her. With Marcus gone the only sound was the industrial dishwasher in the kitchen scrubbing away a day’s worth of customer’s orders. Without taking her eyes off the necklace, Pres picked up the card. When she could finally pull her eyes away to look at it, it read:

Portal Distribution Services (332)255-6463

Hope you enjoy, and find a host of other ways to be inspired this week.

~Anika

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