As time marches, some lives are lost beneath its trampling feet. Flash Fiction.
|PROMPT: Two women sit at a coffee shop in a busy city. One is amazingly beautiful; the other is not. The beautiful one is agitated, distraught. She picks at her food, lights up cigarette after cigarette. She finally looks the other woman square in the face and says, “I want you to leave him alone.” Excersice for Genesis Writing Class.|
An odd couple, the two women sit across from each other at the diner. The older, a jaw-dropping beauty, burns cigarette after cigarette. She drums her manicured nails on the table, staring at her companion and ignoring her meal. The other, a child by comparison, mirrors the siren's determined glare; but, beneath the table she wrings her hands. Her elder pounces at the show of weakness. Leaning over the table, she blows a cloud of smoke into the girl's face. Unfettered, she maintains her composure. The siren gives a contemptuous snort and settles back. She looks the child square in the eyes and says, "I want you to leave him alone."
The woman's plea hangs in the air; silence answers. "Excuse me, can I get you anything else," a passing waitress asks. Jerking her head toward the waitress, the siren glares through slitted eyelids. Her warning not lost, the waitress scuttles away in haste, glancing over her shoulder twice before disappearing behind a door.
Studying the young creature across the table, the woman's beautiful features tighten. Her eyebrows arch and her lip begins to twitch. She hones in on two damp ovals swelling across the girl's crumpled blouse. So, your little bastard needs a feed does he? The girl quickly tugs at her jacket; pulling it tight with calloused hands, ending the display. After another long puff and an exaggerated sigh, the woman tries again.
"I'm willing to pay you a handsomely, more than enough for you and your little beast to live comfortably. Just leave my son alone. If need be, I can arrange to place the child with another family. With a proper upbringing and our bloodline, assuming my son even is the father . . . ," the siren stares hard into girl's unflinching eyes, stubbing out her final smoke before continuing, "he might become something."
The girl's silent determination infuriates. "That is all I'm willing to do. It's my final offer, you miserable thing!" The woman's mouth twists, through clinched teeth she nearly hisses, "I would rather fit my mother's ring to pig's hoof than give my consent to this union. At least, then I could - "
"That's enough, Mother!" commands a deep voice from behind. The siren freezes; her breath catches and her eyes widen, as though a child caught sneaking a cookie. Her son storms around the booth, clutching an infant to his chest. He helps the girl to her feet and gently kisses her head before turning toward his mother. In a voice as distant as his eyes, he warns, "This is the last time you will shame me!" One bejeweled hand flutters about the siren's chest like a trapped butterfly. She blinks back tears, searching for words behind her eyelids. His voice echoes, drumming to a screech. Her eyes fly open; she is alone. Tears fall freely, her face a watercolored portrait of make-up and misery.
"What's her deal?" The waitress thumbs cautiously to the old lady sobbing at an empty table.
"Oh, her?" the manager answers, "She's somewhat of a regular. Lives up at the mental institution, I think. Comes in every few months, sits at the same table. Apparently she and her family were here celebrating a wedding or something. They left and a car jumped the curb. Killed 'em all. Three of 'em, I believe. Right there on the sidewalk." The manager stares out front door and then at the little old lady. He shakes his head. "It's been years and years ago. I wasn't working here when it happened." He sighs and starts another pot of coffee, "Just terrible, she must've really loved them . . . "