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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Friendship · #1207383
A bit o' blarney for the Daily Flash Fiction Challenge.
It's St. Patrick's Day. At the Shamrock Shoppe, they're counting the jelly beans in the leprechaun jar.

Emmy has spent weeks staring at the jar, applying eight years of math to the problem. Estimation, volume, multiplication. She settled on 1555 just moments before the deadline.

Seeing her, people nudge one another and whisper. The day her father's rage exploded into murder and left Emmy the lone survivor of his rampage still defines her.

She had survived that day frozen and mute. And although her limbs thawed when she knew was safe, she has remained silent. This contest seems her best hope. Guess the number of jelly beans, win a trip to the Blarney Stone. One kiss and she'll possess the gift of gab.

"1554, 1555, 1556..." She reels as the counting continues. She pushes through the crowd and collapses sobbing outside. Four years of sadness and horror converge as she submits to the tears she hasn't dared allow herself.

It isn't fair. She lost everything that day: her mother, her brother, even Baby Kiley who had been the one spot of joy in their miserable home. All gone, to be replaced with the pitying glances and whispered speculations of strangers. Even her best friend Joan had withdrawn in the aftermath of the tragedy. And now this one chance...Stupid beans, stupid dreams

Hot tears freeze in the harsh March wind. The crowd gathers around Emmy. She hears a voice in her ear.

"Emmy, it's Joan. I won. I'm going to Ireland. Won't you come with me?"

Emmy fights the urge to retreat. Struggles to believe.

"Emmy, please, I only entered for you. You seemed to want it so much. Will you come?"

"Yes." Only one word. Hoarse, but strong. The gift of gab.
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