Flash Fiction: Every jar of dirt contains a spirit that can be harnessed.
|The Tibots were strange, but they were dependable customers. When Answar's father noticed their latest order—another jar of soil, this time from Tunisia--was unclaimed, he dispatched his son to deliver it. It was unusual for for Mr. Orin to waste an employee's shop hours with such frivolity, but the jar was already paid for and friendly gestures were the bridge to good business.
But business didn't concern Answar, only Lian did. The Tibots' daughter had long raven hair and flighty eyes. Chestnut. Piercing and unsubtle. She always wore bright shoes a little bit too big for her feet that gave her step a slight bounce Answar found appealing.
He almost dropped the jar when he finally arrived. The Tibots' home stood, barely, front gate unhinged, windows broken, patches of lawn tinted a thick, congealed red. Smoke diffused from a side. Answar rushed inside and found Lian curled in a corner.
“Lian!” She slowly looked up, noticing the jar.
“Soil...” she muttered. She grabbed his shoulders, suddenly full of life. “American soil! It's in a jar here somewhere! Help me find it!”
There'd been dozens of jars of soil. Most lay cracked in the rubble, their contents spread across the floor in an unearthed menagerie. When they found the contents from the US jar Lian kicked off her shoes.
“It's a war game. My parents, they've been taken.” She took two fistfuls of soil and coated her shoe's interior. “They were American scientists. See, each country has a soul, special strengths and memories...and I was designed to absorb it.” She put the shoes back on. “I was supposed to be raised a soldier, an infiltrator, but the Tibots kidnapped me. Saved me. Now it's my turn.”
She gave Answar a kiss and smiled. Her eyes were easy this time, calm and balmy. They made Answar feel he'd lost a great thing, forever. “Bastards want to see what their missing prize is capable of. I won't disappoint.”