I briefly belonged to a flash fiction writing group a while back. I only wrote a handful of pieces, and it was an interesting experience. As much as I like writing opinion pieces and telling stories about my adventures, I’ve never had any skill for fiction writing. In fact, this one’s not entirely a fictitious account. But it’s the piece of which I’m most proud and that I spent some time revising (minimally) for competitions later. I hope you enjoy it.
Prompt: Only Two
Word count: 287/300 max
Amid the buzzing swarm, the clamor of a brass band begins a gay polka, commanding—seemingly demanding—merriment of the cacophonous crowd. Southern sun and humidity, body heat and odor press against me oppressively. I shut my eyes, touching fingertips to my temples, and exhale wearily.
A long day trekking across the faire grounds leaves me guzzling bitter, overpriced mead to calm my nerves against the serious fire hazards posed by so many thousands squeezed into a few small acres, filing through rows of aging wooden shops like cattle.
I scan the horde, searching for the so-called friends who dragged me here. They went for another round of beers while I saved seats for the next show.
“Beg ’pardon, m’lady. Do ye know the hour?” asks an ineptly affected English accent in garish tights and codpiece . . . and naught else.
Checking my watch, “A quarter of two,” I reply and grimace some semblance of a polite smile. He snatches my wrist and plants a sloppy kiss on my knuckles in thanks, dashing away before I can recoil. I wipe the wetness across my jeans and tilt my head skyward, lamenting silently, Only two?
A glimmer draws my gaze to a young couple: a kilted elf and sparkling pixie, a pretty enough pair and otherwise unremarkable. They lean into each other some 50 yards off as the tedious throng parts just long enough that I see her rise on tiptoes and him bend to kiss her: long and tender, beaming in a world of their own, and achingly intimate. I share their moment of joy from afar, raptly watching unseen, the glimpse to cherish.
Then a bellowing pretzel-bearer blocks my view, and I release the breath I hadn’t known I held.