Each Friday, [tweetthis]I post a photo and a bit of flash fiction. I keep the words brief because, you know, “a picture is worth a 1,000….” [/tweetthis] To find out more click here.
Regular readers might remember Ray and Marla from another photo I took along my commute. To refresh your memory or you want to start from the beginning, click here. I only looked back to make sure I got the names right and then again, after I finished writing this post, so I could insert the link. Hmmm…. I wonder what’s up with birds and these two fictional characters.
"So," Ray said it like that little word explained everything; not a question, but a statement. Marla looked up from her mending. "You know what, So," she said. She craned her neck back over the sock and wove a piece of worsted in and out of the patch she started. The darning reminded her of the pre-school potholder craft kit she had as a child. One of her earliest memories of Christmas. Perhaps that's why mending socks felt so melancholy. She pulled her sleeves down around her knuckles. "So," Ray said again, this time stacking her fists on the kitchen table and planting her chin on top of that, eye-level to Marla's busy hands. "When are we going out again? You never showed me the two-eyed bird, you know." Her eyes looked hollow in light of the lantern. "Do you think I'm a dotard?" Marla said. She hated it when Ray punctuated every sentence with 'you know'. She noticed the girls fingernails needed clipping. "What's a dotard?" Ray Marla laughed. Her distraction efforts worked like a charm. Ray's chair complained to the worn linoleum as she pushed it back. Exaggerated foot-clomping took her toward the dictionary before Marla had a chance to say, "Go look it up." "How do you spell it?" The Webster's was a hold-over from her grandmother, a relic. Like the Rand-McNally Altlas her grandfather insisted she keep. Marla breathed a thank-you to the spirit world. Neither Marla nor Ray saw a sign of birds the two weeks ago, not even a dusty feather. Marla did see something else. A droplet of something. And scratches in the railing. Scratches made by something or someone. She slipped a sample vial from her pocket and captured the droplet. Trumble would know what it was. Or at least, he knew how to find out. She'd tell him about the scratches. The memory was as etched as permanently as a photograph. Maybe more so. It was Trumble who gave her the vials. "See something. Take something," Trumble told Marla when the Events first began. They both worked in the lab together back then. Walking to Trumble took too much time to remain safe outside. She had to get a Pedalabout. That took effort. "An old person, especially one who's become weak or senile," recited Ray with her finger on the page. "I'm sorry. You're not old and you're not weak. What's senile?" "S-E-N-I-L-E." Marla smiled and crooked her neck over the darning egg. [tweetthis]For just a moment she thought she smelled gingerbread. [/tweetthis]