#SwiftFicFriday W116 – Vote!

#SwiftFicFriday W116 – Vote!

Another prompt, another round of great stories to choose from. Check the stories out below and vote for your favorite!


Hair Pieces

I hadn’t had a haircut in months. My covid locks were sticking up like I was Art Garfunkle at his frizziest finest.
I drove by ye Ole Barber Shoppe early, but it was cluttered with all manner of hairy mankind.
Later, I passed by again, saw a lull in the proceedings, pulled over, masked up, and went in.
The personnel had changed. Pre-Covid, there had been a small contingent of elderly barbers, a bastion of near-retirees, manning the shop.
They knew their hair.
I took a seat, wallowed in some nostalgia, watched a younger fellow trim an elder’s silver head.
I was the only one waiting until another hair-challenged comrade came in. He was carrying his worldly goods on his shoulder. He set his duffle bag down, fumbled with the mask supply, said, “Fingers ain’t working.”
I commiserated, ‘know the problem well, friend.”
Finally, he snatched some free mask victory, covered his mug, and sat down. “Been a hard few years…hernia operation bumped four times.”
As I considered how to respond, a woman came in from the back.
“I’m Kim. Next up, take a seat.”
“That would be me,” I answered.
I settled in.
Kim began clipping.
Hernia fellow got up, flashed a CD, asked, ”Found this. Mind if I play it?”
He got the okay and slipped his booty in the player.
Patsy began to wail. “I fall to pieces…each time I see you again… “
“Oh, man,” I say, “that hits home.”
“Me too,” says Kim. “Before the plague, a friend and I went on a road trip to a wedding. Up north. Her car. One CD.”
“Patsy?” I guessed.
“Yup. Still haven’t recovered.”
All the while, I’m sinking in a sea of my lost teenage loves…
“Know the feeling,” I offer. “Know it well.”

299 words by Bill Engleson (@billmelaterplea)

This is what I was afraid of. This is why I did what I did. Now I’m in the middle of it with no way home.

I don’t even know if I did enough. I don’t think I did.

Sometimes I perceive the world as through a haze. I’m not sure if it’s a memory, real, or something else. I reach for it anyway. I think.

It’s tiring in The Dark. I don’t remember it being so exhausting simply perceiving myself before. Remembering is exhausting.

I have a way out. Or I had one? Or was it that there is no way out?

I’m not alone in The Dark. Others have been here much longer. I think I was afraid of them?

They seem to be asleep. I want to sleep.

But not like this. Not in The Dark.

It takes everything I have, but I build a bastion of words around myself.

I sleep in that.

157 words by David A Ludwig (@DavidALudwig)

The small girl paced around her well-appointed rooms. An older woman sat by the window overlooking a tranquil lake.

“Estara, please, I must go; this is no longer where I belong.” Tears slipped down the girl’s face.

Estara sighed. “I have told you many times, Renelle, you cannot ever leave this place. You are magic’s last bastion. It will cease to exist if anything happens to you.

Renelle threw up her hands. “Is my magic of value locked in this splinter world? If all I do is sit here, why protect it? Tranama isn’t gaining anything by this.”

“Tranama will gain nothing when they kill you for being different and magic will die.” Estara rose and left the room, ending the long-standing argument.

As the door closed, Renelle snatched her slipper off her foot and threw it. The slipper bounced off the door to land harmlessly on the floor. She repeated her action with her other slipper. Then Renelle stormed to the window to stare out, her frustration sending tremors through her.

Across the lake, Renelle could see the glowing blue seam between this splintered pocket and Tranama. It tantalized her, being so close and yet so far. Over the last month, pressure grew in her to leave this place, becoming a physical ache. Renelle understood Estara had dedicated herself to protecting Renelle from The Purging, but the same insight told Renelle she could no longer hide.

Then a thought struck her. She gathered a few belongings into a backpack, left a note on her bed, and climbed out of her window.

“Forgive me, please.” Her whisper sounded loud to her as she set off toward the door into the real world.

282 words by Stacy Overby (@dontpanic2011)

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