Write about now

March 17, 2015

Flash Fiction Challenge: Random Cocktail Challenge

Filed under: flash fiction challenge — Tags: , , — Eva Therese @ 10:53 am

This weeks Flash Fiction Challenge, as always courtesy of the lovely and bearded Chuck Wendig was to randomly generate a cocktail recipe, then use the name of the cocktail as the title of the story. Actually making the cocktail and drinking it while writing was optional, but I’m sure recommended; I skipped that party however. My cocktail/title was ‘Mojo’.


The bag is small and made by hand, without much skill, from leather. She keeps it open with one hand as she puts in a number of small objects. They’re what a small child might consider a treasure; a white feather, a sea shell, a coin and finally – the only thing she herself believes might be good for anything – a few dried springs of mint. They smell as fresh and sweet as a summer morning and the scent tugs at her heart before she closes the bag and wraps the leather string tightly around the opening, before tying a couple of knots.

It’s done. If the buyer should open the bag and look in it – she always tells them not too, but of course some of them do anyway – they’ll find a collection of objects that looks appropriately witch-like; they’ll find what they expect to find in a good-luck charm.

She gets up, clutching the bag in one hand, as she puts on her coat. It’s all nonsense of course. Good luck cannot be gained from feathers and coins and the mint is simply there, because she likes the smell. It’s amazing that anyone would think otherwise, but then again they probably don’t. They probably tell themselves that the bag is placebo, something to put them in a positive frame of mind, yaddayaddayadda. After all, you make your own luck, don’t you? They have no idea how right they are.

She steps out on the busy side street, the bag still in her hand. The wind is blowing and it’s cold to be without gloves but it works better this way. A woman brushes past her, just some woman. She doesn’t even catch her face, she’s just a blur of curly, dark brown hair rushing past and then she’s gone. But she touches her bare hand holding the bag and a bit of luck is snatched from the woman and caught in the bag.

She looks after the woman, but she is already gone in the crowd. This day and the next day will be a bit rougher than usual, but nothing more than that.

The witch continues down the pavement. She doesn’t touch people herself, she doesn’t have to. They brush her in passing and, like a pocket thief collecting wallets, she steals small amounts of good luck, a day here, a couple of days here, maybe a whole week. One man walks into her and tells her to look where she’s going, as if he wasn’t the one talking on his phone. She gets a lot from him, three whole weeks and then watches without any emotion as he fumbles with his phone, drops it and it shatters.

Now the small bag is full and she puts in her pocket. She stops in front of a window, pretends to look at the display, without even seeing what’s there, while she rubs her hands together and blows on them, in a vain attempt to get some warmth in them. Then she puts her hand in her other pocket and pulls out another small leather bag. It looks like the first one and contains much the same thing except that there’s a mouse skull rather than a feather and anise seeds instead of mint. She’s been putting off doing this for days – she dislikes this even more than gathering good luck – but the buyer is getting impatient and she’s paid in advance.

With a sigh she turns away from the window and starts moving through the crowd again. She keeps her gaze firmly at the ground. If she looks up, looks at the people around her, she’ll lose her nerve. She’ll start flinching away from some and move towards others and try to decide who deserves it, but she is no judge of that. So she just keeps her head down, the bag clutched tightly in her hand and someone brushes towards her and she draws bad luck from them.

The thing about luck, the difference between good and bad, is that good luck just is, like money or ice-cream. You can take it from someone and give it to someone else and then they’ll have good luck and the first person won’t. But bad luck, it’s like a disease. Spreading the infection does not make a sick person any less sick. And with bad luck it will make them worse.

She walks slowly, almost dragging her feet, causing people around her to grumble and outright curse at her. She looks at no one, she doesn’t want to see their faces, she doesn’t want to recognize them on the news ‘Walked in front of a truck’ or ‘Came home and surprised a burglar’ and know that she was the cause of their misfortune. She tries to be careful, limit the risk, taking just a few hours from each person, but people are bumping into her and when someone shoves her from behind, causing her to stumble and almost trip, she reacts without thinking and draws almost a whole week. She spins around wildly looking for the person. It was too much! She has to undo it! But she doesn’t know who it was and people are passing her by without looking at her.

The bag in her hand feels heavy even to her numb hand. It’s full or as close as makes no difference. It’s enough. She puts it away, then buries both of her hands in her pockets, trying to get them warm. She can feel the two small bags filled with the good and the bad luck. They feel the same. But after all, it’s not what kind of luck you get, but what you chose to do with it. She knows that better than most.

 

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2 Comments »

  1. I love the magic. You could create a whole world and mythos from this. I like your character. She has a well-developed morality and it makes me curious about her reasons for doing what she does.

    Comment by jacki214 — March 22, 2015 @ 3:37 pm

    • Thanks you! I do hope I can use this again for something more elaborate.

      Comment by Eva Therese — March 22, 2015 @ 5:55 pm


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