A Humble Repast

I am going to pretend that you have never heard of Indies Unlimited or their flash fiction challenge. This means that I am going to go through and tell you all about it. If you know the deal already, skip this next bit and just jump in where the title of the story pops out at ya.

So every week, starting on Saturdays, Indies Unlimited hosts a flash fiction challenge. They give us a picture and written prompt. Based on the prompts we have till Tuesday (around 5pm Pacific time) to write a 250 word story based on the prompts. A select panel at Indies Unlimited then chooses the best stories for the week and on Wednesday we are given the opportunity to vote on our favorite from the best stories of the week.

I know what you’re thinking, 250 words seems like a piece of cake. But that doesn’t leave a lot of room to play around with the story. You have to get in there and make those words count. Seems easy but looks are deceiving.

A Humble Repast

The 9th Street Shelter was not a large one. It did not receive much in the way of donations, so there would be no turkeys for Thanksgiving.

In fact, it wasn’t even a proper shelter, as it provided no cots. In the old days, it would have been called a soup kitchen.

Nonetheless, the disheveled couple who entered that day were thankful.

A hot cup of soup helped them shake off the chill. As they prepared to huddle in the corner for some badly needed rest, the door swung open…

A Humble Repast

photo by K.S. Brooks

Chill air blew her into the main hall of the shelter. Frost crusted her brow as she shook the snow from her shoulders. They knew her, knew her like the breeze that rattled their bones. Dizzy Bell, had caught up with them.

“Don’t look at her,” Sam said. He locked eyes with the soup on his tray, though his hand shook as he spooned it to his lips.

Shana nudged closer to him, safety in numbers, but it was too late. She had looked up and locked eyes with Dizzy Bell. The woman sauntered through the crowd without dropping her gaze. Shana tried to look away, lord knows she tried, but the cold had filled her, frozen her in that fateful moment.

“You owe me.” Dizzy’s voice cracked like gravel. “You didn’t really think that you could get out of it, didja?”

“We was gonna pay ya Diz,” Sam said. He didn’t look up, didn’t turn away from the soup in front of him.

She slammed her fist to the table. “Lies, always the damn lies. You owe me.”

Shana looked from Dizzy, to her fist, and then to Sam. She counted the hairs on the top of his head while digging through her brain for something, anything to say.

Time had stopped.

The fist still against the table. Sam’s spoon hand hovered in space, between the cup and his lips. The sounds all around them frozen.

“Have some soup,” Shana said. And she could breathe again.


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