Finish Off Fridays: The Summons #amwriting #flashfiction 


Thanks to Lorraine from MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting FOF. 

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Credit: Lorraine

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“I had never been summoned to Number 208 [by the park] before; I nervously adjusted my coat . . .” A person could book a pick-up online or by phoning into FedEx but you couldn’t summon a particular delivery person, could you? 

“April, it means what I said,” Becky from the warehouse told me on the phone, “I’m not being rude, the lady who lives there wanted you, specifically, at her home.” 

The door was open when I arrived. “I’m here,” a frail female voice rasped. 

Walking into the house I heard the respirations of a woman on a ventilator. She was all hollows and sallow skin. Her hair was whispy white and thinning. Eyes the color of blue-bells greeted me but they were bloodshot. 

The woman grasped a yellow envelope with a trembling hand. She shook the envelope and a key dropped out. 

Her shaking fingers held it out, “For me?” I asked. 

I took the key staring at it in confusion; it appeared ancient. As I examined it I heard the woman gasp something. I moved closer to her and held her hand attempting to hear her strained voice. She shook her head with a ragged sigh and breathed her last.

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

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13. How Was Last Night For You: Injuries and Memories


Read Chapter 12 here.

Chapter 13: Injuries and Memories.

John was searching for Nina beneath debris inside the farmer’s market. He was worried about Nina and he couldn’t find her. He had lost her and their bags when they had dived for the floor as a booth had blown towards them.

John could see other people searching for friends or family in the warehouse. He watched a grey-haired man aid some other men caught underneath a table. Everyone at the farmer’s market was injured someway. The worst were broken limbs and large abrasions. John hoped Nina had escaped with nothing but a few scrapes. John’s breathing stopped for a moment when he saw a soft pile of pink fabric out of the corner of his eye.

Nina was lying on the cement floor of the warehouse her right hand covered in blood. John carefully removed the items that had landed on top of Nina from the wind. He removed the bags with some of her purchases from her slack hand. John gently shook Nina. When she didn’t wake up he realized Nina was unconscious.

John ran his hand gently through Nina’s hair and was startled when his hand came out dripping blood. He grimaced at the awful wound Nina had acquired on her head. She was going to need stitches and John wouldn’t doubt it if she had a concussion. He unwound the the pink scarf around her neck gently and pressed the scarf to Nina’s head injury. The scarf was ruined but hopefully it would stop the remaining bleeding.

Oddly enough, the storm had only affected a small area of Adare, close to Sirene Lake. It didn’t surprise John. He was sure Tia drew her power from the water as a sea witch. She was the one who had caused Nina’s head injury he thought hatefully.  John grabbed Samsung and called 911. Ambulances were no doubt in the area assisting people from the market because the paramedics were helping Nina in a flash.

John watched worriedly as Nina was put onto a stretcher. A brace was put around her neck and the paramedics put bandages on Nina’s head wound. John gathered Nina’s bags and rode in the ambulance saying he was Nina’s fiancé so he could accompany her to the hospital. On the way, John found Nina’s phone in her purse and called Jasper to help Rianne bring some of Nina’s clothes and toiletries to the Adare General Hospital.

John told Jasper Nina had hurt her head. Then he mentioned that Tia had returned. Jasper was aghast.

“After all this time?” Jasper wondered.

“Yes Tia’s back Jasper and she’s vengeful. She wants me, but she wants to hurt me too. She’s nothing like the sweet girl I used to know. Who laughed and partied with us years ago.” John said.

“The best way she can hurt me is through Nina. Tia’s jealous of her. I’m positive it was Tia who hurt Nina drawing power from the water of the Sirene for the storm. Nina said Tia was at the fundraiser last night dating a guy named Malcolm, one of our editors from Mergers. Tia called herself Talise. Nina ran into her at the farmer’s market today too.  Tia hurt Nina on purpose today.”

“Are you sure John?”

“Yes, Jasper. She told me ‘my heart or Nina’s’ I don’t think she could be much clearer. I think she wants one of our hearts literally.”

John ended the call as the ambulance pulled up to emergency. The wait in emergency was painfully long and Nina remained unconscious the entire time. Doctor Kenner eventually examined Nina’s head and said she would be out for awhile. Nina had a nasty gash on her scalp and the doctor stitched up the wound carefully. Doctor Kenner noted that Nina would need three or four weeks to heal from what he thought was a mild concussion.  Dr Kenner ordered  a CT scan and x-ray to be sure of Nina’s condition.

John set Nina’s shopping bags down by the window sill in her hospital room. He saw there were some different spices in one bag and a beat up apple pie in the other. He was starving and managing to procure a plastic fork,  John ate half the pie. It was delicious, and was well worth the necklace he bought Nina. John had never bought a woman such a personal gift before, except Tia. He remembered having bought her a bracelet with an opal stone. Tia’s favourite colour was teal. She had been ecstatic when John given her the bracelet years ago.


 

“John it’s gorgeous. It reminds me of the ocean and the waves.” A young Tia had said to him admiring her wrist. “You have good taste.”

” I saw it and knew you would like it. It was in Tiffany’s.” John remarked, his hands tangled in Tia’s blond waves.

“Tiffany’s wow, it must have been expensive John. I love it. And I love being here on the beach with a bonfire and only us. No one for you to do business with. No brothers for you to rough house with and meet clients with. Just us, when we get married promise we’ll go to Greece, somewhere the water is santorini blue. . .”

“Oh, umm,” John said nervously. “I have a heaping pile of work to do for the next while and building Mergers right now is exceptionally important to my brother’s and I. It’s our dream you know. We’ll have to wait awhile. We can always have a good time as we are. I don’t need a piece of paper to say we’re a sure thing. We don’t need to be married yet.”

Tia sighed sadly, “If you say so John. In a year or two right?” Tia said holding up her bracelet and looking adorable.

John kissed her wrist, “Sounds about right, Tia.” He kissed her slowly by the bonfire.


 

It wasn’t long after Tia cursed John because Tia thought John was using her. Despite searching the lake for her in his sailing boat and inquiring about her from Tia’s old friends, John hadn’t seen Tia in eight years. When John saw Tia at the market she looked almost the same. Her skin was smooth and dewy and her hair was a sun-kissed blond. Only, her personality was colder. She was devious. She wasn’t an innocent girl anymore. John had helped cause her Tia to become hateful what she was today — vengeful. He felt guilty, despite how irate Tia made him feel for the curse she had caste on John.

John clasped the less expensive but beautiful pearl on the gold necklace he’d bought for Nina. The necklace lay around her neck as she slept. When he bought it for Nina he knew it was a gift for Nina which had more meaning to him then Tia’s expensive bracelet. He wanted Nina to be his ‘beloved’ as the charm on the necklace read. He wanted to do better with Nina and work was no longer such an interference in his life. He had enough money that he could take time off when he needed. In that moment, John realized he wanted a future with Nina. If he had it his way — a lifetime.


 

Rianne and Jasper arrived when visiting hours were almost over. Rianne wasn’t looking to well with her arm in a cast and sling. She was in pain but tried to be cheerful with Jasper at her side. Jasper had helped Rianne gather some clothes and personal items Nina would require in hospital for a few days. Rianne kissed Nina’s cheek and she brought home Nina’s spices from the market. John had finished the pie refusing to leave Nina before she woke up.

Nina awoke from unconsciousness later in the night. She was groggy as he took her hand and kissed her cheek.”John… is that you? I couldn’t find you. I looked but you were gone and this table it hit me and then my head was bleeding.”

“It’s okay Nina,” John said “I called an ambulance and you’re in a hospital room now. Doctor Kenner has ordered a CT scan and an x-ray but he thinks you should be yourself in a few weeks if you’re careful. You have a little concussion, that’s all.”

“Oh” Nina said softly,”I don’t feel good at all…so queasy.” John quickly grabbed a bedpan and Nina threw up. She wiped her mouth with some Kleenex John gave her.

“It’s going to take some time for you to heal Nina, take it slow, honey.” Nina smiled at the endearment and weakly brushed John’s hand with hers before letting her hand drop and resting back in bed.

“I intend to…” Nina whispered. She was going to sleep again when she mumbled, “Call my Mom. Call Heather –”

John sighed. Talking to Nina’s Mother for the first time to tell her Nina’s injured, great…

Please Read Chapter 14 here.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.

 

11. How Was Last Night For You: Talise at the Farmer’s Market


Read Chapter 10 here.

Chapter 11: Talise at The Farmer’s Market

Nina was delighted to have John take her to the farmer’s market. She enjoyed the atmosphere of the popular market which provided farm-grown produce, baked goods, prepared foods, as well as handmade speciality goods. A modest-sized warehouse with murals of oceanic scenes, was home for the market during the Winter months in Adare. In the late spring, the market moved outdoors so people could bask in the sunshine as they shopped.

The quick drive downtown, however, was silent. Nina was busy worrying about Rianne and her broken arm as well as her  confrontation with Talise. John was distant and brooding as he drove his Mercedes and parked a few blocks away from the market.

The aroma of fresh produce, sweet and inviting, met Nina as she walked into the crowded warehouse. The smell of fresh bread made both Nina and John inhale and smile at each other. Nina shoved her worries to the back of her mind. She immediately began talking to some of the merchants she knew, tugging John’s hands. Nina went to a few different tables she knew would be promising to find the best price for some vegetables. At different tables Nina bought an array of lush organic vegetables.

She was drawn to a table which sold spice blends called Cumin and See.  The company had spice mixtures, seasonings, and recipes for food. Nina purchased their special Caesar salad spice, a sweet cinnamony spice for apple cider, and a mixture of spices for a warm cheesy dip which would taste superb with crackers or chips. Nina wasn’t only buying for supper, she was thinking some down time would be a good idea soon.

Nina browsed along the tables where handcrafted jewelry was displayed. She gently held a fine 14k gold chain with a lustrous pearl and a tiny charm that read ‘beloved.’ John noticed Nina eyeing the necklace before she reached out and ran her finger over the pearl pendant and charm. John smiled at the cheerful merchant selling homemade jewelry at her booth and asked the lady how much for the necklace Nina was admiring.

” Oh don’t, it’s fine John. It’s $229.00 for this little chain. It’s not worth it.” Nina whispered to John.

“But you love it, right?” John said.”You’re worth it to me.”

Nina blushed at John’s praise and nodded her head. She did love the necklace,  it was classic. John ran his hand through Nina’s soft hair playfully before paying for the necklace with a swipe of his Visa. John carefully opened the fine necklace and clasped it around Nina’s neck. She loved the necklace and John’s gesture of buying her something. Nina adored that gesture a great deal.

“Thank you John,” Nina said sincerely, leaning up to kiss John on the lips.”Pay you back with some dessert sometime.” The kiss deepened and some people were openly gawking.

John smirked at Nina, aware he’d put on a show and held Nina’s hand as she went to a table that offered baked goods and bought an aromatic delicious apple pie for dinner. ” I love apple pie” John murmured to Nina, “Apple pie is more then enough in exchange for the necklace. Not that you had to get me anything.”They shared a warm companionable and heated gaze before Nina was distracted by more goods being sold.

Nina let go of John’s hand and went to browse among the tables of items.  She wasn’t often able to make it to the market in the winter time; work often meant overtime. Nina browsed aware John was worried some awful event might happen if they remained at the market long.

John had been looking at some homemade red wine, drinking a coffee when Nina last saw him. But when she turned around, John had disappeared into the crowd. Nina wasn’t too worried. John had his Samsung on him and she had her Iphone. The market wasn’t huge and it wouldn’t be impossible for Nina to find John in ten minutes or so while she shopped. Nina’s eyes immediately admired a baby pink scarf made of silk and light as air, hanging on rack of scarves beside a table.

A carefully manicured hand with sea green nail polish touched the delicate pink scarf and held it up so Nina could see how delicate and pretty the scarf was. Nina didn’t look up at the vendor because she was memorized by the way light hit the scarf. John could have bought her this scarf she thought, but she truly loved the gold necklace. She would purchase the scarf herself, Nina decided.

” Do you like it?” a girly voice asked Nina. Nina was to busy admiring the scarf, but then the voice said: “This would look wonderful on you Nina. It is exactly the right color of pink for your skin.” Nina knew the woman’s voice. She looked up to see Talise in a floaty silk blue blouse and leggings, behind the table.

“Oh” Nina said, “Talise, I didn’t know you had a booth here. Your scarves are gorgeous.” Talise smiled.

“It’s my friends booth. She’s the artist. I’m only filling in for her today. But she did tell me I could have any scarf of my choice. I would like for you to have my scarf. Take the light pink scarf Nina it suits you.” Nina was surprised, touched, and a suspicious of Talise’s gift. But she didn’t want to appear ungracious, even though she loved the pink scarf. She wrapped the silk perfection around her neck.

” That’s nice of you Talise. I didn’t think we were off to a friendly start at the fundraiser. You were judgemental of John and his past. How’s Malcolm?”

“Oh, he’s fine. He’s watching the Broncos play football,  while I do this. He loves sports. As for John, I’m only concerned about your safety with John, Nina. I don’t think he’s a reputable guy from my own experiences. For some reason, I always felt accidents and bad things occurred around John. Maybe, I’m only imagining these events, but I think you can do better than John.”

“It wasn’t your friend who John and his brothers laughed at when you said your friend loved  John, was it?  It was you?” Nina asked Talise in a flash of realization. Talise’s jewel green eyes shed a tear and then went blank.

“Yes, it was me,” she said. “I loved him and he talked about me behind my back. I wasn’t valuable to him. It was onto the next girl with John.”

Nina let her breath out nervously stroking the soft silk scarf Talise had given her. She felt wrong accepting the scarf now. Nina felt as if by wearing it she somehow agreed with Talise’s opinion of John now, that he was still a womanizer and a selfish man.

Nina felt she couldn’t give the scarf back to Talise, because she didn’t want to have a confrontation with her. She clutched the necklace John had bought her, hidden under the scarf. The necklace gave her hope and courage to defend John once again.

Please Read Chapter 12 here.


©Mandibelle16.(2016) All Rights Reserved.