I thought I’d share one of the few pieces of flash fiction I’ve written. Enjoy!
“Wasn’t this a law firm?”
“Yup. Biggest and most prestigious in Appleton.” It’s hard to believe the battered building in front of us used to be a thriving place of law. The Great Quakes were hard on buildings, as were the floods that followed. “Come on, Marci, let’s check it out.”
The lack of windows isn’t surprising but it’s disappointing to see the inside is already stripped. Everything of use or value’s been taken including the wires in the walls. What little remains hangs from gaping holes like entrails spilling out. It’s the same in every room just as its been in every building we’ve seen in the last year.
The place feels empty and there’s not many people left, but we’re still cautious as we walk deeper into the interior.
Turning a corner, I hesitate. There’s a barricade built in the doorway at the end of the hall. Marci comes up beside me lifting her piece of pipe higher so I can see she’s ready. I move forward with cautious steps. Pushing a strip of wood back, I peer inside. There’s no one in sight but something’s weird, almost clean, about the room. I grip the edges of the board forming the rest of the blockade and, holding it like a shield, I step inside.
It looks the same as all the other rooms with two notable exceptions.
“It’s magic,” Marci sighs.
“There’s no such thing as magic.” I can’t take my eyes off the cake sitting on the little round table in the middle of the room. There’s no frosting on the round single layer cake, but that makes it no less astounding.
Marci shoots me a look. “Says the Magician. Wasn’t your tagline ‘Greatest magician this side of Vegas?”
“Like I said—no such thing.” She knows as well as I do magic doesn’t exist. Someone must have found another way.
We move forward like moths drawn to a flame.
“There hasn’t been electricity in years. How’d they bake it?”
The cake is chocolate sponge and has one spindly candle in the middle. It looks fresh and the smell filling the air around us makes my mouth water. I’d forgotten how good the deep, sweet scent of baked chocolate is yet I’ve no desire to touch it. It symbolizes more than my stomach could ever hold.
The light in the room darkens before we finally move.
“Should we wait for them?” Marci asks.
I look at her. “Would you come back if we were here?”
She shakes her head.
“We best keep moving.”
There’s a light in Marci’s eyes as we exit the building. Hope. I haven’t seen it in a long time and I can feel it growing in me too, timid as a flower in the dim rays of winter. A birthday cake is an extravagance we haven’t seen since before the Great Quakes. That someone could and would make it proves humans are still capable of more than just survival.
We head into the night for the first time in months looking forward to the day to come.