Gillian Church posts Writing Prompts every Wednesday and I like to take part with a few snippets and pieces of flash fiction.
Madame Marielle is never wrong. What did she tell you?
“Just keep an open mind…just keep an open mind!”
I frowned. “C’mon, Judith! You know this is all bullshit, why d’we hafta…”
But she had already passed through the blue velvet curtain. Sighing, I followed, and entered a small darkened room. Probably an old broom closet! I thought, shaking my head.
Candles were everywhere, and a wizened old crone sat before a small, circular table. Her bejewelled, paper-thin hands hovered over a glowing crystal ball. She was made up like an old gypsy; beads and robes and jewels hung from her hunched form, and she favoured Judith with a pouty smile.
“Don’t pay anything until after she’s done,” I muttered in Judith’s ear as I sat down.
Of course, the whole thing was a farce. Literal smoke and mirrors. Ol’ Madame Marielle was probably Betty Henderson, professional con artist who took advantage of grieving families. But I’ll give her this: she definitely put on a good show.
“The flames…I see the flames!” she whispered, her voice husky after years of cigarettes. “You’re there…in the flames!”
“Thought she was showin’ us the future?” I hissed to Judith, who sat wide-eyed and attentive. “This already happened!”
“We…we were trapped in the house…” Judith stammered.
Madame Marielle nodded and her eyes flickered disturbingly so that only her whites showed. She swirled her hands over the crystal ball in a gently, circular motion. “Yes, the flames,” she agreed as though she’d been there. “And a light, the great Passageway to the Other Side…”
“Can I…Can I speak…? I mean….Will I be heard?”
“Jude, c’mon! She’s just…”
Madame Marielle winced as if she’d been scolded by hot water. She lowered her hands with a weary sigh. “He won’t listen; he’s lost, wandering.”
“How convenient,” I rolled my eyes. “C’mon, Jude, let’s get outta here!”
As I stood, glaring at the carnie, Judith wiped a small tear from her eye and handed over a crumpled note with a thank-you.
“Hey! That was a twenty!”
Judith pushed her chair back and rose, her eyes swimming with tears. I was about to admonish her with a tirade of “I told you so’s” when she walked towards me…passed through me…and disappeared through Marielle’s curtain.
“What the hell…?” I stood, mouth agape.
“The light still waits…” Madame Marielle murmured, her glassy eyes staring right at me.
In the glowing crystal ball, I saw the flames. I saw myself, trapped within them. I saw Judith, screaming and hollering.
I saw the light.
What did you think to this week’s writing prompt? Did you submit anything for it? Have you ever written any flash fiction before? I’d love to know what you think to my snippets and writing prompts, so feel free to sign up and let me know what you think below or leave a comment on my Instagram page. You can also follow Gillian Church to take part in her Wednesday Writing Prompt challenge.