Okay, Furious Fiction May is another Gretchen story. But hey, we all like Gretchen, so that’s cool, yeah? The criteria for this month was;
- Each story’s first word had to be FIVE.
- Each story had to include something being replaced.
- Each story had to include the phrase A/THE SILVER LINING
“Five?” Nora pushed her specs up her nose and frowned at Gretchen. “Whaddya need five lengths of Ash for?”
Gretchen rolled her eyes and nodded to the merchant who turned to locate her order. She wished Nora would have gone about her own business and not stuck her nose in. “It’s about time I replace my broom.”
Nora stood frozen for a moment, her eyebrows furrowed. “And you plan on burning yours with five expensive lumps of wood?”
“I’m going to enchant the next one myself.” Gretchen lifted her chin, ready for the ridicule.
Nora leaned over the counter, bursting out in cackling. Gretchen pressed her lips together and waited for the laughter to subside.
“You,” Nora snorted. “Are planning on enchanting your own broom?”
“Who says I can’t?” Gretchen folded her arms. “Witches do it all the time. They say the broom is always better when the connection is personal.”
“Gretchen,” Nora shook her head. “You couldn’t enchant your way out of a paper bag. And ash? Nobody uses ash anymore. What you want is yew. Got a good bit of flex to it and—”
“Us Murkwood’s ride on ash,” Gretchen said. At least, that’s what her spell book had called for, and she wasn’t going to tempt fate by using anything different.
“Do you know how dangerous this is?” Nora tried to school her face to calm. “Get this wrong and you could take a tumble from a significant height.”
“Well, that’s a fifty-fifty proposition most days for me. Besides, I’ve been practicing.”
“You mean that chair at The Salt and Bog? It’s been scooting around the taproom for a full week now. I’m surprised Jurgen hasn’t used it for kindling.”
Gretchen was pretty sure he’d tried, but the chair was smart enough to keep its distance while Jurgen was holding an axe. It was one of her first attempts, and she’d had a few too many ales before she’d decided it was a good idea. There was a silver lining, though. The chair had taken it upon itself to deliver sharp kicks to the shins when patrons got out of hand.
“Well, I’m doing it. There’s nothing you can say that’ll stop me.”
The merchant strode back into view hefting her order. Gretchen paid the man in gold and strapped the timber to her broom, keeping a good hold on it before her vehicle got any ideas.
“You still haven’t told me why you need five.” Nora fell into step with her as they wound their way through the marketplace.
“I’m not stupid. I know there’s a good chance I’ll turn the first four into swizzle sticks.”
Nora chuckled, and Gretchen’s mouth twisted in a wry smile. She didn’t need to admit she’d been to see the merchant every day this week. She was amassing an impressive collection of swizzle sticks.
And Furious Fiction May marks my…
12th consecutive entry to the competition. A whole year of stories. Didn’t miss one of them. So there’s no excuses. Sign up to get the prompts delivered to your inbox at The Australian Writers Centre website here.
Or to check out my other entries, they are all in one spot on my Short Stories page.