Friday, February 24, 2012

Flash Fiction Challenge - Fatherly Concern

My first attempt at one of Chuck Wendig's weekly flash fiction challenges. You can find the challenge here.


The moment she stepped into the kitchen, Violet knew something was wrong. It was something about the stiffness of her father's shoulders as he leaned into the bread bin in the fridge, and the way he hoisted the wholemeal loaf out and dumped it on the counter, before snatching up the butter from the shelf in his right hand and batting the fridge door shut with it. Of course, her father could be a bit heavy-handed with things sometimes, but this was a bit more than that. He was annoyed about something. For a moment, she considered just taking a peek inside his head to find out what, but that would be rude.

He must have felt her eyes on him, or heard her breathing or something because he seemed to deflate slightly, forced himself to calm down as he worked at the tangle of tape sealing the bread in its wrapper, and glanced over his shoulder as he did so. His eyes flicked from her, to something on the table, then back as he smiled at her in a strained, sickly manner, "Good morning Violet."

As he returned to the task of unwrapping the bread, Violet looked down at the table to see what he had been looking at. It was the morning edition of the local daily newspaper, the Worleigh Times. The front page story bore the headline 'Mentalista Rescues Trapped Tenants'. Next to the article was a photograph of a costumed girl her own age, floating in the air, waving to fire-fighters on the ground, a blackened building in the background. Violet kept her expression controlled, but inside it felt as if the bottom had just dropped out of her stomach. She looked back over to her dad, smiling as she replied, "Morning dad."

"Overslept again?" He said as he unwrapped the bread, and flopped two brown slices onto the cutting board, pulling a butter knife out of the drawer.

"Yeah." Violet grinned, trying to stay casual as she crossed over to the counter and took a couple of slices, moving around to the other side and loading them into the toaster.

"Another late night?" He flipped the lid off the butter, and started scooping some out with the edge of his knife.

She shoved the lever down on the toaster, "Yeah. Just working on my homework assignments."

"Homework, huh?" The surface of the bread tore ever so slightly, as he spread the butter a bit too thick. He grimaced, but she wasn't sure it was because of the bread.

Maybe it won’t hurt just to take a peek? She thought as she picked up a mug and started filling it from the coffee jug.

'God, I hope that's true, but...'

Violet was so distracted reading his mind that she almost overfilled her mug. She shook herself and stopped pouring.

Her father noticed this and shook his head. Maybe he thought she was just overtired. She knew he suspected something, though. He stretched across to open the fridge and pull out the bag of turkey slices. "Sometimes, I worry that you work yourself too hard."

She sighed, turning around to lean against the counter, glancing sideways at him as he laid some strips of turkey on one of the slices. "You know, most fathers would be proud of their kids for working hard."

'Yeah...well, that depends on what their kids are working hard at.'

He shrugged, turning away to get some lettuce from the fridge. "I just worry about you, that's all."

"Okay. Come on. Something's got you worked up, what is it?"

Her father dumped the lettuce onto the counter, his eyes flicking over to the newspaper again. When she followed his gaze this time, she pretended it was the first time she'd seen the paper, and walked over to give it a look. "Wow. That Mentalista's really brave, huh?"

"She's the same age as you, Violet." Her father said as he started chopping bits of lettuce on the cutting board,

"She's just a kid."

'And she has your smile.'

Violet glanced at the picture; there was a smile on her face. But he couldn't possibly recognise her just from that, could he? Weird. She set the paper aside, shrugging her shoulders, taking a sip of her coffee, "So?"

"So," He set the knife down and looked over at her, "she should be enjoying her life, not flying around saving people."

"At least she's doing some good." Violet said, getting a bit defensive now, "Most of the new metas have decided it's more fun to use their powers for profit or some twisted notion of fun!" She shuddered just thinking about some of the ones she'd fought. "So right now this town needs all the heroes it can get!"

Her toast popped out of the toaster, but she didn't move, pinned by her father’s measuring gaze. He was certain now; she didn't even need telepathy to be able to tell. There was something else in that look though. He seemed to nod to himself and sigh. He put the chopped lettuce on the bread and covered it with the other slice, before cutting it down the middle.

"I suppose you have a point, it still doesn't seem right though."

"No.” She agreed tiredly, “There's nothing right about it."

Her father placed the sandwich slices in a small plastic box, along with some yoghurt and an apple, sliding it across the counter, "You'd better get moving. You're going to be late."

She took a look at her watch and groaned, setting her mug on the table, grabbing the dry toast from the toaster and the lunchbox from the counter before darting for the door. She held the toast in her mouth as she slung on her jacket and backpack, then opened the door.

"Gotta fly, see you later!" She yelled.

"Bye...and take care."

"Will do!" And then, after checking that no one could see, she flew.

1 comment:

  1. Great characters here, especially love the "gotta fly" in the context that she then does literally fly.