Another from The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction…
by Tara L Masih series of flash exercises.
“He stole our eye you know?”
“And our tooth, don’t forget the tooth,” the old woman sucked thickly at her lips, rolling them one a top the other, over and over while the other sister patted her hand.
The Graeae sisters had lived in the nursing home for longer than any of the current staff could remember. No one knew how long they had been there, as no record of their arrival could be found. No one visited them, and Andi suspected it had a great deal to do with how cantankerous the two of them were. Some of the other inmates referred to them as Sister Horror and Sister Dread.
Andi got the impression that they may have had another sister, younger, less co-dependent, but the women never could keep their memories straight and Molly had been unable to confirm the truth of it. It had taken her months just to learn to understand their slurred speech caused by the gum filled mouths.
“Oh but how her sister’s chased him, what a laugh it was.”
“Who are you talking about?” Andi asked.
“Whom not ‘who’,” the elder of the sisters snapped at her.
“Whom are you talking about Miss Graeae?”
“What? Where’s my coffee? I like it thick, black and hot.”
“I’m not the tea-lady Miss Graeae, I’m the nurse, remember? I’m hear to give you a check-up and redress your wounds.”
“No need to talk to her like a child missy. Oh! the sea breeze,” the younger sister cut off, taking in a deep breath, “can you smell it in the air sister?” A slight breeze rustled the curtains behind her and Andi caught a faint scent of fish and salt and sunshine and, not for the first time, regretted the need to be even this close to the horrid coast. Just another area she and the sisters differed.
They constantly talked about their love for the sea, the days when they would “frolic in the waves” they would say, bobbing along like birds sitting on the rolling waves. Andi hated everything to do with the ocean and all the scaly monsters that dwelled within and upon it.
“It really was quite rude of the boy you know.”
“I know sister, if he’d asked politely, we might have told him what he needed to know.”
Andi felt her head begin to spin with the rapid changes these two could take with a morning’s conversation.
“But no, young men are in such a rush to know everything.”
“We would have told him, if he’d asked.”
“Just for the fun of watching him go up against Medy,” the two of them cackled at the shared memory, the sound sent shivers down Andi’s spin and she hurried to finish the bandaging.
“He should have given them back, no good to him, the eye and tooth of two old women.”
“What was his name?” Andi asked, not really caring if she got an answer this time.
“Percy,” the elder answered.
“Really? What a coincidence, my fiancé is Percy,” Andi laughed then cut off suddenly as two faces turned slowly towards her. Idly her mind tried to process how empty eye sockets could still glare or how two ancient women could make you feel in danger for your life. The old grandfather clock struck twelve and Andi jumped as she turned towards the sound. When she looked back the women where staring at each other, absorbed in what could have been an intense silent discussion.
Quickly Andi gathered up her things ready to dash out of the room. She was in need of a dose of fresh air and possibly a nice glass of wine over lunch. She’d be glad when she and Percy finally moved away, back to his family’s home.
“Well, I’m all done ladies. See you again next week,” Andi stood up and brushed off her uniform.
“Bring him to visit us,” it was clearly an order, not a request and Andi took a step backwards towards the door to escape from these creepy women.
“I’ll see what I can do,” she said, backing further out of the room before turning on her heel and fleeing. The last thing she intended to do would be to bring Percy to see those two old crones.
Other posts in this series can be found here: