Short story winner of the Microcosms Flash Fiction competition –Microcosms 143– on 9/10/2018. The rules required a story in no more than 300 words in response to any chosen line from a list of prompts. The story had to be written and submitted within a one day deadline. The prompt line chosen for this story was ‘There were so many things to do, to see, to be’ ; (the tense could be changed). ‘Freaks’ was the Judge’s choice as the winner.
Easing the shutter she looked down from the window onto the gas-lit street to check if they had been followed. The dwarf paid the driver and the hansom cab moved off, the horse’s hooves clattering on the cobbles as it disappeared into the damp London night. The street was silent and empty again.
‘Thanks for helping,’ she said as he entered the room.
The dwarf lit the candle on the mantelpiece and then the fire.
‘They may come looking for you. Where will you go?’
‘There are so many things to do, to see, to be. Southampton and from there by steerage to New York. Isn’t that where all the misfits go?’ She was lying. She’d catch the Bucharest train and disappear into the remoter parts to find the family that she’d been snatched from as a child. She felt bad about lying but she knew that they would beat the information out of him eventually. ‘Come with me?’
‘There’s no point. You can conceal your looks but I can’t hide my size no matter where I go.’
The room was warming up. She stripped off her damp coat, hung it over a chair and moved it towards the fire. Then, unpinning her hat, she sat down on the edge of the bed.
‘How can I ever repay you?’
‘Well, there is one thing.’
She smiled knowingly. All men wanted the same thing. But he’d helped her. What was one more after so many? Her hand moved to unfasten the clasp at the collar of her blouse.
He guessed what she was thinking.
‘No, not that. When you get there, when you meet someone you can trust. Send me a photograph. One of you with your wings unfurled. So that I can remember you as you were meant to be.’
©David Lewis Pogson 2018