The Charmed Bracelet: A Short Story

Zasha wanders in a store in search of trinkets, and walks out with something wickedly lucky. 

The day was delightfully silver. That was attributed to Zasha’s day of binge-watching her favorite black and white horror films on Netflix. The week of tedious office work had her relishing in this afternoon set aside for some classic terror. But like the tasks on her to-do lists and sticky notes, something nagged her.

Zasha was halfway into the fourth film of the day, Nosferatu, when she remembered she’d been meaning to drop in Carmen’s Knick-Knacks. The deserted marathon may not forgive her, but her shelf of eclectic collectibles would thank her for the newbies. She changed into denim shorts and her lovingly worn Anthrax t-shirt, and she dashed out of the apartment.

Outside, heavy leaden clouds mocked her indoor surroundings, giving the heat even more mugginess. She descended the steps, and headed to the parking lot. And there she was: Zasha’s little battered Malibu parked between some new-looking SUVs. Her pre-owned ride may have needed a paint job, it may have been beat-up, but at least the minty air freshener did the knockabout some good as she hopped in.

The mall was bustling with Saturday shoppers. As Zasha pressed forward with old school Benediction blasting in her headphones, she nervously tied her dark dreads into a ponytail. Situations like these made Zasha very self-aware, leading her irrational self-grooming; she tried to swallow the ill-feelings and replace them with healthy, rational observations.

Out of the distant wave of heads in front of her, she spotted a towering figure in a khaki trench coat—collar up and topped with a black baseball cap. It wouldn’t have caught her eye if: (A) It hadn’t been a scorcher outside, and (B) the figure didn’t have its head turned directly toward her. The episode was nauseating. Zasha darted in the nearest store, Chaser Shoe Dept., to let him or her (or whatever that was) pass on by. With her heart pounding, she browsed the shelves, taking in the scent of leather footwear. She decided she’d scanned enough shelves and left and prepared to face whatever was out there.

Stay tuned for part II.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Settling Sepia

The stretch of marigold sky, tones away from a natural sunlit land, was too much to take. The scene seemed to reach into nothingness, without the bustle of life. Feliciti tried to stomach this bizarre place; it looked like it should only exist in some freakish animation. For what seemed like hours, she sat on a hill and watched the strangely hued clouds peek through dozens of black tree branches—curling playfully. As Feliciti began to subconsciously feel relief, the ground suddenly collapsed beneath and sent her plummeting into some lightless space. The scene soon became clear: She was enclosed in a cube and was floating in neck-high water. Panic pounded in her gut, rising to her throat.

While rapidly gulping air, Feliciti’s eyes sprang open and visions of the odd sequences lingered in the bedroom. The illuminated blinds announced dawn; her pounding heart told her she had, once more, escaped that dreadful haze; this tallied the nineteenth, no, twentieth time the dream had recurred. Although she had initially brushed it off as just another irritating product of imagination, this time the mystery undoubtedly began to weigh heavily on her. She needed explanations, but it would have to be placed second to her daily routine.

Feliciti loathed deadly silence as much as she hated disorganization; she grabbed the remote and turned to the local news. She, then, sleepily headed to the bathroom. Ordinarily she’d felt indifferent to getting on with the day, but the burden of the questionable dream coated a new shade on her will. After running through the regimen she returned to her room. Terror froze her in the middle of the floor; bold font was sprawled across bright yellow font. She dropped the neatly folded blouse that she was about to don. The image instantly reminded her of the dream; ten seconds later, the logo playfully bounced, swirled and vanished as ads do.  Her thudding heart slowly returned to a normal pace; Feliciti couldn’t fight the urge to wonder if the rest of the day would be average.

*This is part one of “Settling Sepia”; be sure to stay posted for the next installment.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.