Hi everyone! This is my first time participating in Wednesday Briefs Flash Fiction, and I’m really excited about it. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to make a pretty title card for this week’s offering, but I’ll spend some time doing that later today (along with some headers for other blog posts). I probably went a little subtle with the prompts I chose this week: motorcycle and wings, but I like the way they made themselves known. After you’ve read mine, please check out the other participant’s pieces. I’ll have them all linked after my piece.
I hope you enjoy, and thank you for reading.
Guardian of the Wolves.
By Shelly Schulz
From inside the diner she couldn’t see the brilliant lighting that arced across the sky; the following peal of thunder, she felt. It rattled her bones along with the windows. The overhead lights swung and flickered, and she sent a quick prayer to whoever was listening that the electricity would hold. Aber scrubbed at the petrified smear of jelly on one of the plastic tabletops. Another loud thunder clap sent her under the table, though she told herself it was to pick up the wad of napkins on the floor.
The greeting startled her, and she thumped her head against the underside of the table. Crawling out from under it, she found herself eye level with denim clad kneecaps. A hand appeared in her line of vision, and she took it, feeling the rough scrape of calloused fingertips as the man pulled her to her feet.
“Sorry, I was…” Aber shrugged and showed the wad of napkins. “What can I do for you?” She stepped away from him, and shoved the trash into the pocket of her apron.
“Coffee would be great. Storm’s too bad to ride in.” His voice was warm and rich, low enough that Aber imagined she’d be able to feel the vibrations of his chest when he spoke.
“Take a seat anywhere you like.” The diner was empty except for the two of them. She started for the kitchen. “I’ll be right out with the coffee. Want a piece of pie or anything?” She added as afterthought when he sat on one of the stools at the counter. “The chocolate silk pie is really good.”
“I’m allergic to chocolate.” He spun once, twice on the stool, and Aber had to bite back a grin. The man was well over six feet tall and built like a wall.
“Banana crème then.” She pushed through the double doors, tossing the wad of napkins into the trash, and washed her hands. A large slice of banana crème pie was added to a plate and she carried it out along with a mug and a pitcher of coffee.
He swiveled the stool back and forth, catching himself before he went around completely. His leather jacket was draped over the stool next to him, a motorcycle helmet on the other side. He spun too hard, his arms cording with the effort to keep from going full circle. His forearms were tattooed, the faded ink blending at times with sun kissed skin. He was nice enough to look at, she thought as she set the pie down in front of him. His nose was crooked like he had broken it a couple times, his eyes were hazel ringed with gold, but the feature she couldn’t take her eyes off of was his mouth. Full, sensual and completely out of place on a man who was taking boyish glee in the fact that the stupid stool he sat on spun.
Thunder clapped again, the lights actually going out for a few seconds before buzzing back to life. Her hand shook slightly as she poured the coffee into the mug. “Sorry, I don’t like the storms.”
“My Gran used to tell me stories that the thunder was because God ate a bunch of beans and had gas.” He said bringing a massive forkful of pie to his mouth. He winked at her and swallowed before taking another bite of pie.
She bit her lower lip, trying not to laugh at the statement, and failed. “My dad is a man of science. He would sit up with me and tell me that it was just the expansion of the air due to the electrical charge of the lightning.”
“I like my Gran’s theory better. It’s got a certain romanticism.”
“Trust a man to think farts are romantic.” She tipped more coffee into his mug. His laugh was big and bold, she wanted to wrap herself up in the sound.
“What about you Aber? Are you a romantic or a woman of science?” It took her a moment to remember that she had a name tag pinned to her t-shirt.
“A scientist,” She replied. “I’m doing research on the large predator species of the Pacific Northwest. The grant money covers my equipment and house, but doesn’t exactly help with anything else.”
“Any particular focus?” He finished off the pie, and wiped his mouth with a napkin. The tattoos moved and rippled with the action.
“Wolves mainly. What is your tattoo of?”
“Angel wings.” He put his elbows together, forearms facing her. The faded lines formed feathery wings. She almost reached out to trace along one of the lines but pulled her hand back.
A tremendous clap of thunder rattled the building once more. An electric buzz filled the diner before it plunged into darkness. Aber clutched at the counter, the hard surface grounding her as she squinted into the near tangible darkness. “Don’t leave.” The words were out of her mouth before she could stop them.
“I’m not going to. I’m just locking the door.” She could hear him moving around, and the metallic click of the lock sliding into place. “We’ll wait out the storm here. It’s not safe on the bike, and I’m not going to leave you by yourself.”
She fumbled for her phone, and turned on the flashlight app, which previously she thought was useless. The light was bright enough to illuminate a few feet around her. “Well then,” she said, willing her voice to stay steady. “Since we’re stuck here why don’t you tell me your name.”
“Colt Hunter,” He said. In the dim light she could see him open the pastry case and remove two plates. He set one in front of her and kept the other to himself. “Cherry pie and the ambiance of a cell phone glow. Quite romantic, don’t you think?”
Aber rolled her eyes at that, but couldn’t stop the smile that came to her lips.
Be sure to come back next week for the next brief.
Here are the other Wednesday Briefs for you to visit and check out! Share some love.