Fate and Flames


I sat stiff-backed at the kitchen table, staring out at the street and nursing my cold cup of coffee. Our paperboy was never late. I suppose it’s one of the perks of working for Future news corp. Or cons, depending on your work ethic. There’s no excuse for tardiness when you deliver predictions for a living. As the clock ticked down the last few seconds, I heard the rhythmic click of a bike chain approach. At 6.02am, the boy flew past and a soft thump announced the arrival of my paper. I caught my shoulder on the kitchen door frame and almost slid the entire length of the hall on my ass. Smooth Tanya, let’s hope your assigned soul mate isn’t looking for grace and poise.

My hands shook as I lifted the folded newspaper from the stoop. I’m not emotionally ready for this. I thumbed my way to page 8. At the top, a glistening banner danced and sang happy birthday. I wished it wouldn’t. I scanned the double spread filled with the names of people who shared my date of birth. When I finally reached my name, my jaw dropped, and my eyes widened. There had to have been some mistake. Hands still gripping the paper so tightly it began to tear at the fold, I lifted my gaze and locked eyes with my schoolyard tormented. Her eyes burned red and she chewed her gum so viciously that I’m surprised her jaw didn’t lock up. The paper in her hand burst into flames. She swung around, her red hair smouldering at the ends and slammed the door so violently that the plaster above it cracked. Dust drifted down to mix with the pile of ashes she left behind.

I sat back at the kitchen table in such a haze that I didn’t notice Alice until she placed a fresh cup of coffee in front of me.

“So?”

I slid the paper across the table without looking up. Alice shorted and let out an involuntary laugh before dropping the paper and covering her mouth with her hands.

“Camilla? Seriously?”

I let out a sigh and slid down until my forehead rested on the table.

“No. It’s a miss-print. Is hers the same?”

I pushed myself from my seat and lifted the latch on the window. A cool summer breeze carried Camilla’s screams into the room.

“Damn. Guess so.”

I could only nod as I forced the window closed.

“Go and get dressed then.”

“Why?”

“Well, we’re either going to confront your crazy destiny or to the shelter to start your cat collection. Either way, I’d wear something… durable.”


By Stacey Potter


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