Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Draw

This is my response to the EatSleepWrite-Flash it Friday prompt.  

"Draw two cards." Caught by surprise, Casey stopped on her trip back to the plane's galley. The man hadn't spoken but three words since he'd boarded, those being yes, pertaining to the lunch offering, and thank you when she removed the empty tray.

"Excuse me?" As she waited for him to repeat his question she tried to place his age. He wore a black overcoat and a worn black bowler, dark glasses covered the top half of his pale face. The only visible color was the blood red of a thin tie.

"Draw two cards." He fanned the deck before her.

"Is this a magic trick?" She smiled as an indecipherable unease crept through her shoulders.

"Perhaps." His thin lips attempted a smile in return.

She glanced around the cabin, looking for a valid excuse to flee. She could feel his unseen eyes staring into hers. Holding her breath, she tugged two cards from the deck.

"And what have you drawn?"

Casey wrenched her gaze from the reflection of her own eyes in his dark glasses to study her cards. "A pair of aces."

His brows appeared above the dark frames. "A pair of aces? How unusual."

With increasing discomfort, Casey snapped out, "Yes, a diamond and a spade. So did I win?"

"Perhaps. It seems you have a decision to make, my dear. Riches or death."

She thrust the cards at him, "No, no I don't." 

He grasped her hands and wrapped them around the pair, "No, my dear, these are yours. You needn't decide now, but eventually you must." He maintained the contact for several minutes, still holding her gaze with his unseen stare.

The call of "Stewardess!" from several seats forward broke the spell. Casey pulled away roughly, tucking the cards in her pocket unconsciously.

She avoided him the rest of the routine flight. Comfort didn't return until the flight ended and her feet touched the tarmac.

She hadn't expected it to be her last day at work. Cost cuts and low seniority left her unemployed.

Another day in a month of days looking for work. Casey had skipped breakfast, and lunch was probably going to be one more cup of ramen noodles. She was blocks from her apartment when the sky opened up, soaking her in seconds.

The closest shelter was a school bus parked along a desolate side street. The door was open, she hesitated only a moment before hopping up the steps. She dropped into the first seat wringing out her hair as her clothes shed puddles around her waterlogged shoes. She leaned back, depressed and exhausted, she drifted into an uncomfortable sleep.

She woke to the sound of the doors closing with a hydraulic hiss. "Oh, I'm so sorry!" she sputtered, jumping from her seat.

"No problem, my dear." The driver turned his sun glassed face her way, "It is time to make your decision." 

Casey fell back to the seat as he started the engine and rolled away from the curb.


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