Friday, January 11, 2013

Flashback Friday: Risa

Short Story: Risa

Doctor's note: This was written back in 2009 and contains five parts. I have a few older stories within the silicone pieces of this electric box, hence the beginning of this spasmodically released event entitled "Flashback Friday". Feel free to amuse yourself with the knowledge that I have published the story without reading it again. This is due to the fact that I will, most likely, impulsively correct the many errors present. I wish to keep it as such, otherwise it would not be "Flashback Friday", but "Fix It Friday".
Part I

  Risa tended the fire. It was huge, the flames spurted out from the giant alcove that imprisoned it, like a giant fireplace. The size of a room, this fire was to be kept going every day by Risa. In a bare room with just a trash-bin of coal and wood, she used a huge shovel to plunk in the black stones. The flames devoured them rapidly and she had to feed them every day. This was her job, and she liked it very much. Soot covers your skin from your face all the way to your feet, especially when all you have on is a dress and apron. Ironically, she had been given a white apron, which had obviously no longer retained it’s color. The fire roared as Risa shoved more coal in the enormous mouth, eager for more. She then picked up branches of wood with her frail arms and dumped that in too. Red, orange and a hint of blue swirled with satisfaction.

  An orange glow lit the corners of the room, but the rest was dark. Risa wiped her forehead. That was enough, the fire would last about one hour so she would have time for other occupations. This was important, she was an essential part of the community now: she tended the fire. There was a knock at the door. Risa’s bare feet padded on the floor when she ran to open it.

“Hey Risa! Are you finished or what?” Skel asked.

“Mhm yeah,” she answered slowly. Tatch was also with him which , honestly looked strange. Skel was sort of skinny, his shirt hung loose on his shoulders and he had to tie a belt around his shorts to keep them from slipping down. But Thatch, well he was… small but big boned. At least that’s what he said he was…Well, he wasn’t really fat or anything, just sort of padded.

  She took a rag and wiped her face, then followed Thatch and Skel outside. Through the long corridors of the tower, they walked hastily. Now what?

  Thatch said he was going to sell his hat and make 30€ off it. They were in Paris, 2022, who would buy a hat for 30€? Thatch had been saying he would sell that hat ever since Risa knew him. Actually, Risa had met him first. He tended the fire before her. He had stopped once he figured he didn’t need a job. That was last fall and Thatch was now 14, still without a job. He always had the feeling something good would happen to him, a bit like Risa, so it didn’t matter wether or not he had a place to sleep, or even something to eat that day…it would come sooner or later.

  Risa stretched out her aching arms towards the grey sky. November, 2022. It was already unnaturally cold but the rain just hadn’t come yet. On Rue Faubourg St Antoine were many cheap shops and restaurants. The air was heavy with the smell (or rather stink) of gasoline and fried food. Thatch and Risa were talking non stop while Skel, the oldest of the two by a year, took the lead. Her toes were freezing as well as her bare legs.

“ If you find me some shoes, I’ll trade you these!” Thatch exclaimed pointing to his boots. They had just passed by a merchant selling a heap of junk. Several pairs of old shoes were piled on top of moth infested sweaters and stained t-shirts. Risa ran back and swiftly, with a rapid gesture, snatched them right before the merchant’s eyes.

“Oh shit!” he shouted suddenly realizing he had been robbed. He made the horrible mistake of chasing after the young girl who was already miles away, her friends lagging behind her. If  there was anything Risa was good at, it was running. He left his stall unguarded, giving people the occasion to brawl over free items.

“Get back here! If I see you again - - I do remember your face! You-“ he stopped suddenly and looked back at his stall realizing an enormous crowd was picking at his belongings. By the time he had reached them, half of his stuff was gone. Consumed with fury, he began to desperately pull everyone away, but there were so many, he just couldn’t manage them all. The merchant began to get frustrated and before anyone knew it, there was a fight.

  It was only a few minutes before the entire street was involved. It was as if all the inhabitants despair had erupted. It grew more and more violent over the minutes. Soon there were knives, skewers and any other available weapon involved.

Risa, Thatch and Skel were watching the scene from above. Perched atop the roof of a run down building, they stared at the scene with as much interest as a newborn discovering his hands for the first time. That’s when something happened that caught there attention even more. A mother’s shriek when she loses her child is probably louder than any other cry in the world.

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