Well, for the last time, I share my husband’s painting, and a little something of my own. As promised, I am sharing my flash fiction piece inspired by the painting. I hope you like it. It’s just for fun. Please return to my blog next week as I resume my writing wins and woes. I’m going to post all my stats for the month. Happy Good Friday and Happy Easter to all! Enjoy. Here is my story.
By Shari L Klase
“Cecily, you’re making me hot just looking at you. Take off that robe, would you?”
Cecily looked disturbed. “I told you no. I’m not hot and it’s important for me to keep it on. I told you before.”
Robert rolled his eyes. “I thought it was kind of funny in the beginning, but now, I’m honestly beginning to wonder if you’re crazy, or maybe you’re in some sort of Satanic club or something.”
“I’m not in any weird club. I just like to wear it, okay? What’s your prob? You’re being all judgmental.”
“Okay, okay. I’ll let it go. It doesn’t matter anyway.” Robert picked up his book and stood to his feet. “I really gotta get to class. I’m sorry I got all uptight about the robe. I mean Muslims wear robes as a part of their religion and I’m very respectful of that. I mean, if it’s part of your religion…”
Cecily smiled. “It’s not a part of my religion, Robert. I just need to wear it, okay? If you did your homework, you’d know that Muslim women wear all kinds of coverings, a lot more than I do. They have hijabs, niqabs, burqas, abayas…”
“How come you know all that stuff? You’re like a walking encyclopedia.”
“It’s my business to know that stuff, that’s all. I like to know things.”
Robert glanced at his cell phone. He grimaced. “Well, I’m late again. Don’t you have class?”
“Not today. I have a meeting.”
“Oh, one of your mysterious meetings. I think you’re a secret agent or something.”
Cecily laughed. “Yeah, something like that.”
Robert grabbed his laptop bag and took off through the library in a run. Cecily watched him go thoughtfully. Robert wasn’t the first person who asked her about her cloak. She frowned. She hated fielding questions about it and decided from the beginning that she would never offer any reason for wearing it. Offering information always led to more questions and more information. That was a slippery slope.
She put down her book on world cultures. It was interesting, but it was more valuable to speak to people instead of just reading books. Authors of books sometimes fabricated facts to match their agendas. Besides, it was time for Cecily’s meeting with Jada.
With her red cloak hugging her tightly and the hood folded over her head, Jada stood out like a sore thumb, sitting on the park bench. Cecily frowned. They were only to wear the hood when necessary, but Jada was an isolationist. She liked her privacy and the hood offered her exclusivity. Cecily sat down beside her.
“What’s up?” Cecily asked.
“Candlelight tonight at eight o’clock,” Jada replied.
“Regeneration isn’t scheduled for two days.”
“That no longer works. There’s a meteor shower.”
“But Friday nights are dangerous. There are too many intolerables and inebriates around. Sunday is better. It’s quieter and nobody thinks anything of our cloaks.”
Jada shook her head. “Can’t be done. Has to be done tonight.”
Cecily sighed. “All right, but regeneration will have to be shortened to twenty minutes.”
“That will give us only twenty days,” Jada replied.
“That can’t be helped either.”
Cecily and Jada were attracting attention. Two men in business suits were staring at them. Cecily looked over, smiled and waved. It was always better to appear friendly. The men looked uncomfortable and turned away.
“I have to go,” Cecily said. “See you tonight.”
That night at eight o’clock Cecily hurried to the center of town. Tall buildings and the cover of darkness masked the dark red cloaks as each moved in the same direction Cecily traveled. Some of the cloaked held crosses. Because their cloaks were red, crosses were used to counteract the idea of evil that their garments symbolized to some of the intolerables. All of the cloaked held candles. Candles were necessary for regeneration.
Cecily joined the others nervously. She found Jada among the others. “This was a bad idea. There’s too many people out tonight.”
Jada smiled. “Relax. You worry too much. We’ve never had a problem before.”
The cloaked all looked to each other, and then they closed their eyes simultaneous in meditation; all but Cecily. From the darkness, she saw Robert and his companion. They were laughing and joking until they saw the gathering.
“What the…?” Robert’s companion asked.
“Hey, I’ve seen those cloaks before,” Robert remarked. It was then that he spotted Cecily. He hurried toward her.
“Cecily, what is this? You said you weren’t in some kind of weird, religious group.”
Cecily shifted uncomfortably. “I’m not. It’s just a meeting.”
“A meeting? What kind of a meeting? You all have candles, red cloaks and crosses. Cecily, if you’re in some kind of a cult, I want to know.” He took hold of her shoulders. Cecily could smell the strong aroma of whiskey on his breath.
“It’s not a cult, Robert. Please, we won’t be here long,” and she pulled away from him.
“No, I want to know.” He grabbed her cloak with bravado and whipped it from her body. In an instant Cecily’s girlish form changed to a sleek, greyish alien with bright green eyes. Her skin was translucent and seal-like.
She crumbled to the ground. “Robert, no,” she murmured, before she disappeared.
“We have been decloaked,” Jada said. In a moment they all were beamed aboard the spaceship hovering high in the sky, behind the moon and out of sight of passersby.
Robert and his companion stood there dazed for a moment. Then they continued on their way, laughing and joking. They didn’t remember anything that happened in the last few minutes, nor would he ever remember Cecily or her red cloak.