Two Seats

Two seats were vacant

Wednesday has come around again and I’m happy to present this week’s flash fiction.

The Pointless Axe was overfull. Overfull of noise. Of bodies. Silithie grimace, wrinkling her nose. And especially smells. The scents Rotten food, spilled drink, and unwashed bodies was aided by too infrequent breezes.

Closing her eyes, Silithie cut off the gleam tavern’s namesake, a golden axe that couldn’t chop a thing. Silithie gathered her hair as if trying to encourage a breeze and turned her head. Opening her eyes, she focused on the corner table with two vacant seats.

All night those approached were backed off by glances from the occupants. Their casual command and presence were bothersome. Nothing physical stood out about them, but they shouldn’t have been able to pull off such unspoken power in the roughness of the Stacks. At least not power to rival Silithie’s circle.

Her skin prickled as a breeze touched her neck and golden light dazzled her eyes. Gasping, Silithie shoved away from the counter. The axe bit the wood, a stranger grinned at her beyond the haft.

She’d have to reappraise her evaluation of the axe. Inclining her head, Silithie dove into the crowd. The ruckus’ volume increased as she elbowed her way to the door. Diving into the night, she glanced but no one followed yet and she wasn’t waiting for them to.

She broke into a run along paths she’d snaked through her whole life, bound for the circle’s halls. Perhaps one of her watchers’ luck had been than she her own. But luck blind thieves were dead thieves.

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