Forthcoming: Past Life

Like I’ve said during my Friday posts: I’ve been busy at work planning for Summer Reading. What does that mean? It means I don’t have a lot of time to write–at least, not write chapters in my current stories that I think are up to the quality they should be. And yet it is story day on the schedule, so… quite a dilemma. But then I thought it might be fun to try my hand at some “flash fiction.” It would be a good writing exercise for me and still (hopefully) provide an enjoyable read. So I found a prompt and challenged myself to write that story in only 500 words or less.

Additional note: This one is a little bit over 500 words. (I think it hits about 555… which is oddly satisfying. In accordance with the prompt, this some backstory for Chay from Forthcoming. Haven’t read that one? It starts here.)

Prompt: A prequel moment from a story you’ve already written.

“Who were you?”

            Chay hadn’t expected his new partner to speak. The previous silence in the apartment had suited him.

But apparently his partner didn’t share the same preference.

            But the apartment’s silence had suited him. 

            His partner moved toward him, sitting beside him on the couch.  Chay instantly tensed.  He wasn’t exactly the “social type,” but it seemed as though The Department had partnered him up with a real talker.


            “You’re not very talkative, are you?”

            Chay didn’t respond–that should be answer enough.

            Somehow that didn’t stop the other man from continuing. “If you’re that concerned about rules, you’ve joined the wrong organization.”  Chay felt the other man lean back, as though in contemplation. “I know The Department says we should forget about… before… but who can really forget?”

            “I would like to,” was all Chay replied. He’d hoped his bluntness would send a clear message: No more talking.

            But no–this was the most persistent person Chay had ever met.

            “Well, what’s your name now?” 

            Chay looked up. This question was simpler, safer.  “Chay.”

            His partner considered it, his lips twitching slightly.  “Interesting choice.”  Chay couldn’t help but notice how his eyes seemed to have a permanent sparkle to them.  In fact, this was the closest that Chay had ever been to his partner. Before now, he’d only ever seen him from a distance.  He was a fairly young man, though older than the barely 20-year old Chay.

The Department had insisted upon pairing him with a veteran, but he looked more inexperienced than Chay did.  In fact, his partner had a very adolescent quality.  He had dark hair, which fell slightly below his ears and limbs that seemed to need constant movement in order to be happy.

            “So what was your name before?  It must’ve been something boring for you to pick a name like Chay.”

            Perhaps he was more experienced than Chay had given him credit. He’d worked the conversation back to his initial purpose:  to find out Chay’s past.

            Good luck with that.

            His partner frowned as Chay did nothing more than stare resolutely at him.

            “Fine, keep your secrets,” he shrugged, and in an instant, his frown was replaced with a crooked smile.

            Chay didn’t respond. This good-natured personality was going to get on his nerves quite quickly.

            He was glad when his partner left to begin reading a file that Chay wasn’t permitted to read. (Which was the worst; The Department had sought Chay, and yet they were treating him as though he was a child.) So Chay was more than surprised when his partner returned and held the file under his nose. “Wanna read?”

            Chay knew his eyes had widened.  His partner was ignoring–no, blatantly disobeying–a direct order from The Department.

            And he didn’t seem the least bit worried.

            “I think The Department has the habit of underestimating people,” he explained.  “In fact, I think knowledge is power, and power is what we need against a person like Cyrus Stokes.”

            “Well, technically, I can’t say anything.” Another one of those stupid grins.

            “Give me the file,” Chay spat, snatching it and beginning to read greedily.

            His partner laughed. “I think we’re going to get along, Chay.”

            Chay didn’t respond, but he had to admit–his partner, he supposed, could have been worse.

Copyright Sarah Davidson 2021

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