I managed to keep this month’s flash fiction under 300 words. I think I must have been cold when I wrote it – maybe have a cup of tea handy for this one.
The air bit into her skin, cold and tingly. She shoved her hands into her pockets, clutching the soft fabric for warmth. Her rubber-soled shoes made little noise against the tiled floor, but when she cleared her throat, its raspiness echoed through the chamber, slithering off the mosaicked walls, whispering through the three arched doorways.
It was an elegant place to wait, but not welcoming, as she’d hoped. When she’d arrived too early for her appointment, the earthy warmth of the nearby café beckoned at first, until the crowded bustle inside scraped her ragged nerves. Anxiety trembled in her fingertips as she clutched the paper cup, burning her tongue by swigging milky coffee too fast.
She’d escaped outside, instinctively following the staircase underground, seeking the enclosed protection of the austere courtyard. It was quiet here. Hidden. She hunched her shoulders, circling back toward the archways, her breath steaming. Craning her neck, she peered into the mirrored ceiling, seeing the distant reflection of her red cheeks, wan eyes. The only other occupant of the room meandered toward the exit, but new footsteps pattered down the staircase. She held in a sigh. It was rare to be alone in a place like this, no matter how much you craved it.
The newcomer approached, an invasively close silhouette in her peripheral vision. Her pulse rocketed. Spine stiffening, feet scuffing backward. The icy air burned her throat as she stared in shock, stomach twisting into a sickening knot.
Pulling the black hood closer around her made-up face, the newcomer tilted her head. That familiar sharp, three-cornered smile lit her up, and her obsidian eyes gleamed. Without haste, utterly confident, she slipped her bony hands into the pockets of her long, shadowy coat. “I knew I’d find you eventually,” she said.