Welcome to November’s photo flash fiction. I really love the pic this month and I hope you enjoy what I did with it. The whole scene kind of popped into my head.
The lake looked dark and sullen, just like my mood. I pulled the hooded sweater tighter around me and stared out at the water. Low clouds hung in the sky and my senses told me it would rain, soon. Great, I could predict the weather. Go me. It certainly didn’t help the situation I found myself in. Telling someone it would soon rain, wasn’t going to solve the problem.
The problem, which happened to be the large mountain looming across the lake, and, truly, that wasn’t the problem. No, my family was the problem. Members of said family did stupid shit and expected someone, namely me, to get them out of the problem that they, themselves, had created.
I had two choices. I could tell my idiot brother to get himself out of his latest situation, which would probably lead to his death. Or, I could take on the job to save his worthless ass and, maybe, die in the bargain. Yeah, neither option was looking real good. Though, if I had to choose, I’d certainly pick me over him any day.
I turned to watch my mother pick her way across the leaf strewn ground in her three inch heels. I forced myself not to move, when all I really wanted to do was turn and walk away. At one time, I’d convinced myself that she loved me and just couldn’t show it. I knew that was a lie. She loved herself and my brother. Really half-brother, since she’d screwed around on my father and gotten pregnant.
“Georgi is scared,” she said. “You have to help him.”
No please, no asking, just an order as if she truly believed I would fall into line. I should fall into line.
“His problem isn’t my problem,” I said. “I warned him about getting involved with the Semenov family, but he didn’t listen. Instead, he not only got involved, but stole from them.”
“He is your brother. How dare you get up onto some kind of high horse and imagine you’re better than him.”
I spun on her. “I am. I’d never put myself into the situations he does. And, if I did, I wouldn’t run to my mommy and expect someone else to take care of them.”
Her hand slashed out and caught me across the face. My cheek stung, but I didn’t press my hand to my face. I didn’t move. I just watched her for a long moment. Finally, I spoke.
“If you hit me again, it will be the last thing you ever do. I promise you that. And, from this moment, he’s not my brother, as you aren’t my mother.” I held up my hand as she opened her mouth to speak. “I will do this one last job because Georgi’s idiocy has put a taint on my reputation in the city. Once I complete it, I am done. I’m done with you and I’m done with him. Never, ever, approach me again. Do you understand?”
“How dare you speak to me like that?”
“I will speak to you any way I wish. Now, do you understand and agree to leave me the hell alone if I do this job? Yes or no.”
“Yes,” she said, through gritted teeth.
“That’s good. Now go and let the Semenov’s know I’ve agreed.”
She turned and without another word left. I knew she would. Georgi was her golden boy. No matter how many fuck ups and how much trouble he got into, he could do no wrong. And, once this job was finished, I was done with him and her. Of course, that was contingent on me living. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone in the Guild willingly attempting to steal from a dragon. I apparently was the first and, possibly, the last.
I stared across the lake at the mountain that was my objective. If I was going to do it, I needed to get ready. No sense putting it off. Turning, I walked back toward my small house, knowing, in my gut, that my life was going to change.