My first e-book in over a year will be available on August 24, 2010. Once Upon a December Nightmare is a horror short story. In honor of my e-book, I'm using August's Flash Fiction Fridays to introduce everyone to the characters. Today's Flash Fiction Fridays introduces Mary and Cassie. Enjoy!
"I can't believe you're leaving me, Cassie."
"I'll be back for Christmases and summers. It's four years of college, Mary." Cassie shifted on the folding lawn chair and glanced over to her best friend Mary. "We'll keep in touch." She smiled and lay back down. "It's not like you'll never see me again."
"I know. It won't be the same, though." Mary sighed and placed her arms under her head. "We won't be able to laze around and star-gaze or play Super Mario Brothers or anything like we used to."
"That's the price we pay for growing up." Cassie gasped. "Look! A shooting star!"
"I see it. How many does that make?"
"I think four, or maybe it was five." Cassie shrugged. The two friends grew silent.
"Ten years," Mary whispered.
"We've been friends for ten years."
"Yes, we have." Cassie nodded. "I couldn't have a better friend than you, Mary. No one else has stuck by me and all my weirdness for all these years."
"Oh, Cassie, you aren't weird."
"Nope, just a little different. Rather misunderstood." Mary reached over and punched her in the arm. "Then again, I don't think we're all that different."
"Nope, we aren't." Cassie laughed. "Who wants to be normal anyway?"
"Not me." Mary's laughter followed. "There's another one."
"I like the shooting stars. They're a lot like life. If you blink, you miss them. If you do happen to see them, they are the brightest and most extraordinary things."
"Yeah, I can see that." Mary sighed.
"Yeah." Cassie raised her finger to the sky and played dot-to-dot with the stars. "You know, friend, some of these stars are already dead and gone before their light reaches us. It's a strange celestial cemetery we're staring at."
"Maybe you are odd, Cassie," Mary said, looking at her friend. Her tone held a hint of teasing.
"Yeah, maybe." Cassie grinned. "But, you still love me."
"Of course." The two friends smiled at each other before continuing to gaze up at the summer sky.
Fireflies flickered in and out of the grass, and a gentle breeze rustled the leaves. In the distance, a dog barked, and a car drove along the road. Crickets and tree frogs chirruped.
"I'm going to miss you, Mary."
"I'll miss you too. It's only for a few months at a time. We have email and the phone," Mary reminded Cassie.
"I know. Four years does seem like a long time."
"Yeah, it does." Mary shivered as a cooler wind brushed against them. "Want to go play Mario Brothers?"
"Sure, let's go save the princess."