This story was for a 750 word challenge and for the above picture by photographer Markus Lang.
This story also features in my A Compendium of Characters book on Amazon.
It was written exactly one year ago and I reshare it for Fandango’s Flashback Friday — November 6
Enjoy my friends.
“Ugh, it never rains anymore- it bloody monsoons!” Seb raised the collar of his black wool peacoat against the deluge and stepped out of the office to head home. His shiny black shoes splashed the puddles filling dips in the tarmacadam surface. At 4 PM many people were beginning to head home from work. Seb had to avoid umbrellas that threatened to remove his eyes, and busses out to drown him with tidal waves of water they were spraying off the road. He was glad to turn off the high-street. It was then as he moved beneath the line of autumnal beeches, he saw it. A leaf that was no leaf, hitting the floor. Had it been a real leaf it would have floated gently from the gabardine coat worn by the lady with the yellow umbrella. This one dropped fast, bounced off her high heel and landed heavily.
Seb was intrigued, his pace quickened and he stooped in mid-stride to retrieve the object from the wet, black pavement. The object was the daintiest leaf made of gold and copper. Its pin identified it as a lapel badge. The weight told him it was expensive. Lifting his eyes, he saw the lady cross the road behind a red double-decker bus. He stepped from the path to follow her. A horn blared, he stumbled back with his heart thrumming in his chest. He raised an apologetic hand and sucked in a deep breath.
“Idiot! You can’t return it if you get mown down,” he chastised himself as he made safer passage across the busy road. Passing a quiet café, he caught up with the lady. “Excuse me. May I step into your shelter? I have something to return to you.”
The lady slowed her step, blinked and nodded to him. “Sure.”
Seb saw she was not too dissimilar in age to his twenty-five years. She had polished blonde bangs and immaculate makeup framing her ruby lips and sapphire eyes. “Thank you, I’m Sebastian.”
“Good afternoon, Sebastian. I’m Felicity, what have I lost?” she asked her voice soft, alluring.
“I- erm. Yeah, sorry…” Seb mentally shook himself. “You dropped your leaf.” He revealed it upon his palm for her.
“Oh, that’s my Betula Pendula pin. Thank you for returning it to me.” Felicity gave a charming smile as she took it back. Her fingernail brushed Seb’s skin sending a shiver through his body. “Without this, I won’t be able to enter the Birch Witches coven, later.”
“W-witches.” Seb gulped and furrowed his brow.
“Wicca, really.” Felicity began walking again.
“Wicca; r-right. You can do spells and such?”
“Yes, after a mundane day of selling perfumes to customers. It’s nice to let off steam with a little potion making and wand-waving.”
Seb couldn’t believe this lady might be a witch. Weren’t they supposed to be green-skinned and spotty? “Well, I- I must say you’re— rather you dispel the image of ugly witches.” Seb mentally slapped his forehead. He sucked at chat-up lines.
“Are you saying, I’m pretty?”
Seb felt relief calming him. “Yeah, did good with that, didn’t I?”
Felicity gave a little laugh. “You’re fine.” She touched her arm against his. “Come with me. I could use a sacrifice.”
“S-sacrifice?” Seb stuck out a hand grabbing a lamppost, he’d almost hit in his stupor. ‘Just great I meet a pretty lady and she wants to boil me or rip my heart out,’ he said to himself.
“Will you trust me?” she held out her hand.
He looked into her eyes for a moment, nodded and took it with a nervous smile. If he were to die today, may as well have an adventure, he decided.
Felicity took him through the rain to a little Victorian black and white-walled pub. It was called the Silver Birch, an archetypal black-clad witch graced the sign. She folded her umbrella and stepped inside with Seb. It was a normal pub, save for the corn dolly decorations and the cauldron by the roaring fireplace left of the bar.
“What a pretty place. I didn’t know this existed,” Seb remarked.
“Welcome, Sebastian. You see. Betula Pendula – means Silver Birch. Our potions are the cocktails on the menu. Our wands, wooden spoons for mixing our soups and stews for the menu. Your sacrifice is to be my date for dinner. My reward to you for returning my pin.” With that, Felicity kissed Seb sealing his fate of a wonderful evening with his new acquaintance.
Thanks for reading!