Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction: Just Like Me

This week’s Author Aerobics: Action Challenge post and #FridayFlash. I wanted to try experimenting with a different kind of action this week. Hmm! I’ll admit I didn’t stick to the theme – and as a warning to my regular readers, there’s nothing speculative in this one.

Just Like Me
by T.S. Bazelli

Kosta turned his car into the driveway but it was blocked by a bright red Volkswagen. He had been looking forward to spending a quiet evening at home, but the moment he saw the sheen on the pavement of the driveway, the vein in his head began to throb. He slammed the door of his car shut, the rear end of it still, sticking out into the street, blocking traffic.

The three women in the room slid to their feet as he burst through the front door, blocking his view of the young man seated on the couch. Tommy, Tony, whatever his name was, he didn’t care. He threw his suitcase to the floor and papers scattered as it flipped open. “I told you never to come to this house again.”

“Mr. Demetriou, I -”

Kosta didn’t give the young man chance to answer. He lurched towards him, swinging his hands blindly, and kicking over the coffee table.

Maria, his youngest daughter, shouted as the baby in her arms began to wail. “You’re scaring Nick, baba!”

“Kosta.” Eleni growled, and he felt his wife’s slender arms wind around his biceps, but he ripped free. Thomas had jumped behind the couch out of reach. His face was contorted with fear. He should have thought of me before he came here. What a coward, he spat.

“Mr. Demetriou! I wanted to talk -” His voice was soft and hesitant.

“I have nothing to say to you.” Kosta squeezed between the couch and side table, sending a vase of roses crashing to the hardwood. It shattered into crystal shards. The floor had been Eleni’s idea of course. She was screaming but his grandson’s wails drowned all sense out of his mind. “I want you to get out!” Kosta roared, lunging for the young man’s scrawny neck. How old was he? 20? 18? So pale and sickly looking. “I want you to have nothing to do with my Anna! You will never touch my daughter again.”

He felt something pelt him in the back of his head. Eleni’s curls were standing on end, and her mouth was twisted in an unfamiliar way, as she threw to throw pillows at him. “Tom, you get out of here.” She yelled at the boy. “Let me deal with my husband.”

“No!” The boy yelled, red color rushing to his cheeks, his hands coming up to his face. So he had a backbone. He felt his heart beating faster. So he wants to fight. Kosta raised his fists to his cheeks, but Anna threw herself between them. “Baba, listen to him. Listen to what he has to say.” Her voice low and loud, impossible to ignore. If only she’d been a boy, he thought, then there would be no trouble. She was so much like him, his eldest daughter. So beautiful, his perfect daughter, throwing her life away.

He brushed past her, his eyes still locked on Tony’s. The young man had moved back towards Eleni, Maria, and Anna. Hiding behind the women.Pathetic.

“Mr. Demetriou. I came here to ask you permission to marry Anna.”

He was hallucinating. it was all a bad dream. Kosta stormed into the bedroom and threw open the bedside drawer. Where was it? He wondered. Where? Maria’s life had already been ruined. He could still hear the baby crying. The baby was always crying. He wouldn’t let Anna’s be ruined too.

He tossed clothes aside, scattered the contents of the drawrers, but his search was unrewarded. He would just have to kill Thomas with his bare hands. He could do it. He walked back out to the quiet living room and eyed him. Such a fine and slender neck above hunched shoulders. Someone who sat at computers all day.

He gave up a roar and swung a fist at Tommy. He ducked, and Maria squealed as the fist nearly grazed her. Maria ran out of the room, with her baby in her arms – the mistake, the bastard, his grandson.

A firecracker exploded in the house. Gunshot. He realized, as plaster fell down from the ceiling. Anna was holding his gun between her hand and there was silence.

“Baba.” She was calm, oh so calm. He knew that look. He saw the same face when he looked in the mirror. “I hoped I wouldn’t have to use this just to get you to listen. I am marrying Tom. If he leaves, I will leave with him.”

She dropped the barrel to the ground. Where had she learned how to load it? How had she known where the bullets were? “Oh Anna.” He felt his hands climb up to his face. “My baby girl. Don’t throw your life away.”

His eyes blurred as his daughter walked out the front door with Tom in hand.

“Like you threw your life away?” Eleni’s face was cold. Unreadable. She was still young, far too young to be a grandmother, just as he was far too young to be a grandfather. Her cheeks were flush pink, still framed by coal black waves of hair. She walked out of the room and slammed the bedroom door behind her.

18 Comments to “Flash Fiction: Just Like Me”

  1. Wow. Intense.

    (And also not a hint of speculative fiction that I can see. Not a problem, but an observation. It just surprised me a little because I kept looking for the speculative twist and it never came.)

    Only one point of confusion… the “youngest daughter” was named “Maria” at first, but then for the rest of the story the daughter in the room is “Anna”. I’m guessing either Anna is the youngest, and was misnamed Maria, or the real Maria somehow disappeared as the story progressed. Other than that, the action was clear as crystal. And pretty fierce.

    1. T.S. Bazelli Author

      Ahh good point. There were 2 daughters in the room. Maria (youngest with the baby) and Anna (eldest). I may have cleared that up now, but I’m not sure.

      The experiment was -> no spec-fiction this time. LOL I think this cold must be messing with my head!

    1. T.S. Bazelli Author

      Thanks Kristan! This was not quite my usual fare. For a fleeting moment I though thought of writing up battle between germs (I’m sick right now) but I don’t think… well. LOL maybe this battle is just a metaphor? UGh, sorry can’t think straight.

  2. Wow, this is very powerful, Tessa. Great writing. The characters are clear and the turmoil is fever-pitch.

    …Is it wrong that I was hoping someone would just shoot Papa?

    Really enjoyed this one.

  3. Tea, you do a superb job at capturing their emotions. It drew me in and the tension is perfect. I’m not sure that I quite understand what is going on, I thought that Tommy had gotten the daughter (Anna) pregnant, but it’s the other daughter Maria who has the baby. You did a great job with the action to push the emotions.

    1. Hmm yes that probably could be cleared up. I just thought that Anna simply wanted to get married, but after what happened to Maria, the father’s being too overprotective. Thanks for the feedback!

  4. The reason it seems like Tommy/Tony/Whatever-his-name-was (I thought it was clever changing his name every time you referred to him, since Papa really doesn’t know his name and doesn’t care) must have gotten someone pregnant is the sudden ferocity that Papa exhibits toward this boy – it’s a reaction that suggests that Tommy/Tony/Whatevs has already done something that Papa believes to have been a great injustice, and that’s besides asking someone to marry him.

    To reconcile this in my mind, personally, I just assumed that Maria was just holding Anna’s baby (or, as per my above comment, that maybe Maria and Anna were the same, but that’s cleared up, now, so I’ll go with the first).

  5. That was quite an interesting exercise in having a main character that you’re struggling to like/agree with. Also a great success for your Author’s Aerobics challenge in dealing with action – felt like there was plenty of going on, lots of movement and emotion but without becoming cluttered or confusing. Nice one!

  6. Lua

    Intense action scene Tessa! So many characters in a short piece but you made it work so well 🙂
    “baba” also means father in Turkish!

  7. I had some confusion as well regarding who had babies and who got who pregnant, but I think some reference to the father of Maria’s child would resolve that easily. Very tense scene, good work.

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