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Written for word 148 over at [livejournal.com profile] 15_minute_fic.

Just a warmup before I do some brainstorming and outlining.

It Always Takes More (flash, 489 words)

Anni regretted it the second after the words came out of her mouth, but there was no taking it back now. It wasn't as though she didn't mean it, she just - it wasn't right to say things like that, no matter how true they were. But Tasha had cut her, had opened her up with words too many times. She had bit her tongue until it bled - sometimes literally - too many times.

An eye for an eye...

Tasha's mouth hung open. In her peripheral vision Anni saw her brother's head cock; he was listening. He probably wasn't the only one. Even if he was, it would spread; before the night was out the whole family would know what she had said. And they would probably be on her side, though they might not say it as coolly.

The moment passed and Tasha closed her mouth, jaw clenched, wrinkles in the corners of her eyes deepening. "Thanks - y'know, so much, for being honest with me," she said.

"Somebody needed to."

"You don't even - so that's it?"

"Yeah. I'm not the only one that feels that way."

A sound came out of Tasha that could have been a laugh, maybe a cough, a gutteral sound. It would have been harsh if not for the tears brimming. The sight of them wiped out Anni's remorseful feelings - she knew this trick.
"Fine," Tasha said. She turned and left quickly. Sade went to her but she didn't reach her until Tasha had burst out the front door. Sade followed.

"Way to go," said Anni's brother in her ear.

"I said it. Didn't I? I didn't just dream that."

"I heard it. It's a pretty good dream, don't you think?"

"Yeah, right now. Going to be awful when it gets around, though."

"Like it wasn't awful already." He held out a bowl of chips, crushed to tiny pieces after many children's hands had rustled through them. "Chip?"

She fished out a handful of crumbs and pinched a few between her thumb and forefinger, tilting her head back to sprinkle them into her mouth. "Where's mum?" She asked, crunching.

"In the kitchen."

"Do you think she'll get through the day without hearing?"

Her brother shrugged. "Probably not. But you know her, it won't show."

"It doesn't usually. On anybody."

"Do you regret it?" His face said plainly that he hoped she didn't. Now that the thrill of the moment and the affront of Tasha's tears had passed she wasn't so sure.

"It's a shame, Dee."

"It's always been a shame."

There was a time when she'd liked Tasha; she was so full of life, and was so interested, so interesting. Ten years, and intimacy, and the burrowing thread of lies had made her a dull ache to bear. She cut at them, didn't shy away from aiming for the eyes.

An eye for an eye, but it always takes more.


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March 2011

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