Prompt Fiction

PROMPT : CURRENCY 

“Mama, Mama!” Lindsey burst through the front door, skidding to a stop a few inches away from her mother’s workbench.

The rows of factory workers barely registered the interruption in their daily duties. Save for the woman in question, who merely perked a brow at her excited daughter.

“What is it now? A sale on rations at the-“

“Give me your money, quick!”

The mother frowned, then glanced at her work. She fed it through the machine in front of her and began to thread up the next piece of fabric in line.

“Mama!”

“I can’t stop, you know that,” her mother grumbled. “What do you need it for and how much?”

“All of it and now,” Lindsey said, hopping from one foot to the other. Her ankles were visible and red, above her slippered feet and in spite of the woven bandages laced around them.

Tiny, crumpled white wings could be seen poking out from the skin’s surface. They were plastered to her swollen ankles, but didn’t seem to affect her renewed hyperactivity.

“Mama!”

“Lindsey.” Came the sighed response. “Use words. What did I tell you about using words and trying to make a point? Not everyone is on the same frequency as you are and when you endeavour to skip the necessary building blocks of common communication you-“

“They’re changing currency again at the hour. Give me your money so I can change it before the lines get too long!” Lindsey blurted out, then groaned and clapped a hand over her mouth as that line garnered the attention of every single worker in the factory.

Machines were abandoned as everyone fumbled for their own stores of private cash—along with anything tradable.

“Lindsey,” her mother clucked, softly. “Indoor voice?” She frowned at her fellow workers now preparing for a stampede to the nearest currency changer. “Go to the one at the end of Marchen, do you hear?”

Lindsey bobbed her head in answer, a slight shiver rippling over her. “Mama-I can’t stay still.”

“Here, take it over. You know, don’t you?” her mother slipped out from her seat, allowing Lindsey to slip in. She wiped her dusty hands on the front of her work apron, before attempting to unlock the little case that held their current life savings.

It had become habit to carry all currency on their person since the new reigning Emperor had come into his inheritance. Now, she fished out all everything and knotted it into a little square fabric.

She waited a half-second while Lindsey expertly threaded the next fabric square into the whirring machine, then deftly exchanged places with her.

Lindsey tucked the fabric square inside of her shirt. She cracked her neck as the little white wings along her ankles began to feebly flap in response.

“Love you,” she mumbled, kissing her mother’s head, before streaking out of the factory door—well ahead of the hoarde of workers streaming out after her.

(c) S. Harricharan

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