Flash Fiction: Hand-Me-Down (178 words)

Meren was wearing Captain’s stripes. The jacket they were sewn to was already broken in and had seen too many months of wear. She’d pulled it out of the bottom of a trunk, where the last person who had owned it had left it when it needed to be replaced. But the new one was lost, somewhere over the side, along with its owner.

Meren held still, just to keep from feeling the weight of the jacket. She would have put it back at the bottom of the trunk, if she’d had any wishes left for this day. She looked Bonna in the eye, and swallowed. “I don’t have a clue what I’m doing,” Meren said.

Bonna nodded. It didn’t seem like the proper response.

Meren shook her head. “I really don’t,” she whispered.

Bonna kept nodding, and after a moment, she met Meren’s eye. She looked serious, mouth slack in a straight line, eyes relaxed into blunt honesty as she murmured, “If you said you did, that would be the thing that terrified me.”

Meren took a breath.

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