“Bean” is a flash fiction story about a mysterious girl and her young tag along.
The Ferris wheel spun, twisted, and spurned us from the heights, its neon green lights spasming in the darkness. I lay on my back in the sand, watching it turn as the cold ocean waters lapped at my sinking heels. A warm little hand wormed its way into mine. I started at first, then smiled, squeezing gently back. Finally. How long had it been? Two weeks? A month?
“Sar-ah?” A childish voice from the darkness to my left. The first word. What would she say next?
“Yes, Bean?” Maybe she would protest at her nickname, although I thought she liked it. She had never worked up the courage to tell me. It fit her skinny, six year old frame.
“What’s a canned ham?” I almost laughed, but I didn’t want to scare her.
“A canned ham? Well, it’s almost like jello, but ham. In a can.”
There was a small pause. Then, “What’s jello?” Jello? She didn’t know what jello was? Anger twisted inside me, a snake rearing its ugly head, but I batted it away. No, not tonight. There would be time for that later.
“How ’bout I show you, Bean? Would you like that?” The small hand wrapped around my finger in response, tugging me up. This time I did laugh, and a little giggle answered from the void. How I would manage to find jello at a fair, I had no idea… but I would find it. I would tear the world apart for jello, if that’s what it took. I shook my head as we walked up the beach, Bean’s little footsteps thudding softly beside me. How hard it would be to let her go. But it was necessary. The shudder that followed the thought had nothing to do with the chill ocean breeze.
As we crested the dunes, the light from the Ferris wheel caught in Bean’s stringy blond hair and turned her eyes to glowing emerald.