This post is for Roger Shipp’s Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner challenge. For this challenge we are given a photo prompt and an optional opening line / prompt sentence. This week’s prompt line is “There it was. You could see the corner of the folded yellowed parchment sticking out of the torn lining of the battered book.” I’ve not used the exact words this week but I’ve kept the general sense of it. The story should be under 200 words and have a clear beginning, middle and end.
Hettie rubbed weary eyes as the candle sputtered its death throes; the scrawl on the page growing increasingly illegible in the oscillating shadows.
Sleep dragged at her mind.
She’d stopped comprehending the meaning of the words some time ago; had read the current passage three times at least, yet still had no idea what it said. The trail of allusion and conjecture she’d followed to this point didn’t even guarantee success – there was only the faintest chance the author had handled the Treatise. It was possible, probable even, that she was researching another dead end.
As tired as she was, it hard to tell the difference. It was time to accept defeat – at least for tonight.
She noticed the folded parchment that peaked from inside the torn lining only as she closed the battered text. All thoughts of sleep fled. Possibility danced before her.
Unsteady fingers drew the fragile document free from its hiding place as the candle-flame gave a final guttering flare and vanished. She barely caught a glimpse of the faded calligraphy on the pamphlet’s cover but a glimpse was enough. Excited laughter burbled free. She’d found the Treatise.
She’d found the proof they needed.
Word Count: 199