Flash Friday 16/11/2012: Missing Fate
“Hello,” said Hannah, placing the small jewel-encrusted chest on the counter with its receipt. “I’m here because my product is broken.”
The store clerk looked up from her nail filing (which, given their length, looked like somebody straightening out the edges of a garishly-painted gravestone) with a glare. “Whatddya mean, it’s bust? Can’t be bust. You’re just lookin’ for a refund.”
“No, I’m very sure it’s broken. I bought this Quest of Fate earlier today.”
“Well, what’s wrong with it?”
“The outside of the packaging clearly states that each chest contains a holy quest for the bearer to partake in, but mine was empty.” She opened the chest, revealing a lovely velvet lining that was designed to hold something very expensive and meaningful. An indent in the cushion indicated where the quest should have sat; instead, it held a pocket of air. A very important looking pocket, but not what Hannah was wanting.
“Lemme have a look at that.” Spindly fingers shot out and grasped hold of the chest, tearing it off of the counter. “You haven’t had any prophetic visions? No vivid dreams, whispers from higher beings, meeting a band of party members in a pub?”
“No, none of that.” Hannah watched the clerk dig up a replacement from the line of products behind her. “I wouldn’t be here if I did.”
“Well, let’s see what it says exactly.” The clerk span the packaging to look at the back. “’Each chest contains one Prophetic Quest of Fate which will send one user on a journey of great importance and novel-worthy adventure. WARNING: May contain dark secrets and/or trapped demons which are released upon opening. Not suitable for those under the age of 18.’ Well, it doesn’t say anything about the chance of an empty chest. Maybe you unleashed the dark secret of wasting fifty bucks on this thing?”
“Nah, usually the evil magic is accompanied by dark energy flows and organ music and cackling. This was just nothing.”
“Well, alright. Let’s see what we can do.” The clerk scanned a boxed chest into a cash machine, entered data on the keypad and handed the new chest to Hannah. “Open her up, see what happens.”
Hannah removed the chest from the packaging. She lifted the latch on the lid and lifted it. An angelic chorus danced in the air, holy light beaming onto Hannah’s face, causing her to blink. Sitting in the alcove was a white, egg-shapped gem. Picking it up with the same delicacy as handling a baby animal, she read the words on the warm egg as the glow began to dim.
“’You can exchange this Fate Gem for 1 (one) quest which involves awaking a beautiful princess with a kiss, with whom you’ll live happily ever after.’ Well,” she said, raising an eyebrow. “Doesn’t sound like me at all.”
“S’what happens sometimes.” The clerk shrugged. “I’m sure you’ll be able to trade it with a man who’s less than eager to be swept up into the arms of a handsome prince. Check online or something, they’re common as dirt. Not one of the super-rare dragon slayer or world saviour fate gems. Those go for a hell of a lot these days.”
“Looks like I’ll have to.” Hannah slipped the gem of fate into her pocket. “Well, thanks for the refund anyway. I’m sure I’ll find someone who wants this.”
“Just make sure never to trade it for a mysterious necromancer who claims to have put his bad side behind him,” said the clerk as Hannah left. “Nasty scams, those ones.”