Another entry into the Tuesday Flash Fiction Train fun contest-thingy. The deadline snuck up on me so this is a hasty entry. It isn’t great but the fun is in trying. Enjoy!
A fire burned in Rita’s stomach. It burned with such ferocity that her hands shook and her head tingled. All moisture left her throat as it became parched from the fires within. She clenched both hands tight enough for her knuckles to turn white.
All eyes in the bus were now staring at her as she stood defiantly against the crowd. They provoked her and she was standing against it. The accusing eyes continued to judge her. They made assumptions about her because of her expensive business suit. They didn’t know it was the only one she owned. They didn’t know she couldn’t even afford to have it cleaned properly.
As she returned their spiteful stares an image flashed before her. A dirt floor room. Dark. Damp. A man staring at her. A familiar man.
“Stop,” she muttered more to herself than to the gawking passengers.
The old lady who started this sneered at her in disgust. Rita saw the lady’s face morph into the dirty face of the man in the room. “You shouldn’t talk like that.” Her voice was deeper than before. A man’s voice.
The burning in her stomach began to boil over. She clenched her fists harder to stop them from shaking. She felt her manicured nails dig into her soft palms.
Another memory flashed before her. Women in brown robes chanted behind the leering man in the dark, damp room. They looked excited and anxious. They stared at her.
Reality returned and the dirty people of the bus stared at her just as the robed women did. They were all staring. They were all judging. They wanted to stop her.
“Why don’t you just sit down girly-girl,” said a 20-something Hispanic kid.
“Yeah,” another passenger seconded.
“Why don’t you just relax and let it happen,” said a voice from another time. “It’s our way of controlling your power.”
“Stop…” The burning inside her grew unbearable. “Staring…” She began to claw the flesh of her own hands to stop the shaking. “At…” Her head tingled. “Me!”
As the last word left her mouth one of her manicured nails pierced her flesh. A drop of blood rolled off her palm and struck the cold steel deck of the bus. Memories long locked away flooded over her mind as the fires inside her took control.
Glass exploded inwardly as the drop struck. Shards of glass flew towards the eyes of every passenger. The bus screeched to a halt as every passenger except Rita was screaming in pain. None were staring at her now.