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Recognizance

A Short Story

By Selina DeCarlesPublished about a month ago 3 min read
Recognizance
Photo by Margarita Cherniak on Unsplash

"I hate this place," she thought. Marlene had been going to the local café every day for almost two weeks. She couldn't stand being at home, but she also couldn't stand how obnoxiously loud the music always played at the café. Nobody else seemed to care, which added to her extreme annoyance. She couldn't quite tell why she kept going back. Surely there were better places to sit and write.

For a moment, she lowered her gaze to look at her phone. There wasn't a lot of commotion at the café, aside from the music, which is why she was surprised to see a woman standing close to her table when she looked up. Likely around her same age, the woman was above average height, brown-eyed, brown-haired, fair-skinned with a slight tan, and casually, but neatly dressed. She reminded Marlene of someone but she couldn't quite tell who.

She hadn't noticed her come in or walk about at all. The woman, not looking in her direction, seemed to be eyeing around the café for a table with a nearby power outlet. Knowing the place so well at that point, Marlene knew well there were no available outlets left.

"Excuse me! You can sit with me if you want. There's an outlet right here."

Marlene had the largest table in the café all to herself, but she was in a bad mood. She had been all day. She was also an introvert and not particularly friendly. Always hard to spark her attention and curiosity. Why had she done that?

The woman smiled and approached quickly. "Thank you! I was starting to think I'd have to leave. I have a paper due in an hour!" she said.

"That's okay. I'm in the middle of writing something myself," replied Marlene, happy that not a lot of conversation was to be expected, but still curious about the stranger.

"I'm Kathleen, what's your name?" said the woman, sitting down and extending her hand for Marlene to shake. Marlene, quickly extending her hand as well, as she prepared to reply, had to do a double-take at Kathleen's forearm. She choked on the words as she realized what she was looking at—a birthmark. A birthmark exactly like the one covered by a tattoo on Marlene's forearm.

Oddly shaped like a bird, the birthmark was of a yellow hue, almost orange. It had been all the talk in the family when Marlene was born. The only other person with a birthmark like that was her aunt, Morgana, whom she'd been very close with for most of her life.

Morgana and Marlene had shared a bond unlike anyone else in their family. There was rarely anything they hadn't enjoyed doing together and often introduced each other to new things. It was a bond Marlene often wished she could have had with her mother, but that never happened.

Morgana, dead now for almost three years, was never married and had no known descendants. Since her death, Marlene had moved away from the town they had lived in their whole lives. She had nothing or no one tying her there anymore, and she couldn't stand the constant reminders of her aunt's absence. She picked the first town she saw on the opposite end of her map and never looked back.

Now, a thousand miles away, at a random café in the random town she'd picked to disappear into, a familiar stranger sat across from her. A chapter she thought long closed seemed to be coming ajar right before her eyes and it all depended on her next choice of words, or lack thereof.

She could feel the many questions and possible answers piling up in her mind, but first, she had to figure out how and when to ask the most important question of all: Why are you lying?

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About the Creator

Selina DeCarles

Aficionado of the written word.

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    Selina DeCarlesWritten by Selina DeCarles

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