Writer Go Hyee is a pen name by a freelance writer from the Philippines. He started writing flash fiction in 2020 because he enjoys making stories with unpredicatable twists, foreshadowing, and flashback with a hint mystery concised in a written work with less than 1000 words. His goal is to create flash fiction that would leave his readers puzzled and intrigued.
A Locket for Anita
For fifty-six years I loved her, My Anita, your grandmother. This I am going to tell you and promise me that you will tell this story to your grandchildren too.
I met your grandmother when she worked as a servant girl in the bakery beside the cathedral. She was just sixteen when she started working there after she ran away from home. All I know is that she was an orphan raised by her abusive stepmother-- a typical fairytale in the making if you would ask me. A simple pale skinny maiden yet she was the loveliest in my eyes.
I know your grandmother liked me first. She always wore that same sweet smile every time I came buying for bread. Every morning, I would rush to the bakery to buy bread for breakfast, then I would go there again to buy bread for snacks, bread at noon, and another piece of bread for dinner. At night, I would be lying on my bed half asleep excited to rise early to do it all over again. It was my joy to see her lovely face every day. For months, I had been religious in my routine--never tired of going back and forth to see her smile.
When the war broke, I had to leave. I decided to confess my love which she warmly accepted. As a sign of my devotion, I gave her this gold locket that I've worked hard for. Honestly, I wasn't hopeful that I would ever return but I told her to wait for me so we could both have our photos taken for the locket.
Four years had passed and I returned home as a man. I went to the bakery but I didn't find her. The owner told me that she went back to her hometown the day I went to war. Without waiting for another day, I set forth to find her. My dire heart has longed enough and I wouldn't want to waste another day without her by my side.
When I came near to the wooden gate, I saw Anita from a far as lovely as ever. My Anita, wearing the necklace I gave her. When our eyes met, my heart raced! I ran to her and hugged her really tight. It took her a while before she wrapped her arms around me and hugged me even tighter so tight that it seemed as if she never would want to let go. Just three days after, I asked her to marry me which she happily agreed to.
My Anita... I loved her every day since. Sadly, your grandmother died not knowing who I was to her-- dementia caused her a lot. Her last words were "Anita, Victor, Anita, Anita, Victor" and I said, "Yes, my darling, I am here." She peacefully passed away holding this locket which she cherished with all her heart.
A month after the funeral, while I was on the porch holding this locket, I could imagine my beautiful Anita dancing, prancing, and laughing under our favorite tree. The gold locket is old but it still glimmers. When I opened it, I saw my picture which was taken after the war. On the other half, a picture of two girls who looked exactly the same.
The Tale of the Mice
"Where is Verit?" the Gossiper mouse asked.
"I don't know...," replied the Mother mouse as she was holding back her tears. "He was just in the other room last night and now..." the Mother mouse started crying again.
"Hush, stop crying... Maybe he just went out for an early walk."
"That's not possible. He was very weak and very pale. Verit started acting rather odd after his long walk with Yezdit the Traveler and the Walker. He seldom talked to me– always sitting in his room drowned in deep thoughts and giving out long sighs. Yesterday, I caught Verit staring at me with the saddest expression I have yet seen of him. He seemed very disturbed. I asked him what's wrong but he never said a word. He just looked at me with his loving eyes and started talking about his dreams for our child." The Mother mouse continued sobbing, deeply worried for what might have happened.
"Please stop crying, you're still weak. By the way, where is your newborn? Zabota the Caretaker said it's a boy."
The Mother mouse dried her tears in attempt to answer.
"Yes, I gave birth to a son. What a precious gift to the world. Our baby is still in the safe room right now. It's best to keep him warm in the meantime."
"Did you and Verit have an argument?" sniffed the Gossiper.
"No, we didn't. Last night before we went to sleep, while I was nursing my wound, he started talking about our son. 'Khodit… what a beautiful name, ' Verit told me, 'Khodit the Wanderer… Our precious son, my precious boy...When he grows up, I want him to travel to beautiful places far from here. Someday I hope he visits the vast lush greens of vales and hills that we heard from the stories of Skazat the Storyteller. Khodit will surely enjoy travelling to places different from the world we know..." He paused for a while trying to hold his tears. "Though I liked the name, I want to change it with something better-- Spasti, we are now going to call him Spasti the Saviour... Always tell our little boy that he is important no matter how small he is..."
Her heart went heavy as she recalled their conversation. The Mother mouse wiped the tears in her eyes that was about to fall then she continued, " Those are his exact words. I heard a painful crack in his shaky voice whenever he mentioned our son's name. Was it him saying goodbye to me? I should have known." Tears flowed incessantly from her eyes once more.
"I know Verit, he would never leave you just like that. The worst thing that could happen to him is to disappear just like what happened to the Borba the Fighter and the Mechta the Dreamer. Have you asked Yezdit?"
"No, I’ve never seen him since..."
Their conversation was interrupted by a loud thump from the Walker who had been standing at a distance. Even though the Walker was far from them, the Gossiper mouse have noticed him from the corner of her eyes looking at them from time to time. She moved a little closer to the Mother mouse and spoke in great caution.
"Do you think the Walker had something to do with this? the Gossiper mouse whispered. "I really find him very suspicious. He leisurely walks around during the day passing by our houses not saying a word-- never greeting anyone. Some neighbors think that he’s responsible for the disappearance of Borba and Mechta because they went missing after the Walker accompanied them. And look at him… he's very odd, very white, and very huge!
"I don’t know.... the Walker never harmed us. I think it was Yezdit. Maybe they fought. They never talked after the long walk. Maybe it was their argument that bothered him. Verit started having nightmares saying words I didn't understand, "esssSlabi,slabi...nache..natchela.." The attacks became frequent lately. Last night, I woke up to a very strange sound- a groaning sound. I saw Verit cringing on the floor so I asked him what's wrong. He tried to stand very slowly catching his belly, trembling, shuddering, yet he told me that it was nothing. I could tell that he was trying to move his limbs but he couldn't. I saw his eyes- that helpless expression in his sad eyes, but I couldn't do anything from a far…I myself am still weak."
"You should have been alert. They say the disappearances took place at night. The Weaver mouse said her husband, Borba, was gone when she woke up, the following morning Mechta disappeared! You should have stayed awake. You could have..." The Gossiper mouse abruptly paused when she saw the Walker briskly walking towards them.
The two mice were scared--petrified they couldn't move. The Walker went closer to the Gossiper and looked at her straight in the eye. The Gossiper mouse gulped in fear. In one swoop, the Walker grabbed her tightly! The Gossiper mouse squeaked in fear! She was frantically trying to escape from the Walker's grip. The Mother mouse, shocked and appalled, tripped on her feet as she stepped back.
"Vot Etot!" said the Walker in a loud roaring voice.
It was the first time they heard him speak!
The latest abduction took place in broad daylight!
The Mother mouse couldn’t believe what she just witnessed as she was still trembling in fear. At that very instance, the safety of her family crossed her mind– her precious son, Spasti, her husband– his dreams. The mere thought crushed her heart. Then she remembered what Verit said— "Someday, our son will save lives."
(The story is inspired by The Monument to the Laboratory Mouse, a sculpture in the park in front of the Institute of Cytology and Genetics of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The monument commemorates the sacrifice of the mice in genetic research used to understand biological and physiological mechanisms for developing new drugs and curing of diseases.)
The Beauty Queen and Her Fancy Bracelets
She puts on a nude rose matte lipstick as the last touch to the perfection she beholds. Who would say that she's over forty now? Her skin-her face, is beaming with vitality. She was once crowned the most beautiful in her youth and now she leads an extravagant, joyful, and almost perfect life. The sole heiress to the bountiful fortune of her mother and a wife to one of the sons of the richest clan in the country; What more could she ask for? Money. Fame. Fortune. Loving husband. Her mother was right, "Choose the right man, and you’ll be happy all your life." Her devoted husband supports her in everything that she does. In fact, it would cause not a bit of a fuss if she goes on a last-minute jet-setting shopping-spree to buy millions-worth of jewelry abroad.
Though she has been married thrice- all three to a widower, no controversy about her marriages ever caused ill rumor in the high elite class. Her late husbands have shown much adoration for her that when she was widowed everyone who knows her mourned with her for she herself is such a sweet, kind, thoughtful, generous lady—a "woman of great propriety" to all her acquaintances.
When her makeup is all set, she stands and unlocks her jewelry closet with a fingerprint censor. Today, she must choose the finest piece of bracelet that will match her clothes. She will be meeting her friends casually in the Oliver Messel Suite at The Dorchester hotel to formally welcome the new member in their elite socialite club who just flew in from Munich, Germany.
Of all the jewelry, she fancies bracelets more. It is the only thing in the world that makes her heart flutter with joy. She thinks she inherited this fascination from her mother whose bracelets comprise at least half of her collection. As she runs her delicate fingers over her fancy bracelets, she remembers her mother and her best days with her. Her loving mother always tucked her to bed every night, read her stories, and made her recite verses of foreign languages until she fell asleep. Then her mother would always whisper in her ears that someday, she would be the prettiest queen with the fanciest bracelets in the world. Her mother spoke the truth. She smiles as she adores her wonderful collection. “You’re right mum, you’re always right.”
She gazes on the stunning florette cuff in 18k white gold with diamonds and pink tourmaline. It is a perfect match to her simple white cashmere long-sleeved tops. She puts on the bracelet, admires herself in front of the mirror, and turns around several times with subtlety and elegance as a prima ballerina in pirouette. Then she sits down on her Doshi Levien chair and let out a long sigh as she carefully rolls down her sleeves to hide her imperfection—the small cystic lumps on her arms same as her mother’s. The permanent uncurable lumps all over her arms and back started to appear on her body a year before her first marriage. Since then, she had to wear fashionable long sleeves to hide her unpleasant repulsive secret.
The Oliver Messel Suite is one of the signature suites at The Dorchester. It is the sophisticated suite designed by Oliver Messel which is adored by a shimmering history of illustrious guests– and in this room, her socialite friends happily greet her upon her arrival. They are all instantly captivated by her stunning florette diamond cuff. She can sense envy in their sweet praises, and she secretly likes it.
While they are having conversation in between sips of tea, the newest member of the club arrives. Everybody greets her warmly. They inevitably pry on every detail of her outfit. Check. Check. “Oh my God!” The ladies exclaim. She is wearing the Cartier-designed Diamond Panther bracelet! An extravagant pave-set with brilliant single-cut diamonds, calibre-cut onyx, and two marquise-shaped emerald. The new lady’s bracelet becomes the hot topic in the room as everyone is so thrilled to see this rare antique jewelry right in front of their eyes.
“What a fancy bracelet,” she tells the lady as her pupils dilate briefly and unnoticeably.
“Thank you dear, it’s from an auction from Milan. My husband bought it for me as an anniversary gift. And…uhm… I just want to show this beauty to the ladies here,” the lady replied in modesty.
"Really. You are married to Mr. Schultcher, the billionaire with a large shipping business, " she states in a toneless voice, “Will your husband be here as well?"
“Yes, in a month he’ll be here."
“Perfect,” she replied inaudibly. ”Come sit with us. We really love your bracelet!” She says with much excitement and ushers the lady to the sofa.
In the middle of the resonating chit-chats and high pitched laughter in the room, she excuses herself and stands in the far corner appearing to be talking on her phone. She mutters indistinct words of verses she knows by heart through gritted teeth while her eyes are sternly fixed on the fancy bracelet. After a few minutes, she walks casually near the lady and gently taps the lady’s shoulder twice.
“I’m sorry, are you saying something?” the lady asked.
“Oh nothing, I just thought there’s something on your shoulders."
It has started.
Her lips arched a nefarious smile as she sips the cold tea from her cup. She can feel intense itching in her arms and back, but she still smiles in delight.
She meets the lady’s eyes who sits across the room and lowers her sight once more to the fancy bracelet.
“What a conversation starter," she tells herself.