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The Rival

“You’ve seen it, Sam. You know what I’m looking for.”

Peter was nervous, and sick to his stomach. It was those nerves that had landed him in this predicament in the first place. If he could have just got his smoke lit, maybe he could have squashed those jangles, but he had just been too shaky.

“It’s a little brown pouch with a string tied around the top,” Peter went on. “I dropped it trying to find a match.”

He was crawling through the tall grass in a meadow just outside Prairie Grove. The shadow from a towering oak at the head of the field was disappearing quickly, reminding him noon was fast approaching.

“I’m supposed to meet Mary Sue in just a few minutes.” Peter looked up at the sun nearly straight overhead. “We have to find it, Sam.”

Sam didn’t answer, but Peter could hear his companion rustling through the grass several feet away. Maybe between the two of them, they’d pull off a miracle. Trouble was, Peter couldn’t remember exactly how far he’d walked after the leather pouch tumbled into the rolling brush.

“Sam!” a dainty voice drifted to Peter on a light summer’s breeze. His heart sank as he stood and faced the tree, closer now than he remembered. Mary Sue was stooped there, petting Sam on the head and taking something from the dog’s mouth.

It was the pouch.

Peter wanted to run, but Mary Sue had spotted him. She stood and took a couple of steps toward him as she pulled open the string.

It was too late.

Mary Sue held the sparkling ring to the sunlight and smiled. “You got something you want to ask me, Peter Travers? Because, if not … well, I think Sam and I may just run off together.”

Published inFlash Fiction

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