Tabetha’s World

Perhaps she was a narcissist, but Tabetha rather enjoyed her own company. Friends were simply another, messier aspect of life that had to be carefully tended to and given a considerable amount of time and attention. Besides, if she was feeling uncharacteristically melancholy, she could always reach into some hitherto unexplored corner of her mind and dredge up a character or two to talk to.

“You see, Ylith,” she explained, “if I’d had to plan around friends, we would have spent half the day deciding what movie to watch, and the other half realising that our schedules didn’t match up.”

Ylith raised an eyebrow. “Don’t you like dissecting it immediately after, while the excitement is still there?”

“I have you.” Tabetha shrugged and sipped her double-shot espresso, ignoring the slightly fearful and rather confused glances of the cafe’s other customers.

“I am a rather interesting fellow, aren’t I?” Ylith conceded with a cocky grin. Tabetha followed his gaze to a young woman sitting alone at another table. “Maybe I should go interest her.”

“No, you shouldn’t! Don’t go getting a big head over it or I shall have to take drastic measures.”

“As though there was even space up there for a normal-sized head,” he grumbled.

A number of cutting remarks leapt to Tabetha’s lips, but she decided to let the moment pass. She wasn’t sure about the implications of insulting a figment of her imagination–even if it was a particularly sarcastic one.

“Want a coffee?” she asked instead. “The barista here is quite good.”

He shook his head. “No thanks. We’re already getting enough strange looks as it is, and I’d rather not add to the spectacle.” He sniffed at her cup. “It needs milk, and a lot of it, by the way.”

“If I don’t care how they feel about us, you certainly shouldn’t,” Tabetha pointed out.

“I don’t like being laughed at and avoided. It’s embarrassing.”

He was getting all petulant now, she thought with a sigh. Were he real, she would have to appease him so they didn’t have a fight, or have the fight now and go about the troublesome business of making up afterwards.

“Then leave,” she said. “Go and interest girls as a tatter of abandoned thought.”

He leaned back and crossed his legs on the table. “I don’t think I will,” he said, eyes still on the woman. “I quite like this business of existing. And someone needs to keep you sociable.”

Well! It was time she brought her thoughts firmly in line.

“You impertinent, unruly–” Tabetha was about to give him another piece of her mind when she was interrupted by a very solid, very real, tap on the shoulder.

“Excuse me, Miss,” the young man said. He was quite alone–the other customers had long fled her general radius. He pointed at the empty chairs across from her and Ylith. “May we join the two of you?”

Tabetha gave him a tentative smile, and nodded. “Please do.”

This is the first post of flash fiction week III. Tomorrow: Steven E. Athay.

Leanne Yong is an aspiring author who is working on her second young adult novel. Check out her blog at Clouded Memories for more information and a journal chronicling her latest foray into novel writing.


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