Bargaining by @NadiaJWriter #NaNoWriMo



Written by Nadia Hasan

NaNo Excerpt

Even if you were to look at her directly, you probably wouldn’t see her right away. She shied away from light and was mostly a shadow out of the corner of your eye. She had dull, coppery, red hair that seemed to glow only in dim light and large, round, blue eyes that moved too slow and saw a little too much. Her gaze was unsettling. At least, that’s how most people had described her over the many years. People liked to describe things, to label; to name…She never had a birth name. The demons never spoke and most of the others just nodded curtly and continued on to their work. Twenty souls was difficult to collect in a month and they’d all gladly take the six months of freedom from the place they called home that came from accomplishing that.

The Box wasn’t home and it wasn’t a building. It was the place that she sat after her bargains had been made for the month. She never quite made twenty. It was dark, formless, timeless, and stretched on forever. They were taught to not hold on to anything because clothes, customs and times were always shifting. A bargainer never knew if the stream they were slipped into was the past, present or future and they were expected to adapt quickly and leave no trace of their existence. The one and only time she had earned her six months, she stayed with a family that took her in and named her Sarah. She could never sit with them for portraits, make any friends or get close to anyone in the family. The more time she spent with them the more she could start to feel the vestiges of her humanity seep in and emotions of love and loss grow inside her. As midnight neared on the last day of the sixth month she could remember shedding a few tears and the bitter feeling of regret filling her. However, when the clock began to chime, she slid from her bed, walked outside toward the shimmering wave and into the slip of time where the demon beckoned for her.

Now the time had once again come for bargaining. The demon stood waiting beside her watching people and objects flash by them in light speed. She got tired of watching the blurs of color and motion, so she instead focused on her mission and what she needed to do. The first thing that she always did when she stepped out of a stream was find a place to stay. This depended largely on what period in time she was in and what age she was. Being a Bargainer, she never had to worry about dying or getting old and the only time she aged was when the demons decided it was necessary for the upcoming bargains. Portraying a child made it easy to find a place to stay, harder to do as she pleased and even harder still to get adults to take her offers seriously. She found the she did her best bargains when she was between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. There she was young enough to still seem innocent, old enough to have some say over what she did and pretty enough to attract some attention. She was still wondering where she would end up this time when the demon reached out a knobby, withered hand and shoved her roughly forward.

She had been caught unaware and tripped over her long skirt. She pitched forward out the stream and right into the form of a young man. He was young, she realized. He was only fifteen or so. “Hey watch,” he started angrily before their combined weight toppled them both over. “-Where you’re going…” he finished. She picked herself up and brushed off her clothes and when she looked again she found him staring her. Even though she had the reputation of having an unsettling gaze, she found that his made her feel ill at ease. He had bright, piercing, hazel eyes and a shaved head, where a thin layer of dark hair could be seen. He was lean and muscular with a hint of tattoo showing on his left arm, though she couldn’t see exactly what it was.

“What?” She snapped at him.

“You’re very…Unusual. What’s your name?” he asked her.

She rolled her eyes. Humans with their need to label and categorize was irritating. She had no proper name, even though she had possessed many and could not think of an answer that would suffice his interest. Cleverly, she told him,

“My name…is B.”

Author Bio

Nadia is twenty-two and spends most of her time writing, reading and watching great television. Her short story, “The Saint and the Sinner” has been published in Michigan Ave. Creative Arts Journal, as well as The Mirror News newspaper in their “Through the Looking Glass” segment. Both are part of Henry Ford Community College. She is also the author of From the Café and Beyond: A Collection of Poems and Other Writings.