by Jeff Baker
“She’s in here. I can tell.” Becky said, looking tall in her green dress, contrasting with the dark hallways the three of them had just walked through.
The classroom was dingy and smelled. The old school building had been closed off, but Ray had the key. He looked around. How long since this room had been used? Or the windows had been washed?
Becky darted over towards the row of drawers with the counter top under the windows, moving through the rows of non-existent desks.
“I haven’t seen her in years. I was blocked from her perception for a while.” Becky said.
“Damn shame when a toy squid blocks you,” Doug said, leaning against the wall grinning, looking (Ray thought) good in jeans and a t-shirt.
Becky ignored him, holding her hand above the counter where the teacher had kept the terrarium and a set of encyclopedia.
“Here…no…here…no…here. Yes.” Becky had stopped at the far end of the counter and reached into the top drawer, pulling out a paper bag.
“Sushi.” Becky breathed pulling a small, plush toy octopus out of the bag.
“Sushi,” Doug said with a wry grin. “I remember her dragging that around with her everywhere.”
“Yeah, then one of her teachers said it was time for her to stop playing around and she took it from her.” Ray said. “Right before her Dad got transferred out of town.”
“We’re together again,” Becky said. “We are whole.”
“She’s gettin’ spooooooo-kyyyyyy” Doug said, what he’d said when they were in grade school together. Somehow, Becky had known things she couldn’t possibly have known.
They hadn’t imagined that when she got back into town fifteen years later, Ray would be on the board that replaced the old grade school with the big one down the street.
She’d insisted they come back to the old school and find their old classroom.
And now she stood there with her old toy and looked into its plush eyes and then smiled.
“And right now I can see that you and Doug aren’t really related,” she said. “Your parents never told you…they paid someone for Doug when he was a baby.”
Doug and Ray stared at her, then at each other.
“So it won’t be forbidden love anymore.” Becky said.
“Hey, wait!” Ray said. “My brother and I aren’t. I mean, we never…”
“I can see what is underneath, remember?”
“Yeah,” Doug said.
“The night before I got here you were talking about getting married if you could.” Becky said. “Well, now you can.”
The two young men stared at each other with dawning realization and broadening smiles.
The stuffed octopus smiled its secret octopus smile.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The draws for this month’s Flash Fiction Draw Challenge were; a paranormal story, set in an abandoned grade school involving a stuffed octopus. This is what I came up with. See you next month!