AUTHOR'S NOTE: This flash fiction piece was written for Magpie Tales. Although it is set in the same world as Steal Tomorrow it is part of a new series of stories centered around new characters. The "Extras" section of the sidebar will soon be updated to reflect this. In the meantime, enjoy the new story and then drop by Magpie Tales for more fun!
It was a mission of questionable merit, but Mario was determined to accomplish it.
"You better be right," Tim said, looking around the empty graveyard and brandishing a smooth polished stick. "Kids don't spread rumors for no reason."
"If you don't want to do this, go back," Mario told him. "You too," he added, glancing over his shoulder at the mute, round-eyed girl who they had named Cee when she offered no name of her own.
The girl clutched a narrow black case to her body and shook her head. Tim added, "We're with you in spite of the cannibals, grave-robbers, feral dogs or whatever."
Mario didn't want to discuss yet again why he didn't believe the stories, so he kept silent, reading the stones in search of one special monument. There was no danger here that they didn't already risk just by waking up in the morning. The city had been utter chaos since the pandemic. A few more dead people, safely buried under decades-old tombstones, were hardly cause for concern. If anything, this place with its orderly rows and neatly carved markers was a relief.
It took them awhile to find it, but Mario finally announced, "This is it."
He unlatched his leather saxophone case. Behind him, Cee opened her flute case and began putting her instrument together.
Tim took his other snare stick out of his back pocket and scanned the area for a suitable stone to tap on. "You sure this is appropriate?" he asked while Mario affixed his reed.
"Are you kidding? Elijah Moore practically invented saxophone music in this town. He's the only national-calibre jazz musician we've ever had." He played a few warmup scales, then frowned and tightened his reed. "This is the first time since 1932 there hasn't been a jazz festival on his birthday, and we're going to make it up to him."
Tim and the flutist exchanged a look, then a shrug. "You're the boss."
Mario blew a few more notes, then had the girl play a C to his E-flat to make sure they were both in tune. When all was finally ready, he turned to Tim. "Don't just stand there, man. Lead us in."
If you enjoyed this story, check the sidebar, where you'll find the serialized novel, more flash fiction (including prequels), and other fun Steal Tomorrow stuff.