Steal Tomorrow Extra: Sweets for the Sweet

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This flash fiction piece was written for Sunday Scribblings. It is not part of the novel and it contains no spoilers. I've embedded links to spoiler-free supplemental information, where appropriate. Be sure to drop by Sunday Scribblings for more fun!

Danica rifled through their canned goods and other packaged foods salvaged from empty buildings. It was hard to find food six months after the pandemic, so she knew she should be grateful for what they had. Nevertheless, she sighed in frustration and went into the living room. "I want something sweet."

Danny looked up from cleaning one of his guns. "You're sweet."

"That's not what I mean, and you know it." She flung herself onto the sofa. "I'd kill for a cupcake."

"And I'd kill anyone who tried to take one from you." He set the Colt aside, stood up and strapped on his Glock. "How about I go see what I can find for you, babe?"

Danica smiled and shook her head. "There aren't any cupcakes any more. Even if someone had all the ingredients, how would they bake them without gas or electricity?"

"You never know. World's a weird place these days."

"Tell me about it." Danica leaned back and closed her eyes.

Danny moved toward the window. Rappelling was their preferred method of entering and exiting their third-story apartment, since one could never be sure what kind of thugs might be lurking outside a doorway. "Wait here. If there's a cupcake anywhere in this city, I'll get it for you."

He was out the window and down the rope before Danica could collect her thoughts. She dashed across the room and called after him. Her little cravings weren't worth risking his life, but he merely smiled and waved from the street, and then he was gone.

Should she go after him? By the time she got properly dressed and armed, Danny would be long gone. She would have to wait. After pacing the room a few moments, she sat on the sofa, picked up a book and willed herself to read it. Her eyes scanned the pages for several minutes before she set the book aside in frustration. How could she concentrate when the boy who was friend, lover, and her only living relative was out there on a foolish mission in the dangerous, gang-ridden city?

Why had she even opened her mouth? Danny had always been crazy about her, even when they were children, back in normal times when they weren't all infected with a retrovirus that ended lives at eighteen. He would do anything for her, no matter how ridiculous. Cupcakes, indeed.

The sun lowered in the sky and shadows lengthened. Danica grew increasingly agitated as she paced the room, peered out windows, and started at even the most ordinary of sounds. Where was he? Had he been hurt? How would she find him? Was it possible that he was...she couldn't complete the thought. He had to be all right. After everything else she had lost, life couldn't be that cruel, could it?

Finally at dusk she heard a sound at the window and nearly fainted in relief to see Danny climbing the rope. He jumped into the room and she threw her arms around him. "Don't ever do that again. I was worried sick."

"You know nothing would ever keep me from you." Danny pulled away and rummaged in a small pack. "I found you this." He set out a can of peaches.

Danica picked it up reverently.

"Sorry it's not a cupcake."

"But it is sweet." Danica leaned toward him and kissed him on the lips. "And so are you."

If you enjoyed this story, check the sidebar, where you'll find the serialized novel, more stories, and other fun Steal Tomorrow stuff.


Jae Rose said...

The cupcake..a little treasure through which you showed this bleak near future..but still a place where love and friendship keeps the world sweet..Jae

Altonian said...

A concisely full story. Very satisfying in it's short completeness. Well done!

Lilibeth said...

A bit of sweetness in this tale of a bitter life. Well written and concise.

Dee Martin said...

even for all their weirdness they are an endearing this little bit of sweetness :)

Alice Audrey said...

Awww. Wait. How messed up am I that I think they're cute?

Arianna said...

Cute story, and very well written. I enjoyed it :) Thanks for sharing it!

K said...

Hi Ann.

This story give us some sweet insight into the more sensitive (less raunchy ;)) side of the twins. I so enjoyed this. And as always, your writing was spot on!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Am I the only person who doesn't understand why they aren't using a campfire to make ... well, cake?

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

@Susan: How many teenagers know how to bake in a box cooker? How many know how to build and use a brick or mud oven? How many can bake cupcakes at all? I don't doubt that somewhere there are kids who can figure it out, but the likelihood that those kids reside in the city and can find all the necessary ingredients seems small six months after the last delivery truck.

Julia Phillips Smith said...

Great tension during this scene - and an unexpected way to bring her something sweet at the end.