Flash Fiction Friday – Gleamies (Special preview!)

I’ve got a bit of a special piece of flash fiction for you today: a preview for an upcoming Patreon-exclusive serial! That’s right guys, I’m getting a Patreon! I’m launching it in Jan, and it’ll basically be one big experiment. I wanted to start “warming up” for it, so here is a little scene of the main character engaged in a hobby:

 

Sara opened the envelope and poured the contents onto the kitchen table. Dozens of little scraps of paper, printed on one side and blank on the other, rained down onto the tablecloth. Paper scraps, people called them, or gleamies, which she preferred. This lot was mostly from the 50s and 60s, or reprints of designs from then, all picturesque and brightly colored. Apple-cheeked children playing house, bouquets of flowers, fluffy kittens… There were more modern designs too, though Sara had yet to find any of children playing video games or trading Pokémon cards. She had a soft spot for the really old ones, from before the turn of the last century. They were often frail and worn, the colors more muted, but they were beautiful, often designed with greater artistic skill than the younger ones and less common because they weren’t reprinted as often.
When she was little, Sara had collected them in albums and traded with her friends, always fiercely envious of whoever had the largest, prettiest ones, the ones with the most glitter. In her late teens, she’d found the albums in a box of old things and begun using them to do crafts. She turned the little ones into earrings and cell-phone charms and made postcards or decorated notebooks with the medium and large ones. The worn or broken she used for decoupage, layering them over each other on magazine stands, jewelry boxes and sometimes small pieces of furniture. She knew now that gleamies didn’t do well in albums, that the adhesive left residue on the backs when it got old. She knew, too, that the glittery ones weren’t always the prettiest. On the contrary, she’d seen many nice gleamies ruined by sloppy application of glitter. Now she didn’t collect them just to collect, now it was a business, however small. It didn’t earn much, but it made enough to keep her in gleamies and other craft supplies and to rent stalls at markets at regular intervals, and a humble little profit to boot. It made enough that, should it take her a little while to find a new job, she would still have spending-money while her savings went to rent and food.
She went through the gleamies one by one as she always did, separating the ones she wanted to keep from the ones she would put up for sale again. This one would be a fridge magnet, this one a broach… this one she kept just because it was too pretty to get rid of. She picked up a fairy and ran her thumb over the gossamer wings. The fairies had always been her favorites. They always reminded her of the fairies she’d played with as a child, on the island in the summers before she knew fairies weren’t real. Those fairies had been differently proportioned, drawn-out, ethereal and bug-eyed, not just shrunken, pretty humans like the ones on the gleamies, but even so the idea was the same. They still loved flowers, still loved dancing. Or, well, in her childish imagination they had. Sara sighed. It was strange how sad it still made her, all these years later, to think of her fairies and how they hadn’t been real.
“At least I have these…” she said and put the fairy in the keep pile. It would make a pretty bookmark.

I’m looking forward to working on this project. The MC, Sara, is going to be an alternative version of me, and the setting will be an alternative Stockholm. Basically, it’ll be a light-hearted, but intimate, love-letter to my home town, but with, you guessed it, fairies! And other things! Much yay! Of course, I’ll let you all know when my Patreon is up and running! Hope you’ve had a lovely Christmas!

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