Friday Flash: Parchment


The spirit words called to Kim in a way she never anticipated. As she stood in the shop, admiring the scripts hanging from its walls, she read every word. They summoned her, demanded her attention. Pick me, pick me…  She felt cocooned in their voices, surrounded by the tones and tempestuous spirits of their creators.

To make the choice more difficult, they were composed as though from many eras, though their creators did not necessarily pick from the materials of their own. A young boy might stroke his words in brown ink with the bristles of an old horse-hair brush, while a grandmother of ninety-and-nine years might have typed hers across a crisp 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of printer paper. But which one was the right one?

The young woman wondered, not for the first time, what crucial ingredient embedded the souls trapped in this room? Was it the words themselves, the way they were composed, or the quality of the materials they lived on that tied the spirits to this world? Did it make a difference if the messages of the dead were written in ink or blood, on vellum or paper? Was it perhaps the combination itself, some unholy trinity composed to keep their minds and spirits bound to the physical realm?

She would choose the correct words in time to free her grandmother’s soul from the sorcerer who had bought it. She must. The old woman had gambled her eternity in the afterlife to keep them both from starving in this one. She had saved her granddaughter’s life at the risk of her own. Now it was time to return the favor.

Swallowing hard, Kim pointed one trembling finger at a long, faded parchment and said, “This one.”


*image courtesy of

*inspired by a photo prompt at the six minute story site, but completed on my own. I hope you enjoyed it!

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