Thursday 30 May 2024

Slave Master by Cate Covert, a grape Fizzy--remember Fizzies?


Slave Master

by Cate Covert

This might be a grape Fizzy--remember Fizzies?



My name is Timidity, and my master, Fear — he’s the decrepit old crow-looking thing perched on my shoulder — dictates my life because though I hate him, I can’t evict him, for he has instilled myriad shuddering reasons for me to dread losing him.

He’s usually vigilant, but sometimes he sleeps, so I must fret and it’s hard work. But I do it efficiently for no reward because gluttonous Fear eats all of the fruit of my night and day terrors, though he hasn’t actually stolen a thing from me, because I’ve given it all to him VOLUNTARILY. Deep down inside I’m like a zombie who wants to ransack the lab to find the magic medicine that will turn me back into a real girl, and I resent him as he gloats and reminds me that I am nothing without him.

I despise myself, but I can’t seem to cut off his whispery, cackling commentary because without him to consider the dangers and troubleshoot every angle, I might make a mistake, so here I remain.

My cousin, Faith, will visit soon, but it’s hard to tolerate her — she’s so cheerful — but she brings me food, medicine, and magazines every Wednesday at 9am, so I grit my teeth and force myself to smile at her pitiful attempts to comfort me. ‘Hi, how are you Timidity, but dear you must get that nasty creature off your shoulder because he’s just using you, and can you see how shriveled and ugly he is, except for his nasty, bloated belly, where he hoards your victories?’  I end up aggravated because she won’t listen to my litany of aches and pains, fears for today, tonight, tomorrow, next week, and next year.

Still, in a moment of weakness, to appease her, I crane my neck, and I can’t see the imp, but she asks me if I want to be FREE—if Fear has heard this, he raises no objection, so in spite of myself I raise my eyebrows to Faith, who whispers ‘He is sleeping’, so I gasp (before I can change my mind) ‘HELP ME!’

Fear stirs, but with astonishing speed, Faith sweeps him off my shoulder and onto the floor, stomping him to make sure he is dead, while I — wondering as the lights fade why I didn’t do that for myself long ago — mercifully faint.

About the Author

 Since she could talk, Cate Covert has been regaling friends and family with her tall tales. She loves engaging with her reading audiences. Her poetry, flash fiction, and humorous stories reside at Cate Covert on, and her Inspirational essays at Pastora Cate’s Corner on Substack. 

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