With Power

Typically when posting a piece of flash fiction based on a 500 Club prompt, I post the prompt right up front, too. That way you know what requirement I was trying to meet when pounding out my 500 words. However, telling you the prompt for this piece of flash fiction would spoil all the fun, so I’m leaving you to fly blind.

I will say that I don’t feel it’s my strongest piece of flash fiction, but I’m really trying to stick to my resolution to write more this year. Then again, you just might like it. Feel free to let me know either way in the comments.

with power

Special Investigator Watson was matter of fact. “That’s a tired excuse. It’s chicken shit. And it’s bullshit. It’s just shit. Pick any kind of shit you want. It’s shit.”

The coven was wide-eyed. They stared at SI Watson like she had just grown an extra set of arms.

Sharon Marshall, one of the older witches, was the first to speak. “Ms. Watson, I hardly think–”

“It’s SI Watson.”

“Very well, SI Watson, I hardly think we’re the first coven to express our…hesitancy to trust a government agency staffed entirely by people who have no experience in the craft. And furthermore, we may be hedonistic by your agency’s puritanical standards, but we do not care for such language.”

“I don’t care for your shit,” Watson countered.

“Well, I…”

“Sharon, let me.” A young witch stepped forward. Margaret Hemmingsworth. She was the youngest in the coven but she had an old soul. Even the elderly witches were inclined to respect her.

“Yes?” Watson asked.

“What do you want to know, specifically?”

“I need to know your meeting times. Your specializations. Your stance on the dark arts. I need to know what ley line magic you practice, the frequency of blood covenants, if you or anyone in your coven has made a pact with a demon. And I need to see your cupboards–your potions and charms.”

Margaret Hemmingsworth tilted her head. “Why?”

SI Watson continued with practiced indifference. “Public safety, primarily. Also, in the event of a crime with potentially supernatural elements, this information could serve to eliminate members of your coven from the suspect pool.”

“And what of our right to privacy?”

“It is the official stance of all governmental agencies that national security and public safety outweigh any individual’s right to privacy. We understand, of course, your discomfort and we offer our sincerest apologies.”

Margaret Hemmingsworth thought for a moment. Sharon Marshall’s face was red with the effort required to hold her tongue. Margaret Hemmingsworth continued, “But do you understand Sharon’s assertion? Do you understand that, official apologies or not, we feel invaded upon for the sake of a public who discriminates against us? Do you understand why we would feel far more comfortable discussing these matters with one of our own?”

“I do,” SI Watson said. “However, it is the official stance of the Department of Special Investigations that no Special Investigator may be a practitioner.”

“I see,” said Margaret Hemmingsworth. Her lips were pursed.

SI Watson leaned forward slightly. “I would imagine, though, that you would feel more comfortable disclosing the requested information with me were I to say that as a sister in the craft I vow my powers and my principals that I mean you no harm and no harm will befall you by these hands.” SI Watson exposed her palms. There was a slight pop as static in the air built and then released. “Were I able to say that, I mean. With power.”

“With power, indeed,” Margaret Hemmingsworth said. And then she answered all of SI Watson’s questions.