Poisoned City ten years on
Katrina S. Forest
This flash sequel takes place ten years after the events of “The Poisoned City”, first published in 2014, and was written to celebrate the tenth anniversary of TFF. If you want to see more fiction like this in the future, please support our fundraiser, where you can pre-order the celebration anthology and pick up other exciting rewards.Bria sat in the back row of the theater, rolling a sour gummy around her mouth. She wore captioning goggles, but hardly needed them. The vibrating bass music emphasized how exciting the trailer was. And besides, she knew this story.
“(Male announcer) In a city overcome by a mysterious plague… [DRAMATIC MUSIC] …the antidote formula must be smuggled inside a robot… [DRAMATIC MUSIC] …and delivered by a warrior known only as…”
The scene changed from desolate buildings to a well-muscled, less-clothed Bria look-alike. “…the Courier of Hope!”
Bria’s lips curled, and she swallowed the gummy. Stupid trailers. Stupid theater that played stupid trailers. She removed the goggles, dumping them and the candy box on the floor. As she leaned back in her chair again, her arm brushed against Kristopher’s cool, mechanized body. He noted the goggles with a head tilt, but then his gaze fell to something past Bria. She turned to a see a tween girl in a conservative blue dress moving down the row. The girl met Bria’s eyes and gave an excited wave.
“Hey, Nadine!” Bria signed. “Where’s your dad?”
Nadine motioned in the highly specific direction of somewhere behind her. “Getting snacks,” she signed back. “Says he trusts you not to kidnap me.” She plopped down next to Bria and focused on the screen. “Oh, wow! Is this your movie?”
Bria felt the candy turning her stomach. “If you’re suggesting I had any hand in this monstrosity, no.”
Nadine shrugged, but didn’t reply beyond that. On screen, Actress-Bria waved a gun fit to take down a small whale. She also passionately kissed a guy that real Bria had never met. Nadine devoured it; eyes wide, knees bouncing, the works.
“You know none of it happened like this, right?” Bria asked. As if to prove her point, the floor vibrated twice, and Actress-Bria shot the arm off a mutated rat-man.
Nadine’s knees stilled. “I know,” she signed, straightening with indignation as only a ten-year-old could. “But it’s… it’s like…” She circled her hands around each other, searching for the right word. “I like imagining that this is how things went. It helps me, you know?”
Bria didn’t know, but she nodded anyway. In a few minutes, Nadine’s dad entered the row with enough popcorn to make everyone’s hands smell permanently of salt and butter. Bria leaned back in her seat, scooping up the gummy box right as the trailer ended. Maybe she’d been a bit harsh on the film. But it did look ridiculous. She pulled out a gummy and shuffled it around her hand with a few hot kernels. The candy melted lines of green sugar across her palm. She took that as a bonus. If some stupid movie helped Nadine, Bria was the last one who’d wish that away.