We did a walking tour earlier, so I count myself lucky it was dry until now. Now, the skies open up and loose millions of raindrops to race down soot-laden stone toward sidewalks older than my country. I’m skipping into a little jog toward the hotel, new cloak over my hunched head, when I spot the first circle, the size of a snack plate. We once scribbled white crayon on eggs and watched dye tiptoe around our shaky lines, the same way the water now clears this dry spot. I walk six feet and find another. I look up and there’s more.
It’s really coming down now. I don’t need to be told why a line of circles stretches from the door down the sidewalk, but if I squint through the sheets, I can see a walking tour in three centuries, huddled together to hear their guide over the downpour.
“Brilliant! We got lucky with the rain—you can’t always see this. Not that we don’t get enough rain here in Edinburgh, but sometimes it’s dry. Sometimes. You see these dry circles? You notice how they’re six feet apart? Can you think of why you’d need markers like this? Aye, close! This was actually a little later. See, back in the twenty-first century there was a lesser-known plague…”
Brooke Muschott is a writer, artist and roller skater living in California. At sixteen, she walked into her favorite author’s book signing with a list of the inconsistencies in his bestselling series and walked out with a job as a continuity editor. She’s gained more tact since then, but her love of detail hasn’t lessened. Check out her other work at brookemuschott.com.
WHY WE CHOSE TO PUBLISH “In Circles”:
We publish very little flash fiction and the pieces we select all have one thing in common: impact. While we’ve received our share of Covid-related pieces, we avoided most of them. Brooke Muschott’s well-set piece has the perfect resonance for the present as well as for readers in the future who did not experience the Covid-19 pandemic. What makes it even more interesting is that this short piece is set in the future.