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Winter Rose

My entry for @noah-cochran ‘s prompt.


“We have to travel light and fast. No more buffet-in-a-backpack.” Soren crossed her arms and looked across the other side of the narrow room at a grumpy-looking boy named Parr. He toed the polished wooden floor. His blush showed he knew that the “buffet-in-a-backpack” phrase was aimed at him.

“I think that food is a necessity,” Parr said at last. His dark eyes glinted in the orange light from variously sized lamps scattered about the room.

“Not in the quantity you’re proposing,” Kapera said from her place near the center of the room.  Soren hid a smile.  The amount of food Parr wanted to bring probably weighed more than the combined weights of every member of their team.

Kapera ignored Parr’s pointed look and grabbed one of the many trinkets lining the shelved walls.

“If I can’t bring my food Soren shouldn’t bring her books,” Parr sniffed.

Soren flushed pink. “My books are not like your food, Parsley.” She bit off the last word.

Parr became livid. He opened his mouth to respond but nothing came out. Soren grimaced. Maybe now was not the best time to call Parr by that particular nickname.

“He does have a point, Soren,” Kapera said.  Soren frowned. Now Kapera was taking sides? No, by her disinterested air, Kapera didn’t care which side she was on.

“Yeah, see? Kapera agrees with me!” Parr said with a grin.

“Slow down, Parr, I said you have a valid point,” Kapera said. “I didn’t say I agreed with you.”

“Uh, I think you did,” Parr retorted. Irritation flared in Soren’s chest.

“No, she didn’t!” Soren said. “Parr and Kapera, those books are very important, both to me and to the mission. Everyone else on the team knows that!”

“But it’s not fair that you get to bring what you want and I don’t.” Parr grumped.

“That’s because I actually need what I want!” Soren said. She huffed; Parr had to make everything more difficult than it needed to be.

“Well, I need food!” Parr yelled.  Soren narrowed her eyes. Parr began fidgeting with a basket of knick-knacks on the wall behind him. His expression mirrored that of a cornered animal who knew it was doomed but didn’t want to go easy.

Kapera interjected. “We need to look out for the best interest of the mission, not our own desires.”

“Exactly! The mission needs the books!” Soren said, triumphant. As long as Kapera didn’t change her stance again, she and Soren could get Parr to submit.

“The mission also needs food!” Parr shot back.

“No it doesn’t!” Soren took a menacing step towards Parr. This boy was so insolent! How had she survived him for so long?

“Get off it, Soren, just let me bring my food!” Parr gestured wildly and the tip of his finger caught an elegant glass vase on a high shelf.  It toppled from the shelf and a thousand tiny shards scattered across the unforgiving hard floor.

“Oops,” Parr said.

What I know in my head and what I believe in my heart are two entirely different things.

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