Friday, July 23, 2010

Tavernier Dimensions (Friday Flash)

The wind off the Moskva River ruffled Jean-Baptiste's fur-trimmed coat as the bells of St. Basil's Cathedral rang. Jean-Baptiste swore. Respect required you arrive on time. Jean-Baptiste, purveyor to kings, deserved respect. An eccentric place for business, but he'd learned to trust in eccentricity. It had given him Hope.

A slit-eyed man wore a coat that puffed over his scarf and three sweaters. The seller from the Far East. Jean-Baptiste wagered the seller was fifty, a youngster.

"Sorry I'm late. I hope you're not too cold."

"Warm enough," said Jean-Baptiste. "Do you have it?"

The iron box filled the seller's hand.

Jean-Baptiste gripped his jeweler's glass waiting for the stone's debut. "I must appraise the stone."

The seller withheld the box. "This is different, unlike any stone you've had."

Jean-Baptiste closed his eyes as the winter chilled his temper. "Different?"

"The gem marks a split-point in our reality where the wielder can fold the fourth dimension through the fifth dimension."

"Nonsense," said Jean-Baptiste.

"The man who touches the facets can travel through time."

The seller raved. Yet, Jean-Baptiste recalled echoes of the seller's intensity. Gems did that to one. Gems that mattered. The money was Louis's and besides hadn't he earned the right to take a risk after eighty-nine years.

He exchanged gold for the box and lifted the lid to caress a facet. The world spun in a cacophony of reflected light. He released the gem. Spring sunlight cascaded across trees dotted with buds along the Moskva.

This is an entry in Jason Evan's Clarity of Night Uncovered writing contest. Check it out, you still have time to enter your own flash.


  1. Love the speculative element in this story. Great work!

  2. What a great concept, loved this! Well done! :)

  3. Interesting concept, but it feels incomplete somehow. Does he also get younger, or simply travel in time? To what end? I'm all questions, here! Well written though, good job.

  4. Thank-you, Valerie. It's a "true" story as far as the element goes. (Jean-Baptiste Tavernier disappeared in Moscow when he was eighty-nine years old.) However, the end could be improved, since the time travel is clear; but no he doesn't get younger; but he does get to travel to some interesting places.

  5. Thank-you Ganymeder & Estrella!

  6. This piece has all the elements that make up great flash fiction. Very cool take on time travel too, thanks.

  7. Good piece. I like how you fit so much into a flash. And ah...from winter to spring, gotta love that! Cool idea with using a facet to shift reality.

  8. Awesome concept. I liked how you took a bit of actual history and spun it into the story.