The Arbitrator

*This little vignette was an entry into San Diego City Beat Magazine’s annual Fiction 101 contest, where the challenge was to write a short story using only 101 words. I didn’t win, but I did place 16th out of 200+ stories and was I was featured on the contest’s website. Google the 2018 contest if you wish to see it there!

The Arbitrator

The kettle boiled over, screaming a broken battle cry. A sinister smile dances across your lips as you watch the Earl Grey bleed black, swirling tendrils, creeping toward the false refuge of the surface. “There is no escape,” you whisper, as you summon Charybdis with your spoon.

“Can we talk?” 

His voice breaks your entrancement. You meet his gaze evenly, his cup placid between his hands. “I’m so sorry…” he continues, but his words are lost to you. 

  And he said tea is the perfect arbitrator, you think wryly… but he knew nothing of the devil and the deep blue sea. 

~Kate Cummings, 2018

The Arbitrator

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