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  • Writer's pictureJabe Stafford

Pain Elemental Spa

A whole world on a single page!

The short story morsels of One Page Worlds are flash fiction adventures of all flavors. Every Wednesday will feature a complete story in one page, or the first page of what could be a novel or novelette.

Sharing the fun and geekery is the best part of writing! Please tweet or comment with your guesses on what genre, character, and job is central to each tale. Enjoy touring new universes each week with One Page Worlds!

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“The Sports Medicine Department missed out when you changed majors,” I groaned. His fingers flexed and kneaded a knot in my lower back. I actually felt my left hip sag into the soft masseuse’s table mat. The muscles had been twisting against my spine since last week.

Good thing my face was down in the head rest hole where he couldn’t see my expression.

But then all I could see was the floor tiles. Much less intriguing than Carsen.

“Alexis,” he murmured. “You can flip up for me. Quad time.”

Heat simmered beneath the skin he stopped touching. I spun around quick as I could. Maybe I’d re-injure myself and he’d have to give the same spot more attention. The back muscles stayed loosened. Damn it all. Damn last week.

Overhead lighting and cheap ceiling tiles filled most of what I could see. A Big Ten flag was pinned on the wall like a trophy/curtain combo. The muscular man in a polo shirt leaning over me grabbed both my eyes with his and held on. I flipped Carsen the bird. Both birds.

His lip flicked in a grin before he turned his deep eyes back to his work. “I said flip up. Either you failed English or you’re hosing me for free massages.”

I savored a languorous breath while he worked my right thigh near the knee. Earthen, salty scents of his skin combined with the warm mat on the air. A little peace snuck into me.

I’d enjoyed it a little too long, because Carsen added, “You were involved last week, weren’t you? That’s why you fight to be on my schedule.”

If it’d been anyone else, even my sister, I’d have snapped like a pissed off shark. To Carsen, I muttered, “Easier for the haters to rally against us than sit and talk. They might have to think then. Cultists like Curtliff shouldn’t have business with college students or elementals.”

“I sidelined myself from the public,” Carsen said, still rubbing, “so I could help the ones who bring the fight to them. I’m surprised that pain ordials like me are the first to arrive.”

“I’d make fun of your stereotype if you weren’t so good at making me—erm, you rock Carsen. I mean, our state just legalized gay marriage. I was in the rallies. People were on my side one day, psychotic the next. I thought they’d be more open.”

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