The flip of a coin

Submitted into Contest #184 in response to: Set your story during a complete city or nation-wide blackout.... view prompt


Black Fiction Suspense

Everybody knows that it’s not supposed to snow in fucking Texas. Every year the weatherman forecasts snowy weather…… and every year there’s not a speck of snow on the gotdamn grown

Those were the rules.

Snowy weather was just an excuse to have snow days to call off from work and school. They were supposed to be relaxing.

However, that meant that Slushy Jackson was not supposed to trudging through four foot deep snow, in the middle of gotdamn nowhere, and searching for a winter spirit.

Okay, to be fair– Everything started a couple of weeks ago when she was working her shitty job at the local grocery store. She was a cashier and it was her job to ring up people’s items, greet them, and wish them well when they left. She was supposed to be friendly and personable.

Anyone who has ever met Slushy Jackson would tell you that she’s generally grumpy as a rule. She’s also kind enough to follow her own personal creed. Which went as follows: 

 1)Mind her gotdamn business

 2)Mind her gotdamn business

 3) Mind her gotdamn business.

Which is where the problem started……

Slushy was doing her job at the local grocery store.She would honestly tell you that she hated it…But it kinda paid the bills. Okay… who was she kidding…. It barely paid the bills and she was currently living off of ramen noodles.

Now everyone who's ever  interacted with Slushy Jackson while she was at work knew how she operated when they came through her line. You either got fast service….. Or you got friendliness. You could not have both. You either got quick, efficient service—And got the hell on with your day— Or Slushy would stop trying to work and try to force her face into some semblance of friendliness. 

No one wanted her to be friendly.  It was an in-store rule that the customers who preferred friendly cashiers don’t come through her line.

The customers who want to get in and get out of the store….. Well– they fucking love her.

Except for one person. He was constantly breaking Slushy’s rules and wanted to have a friendly conversation while his groceries were being checked out. 

Jamal Jackson was the bane of her existence.

“ Hey girl….” Jamal said in a friendly voice as he loaded his overfilled grocery cart onto the loading belt for checkout. “Did you hear about those people who froze to death inside their homes?!”

Slushy grunted at him in answer as her hands quickly scanned and bagged his shit ton of groceries. She wasn’t talkative at the best of times.

“It’s crazy right?!” Jamal continued conversationally, “ Like…. They found these people literally covered in ice. I mean…. It’s not like we live in fucking Alaska or something. This is Texas for goodness sake! These freak snow storms are getting on my nerves and making my heating bill soooooo high. Oh…. and girl…. When you gonna come by the salon again and let me do your hair? It’s time to redo those braids girl! How about some color this time? I was thinking we put some gold cuffs in them and……”

Slushy tuned him out. Jamal was a talker and she was not. She was barely friendly on a good day.

But that did get her to thinking……

The weatherman on the news said it was gonna get really bad….. To be ready to hunker down for days and to be ready to be snowed in. Slushy normally didn’t pay that any mind…. The weather man said that every year….. And every year nothing happened.

Except this time.

There seemed to be random freak cold spells making its way slowly through the state of Texas. There was no rhyme or reason…. It’s just that suddenly everything would be suddenly covered in snow and ice….. And it was wreaking havoc on everyone’s lives.

Which was why Slushy was following a snowflake during the town black out in the middle of bumfuck nowhere.

It started when her grandma called her from Alabama and told her that the freak snow storms moving across the state of Texas were not in fact snowstorms…. But a Winter Spirit who went by the name of Jack Frost. Sometimes Old Man Winter. That sort of thing. A Fairy tail. Now Slushy didn’t dare call her grandma crazy…. But her grandma was sorta crazy.

“ I need you take care of it….” Her grandma told her and gave her an old hoodoo spell that would catch a snowflake in a vial and lead her to Jack Frost. Now, the spell was easy enough…. She caught a snowflake in a vial at midnight and hung it on a necklace. Did the little ritual, tried not to think about it (hoodoo is not for the faint of heart) and found herself with a magic snowflake leading her to Jack Frost.

What she wasn’t expecting was the ice…. The ice was so bad that it weighed the tree branches down in her small city and it looked like the trees were bowing to the ground. There were icicles hanging off the power lines…. And it was only a matter of time before everyone’s power went out and the small city went dark. Slushy’s car engine was frozen and wouldn’t start…..and that left Slushy to travel on foot, in the freezing cold, in four feet of snow, in the freaking woods, and following a fucking snowflake to deal with a winter spirit.

 Slushy was a cashier for a reason…. She wanted normal and she wanted boring and she didn’t want to be trudging through the gotdamn snow in the middle of nowhere, with no service on her phone, and while freezing her ass off. She was bundled up as warm as she could with her parka jacket,  boots, and woolen cap. She could see her breath fog up in front of her and her long braids were frosted at the tips. She had to pick up her feet and literally stomp through the snow. The small blue vial floating in front of her from the necklace on her neck. It had a single glowing magic snowflake inside it.

 The forest around her was dark and cold.

 It reminded her of a fairy tail. Specifically, about Little Red Riding Hood walking along a creepy forest,and meeting the Big Bad Wolf.

Only this time…. She most likely wouldn’t be meeting a wolf….. But something possibly far more sinister.

After what felt like forever….. Slushy finally saw a little, shabby cabin in the middle of the forest. It had warm golden light coming from the windows.

 Slushy paused in her trek for a moment.

 This seemed like a very bad idea.

 It didn’t matter how cozy the little cabin looked. This was like literally every horror movie that she had ever seen. A cabin in the middle of nowhere, and with something questionable in the forest with her.

 Slushy stood staring at the cabin for long minutes as she tried to plan her next move— when all of a sudden she felt a freezing breeze pass her.

“You gonna go knock on the door or you just gonna stand here and freeze your ass off girl.” A smooth voice said from beside her.

Slushy jumped about a foot in the air and whirled to see a man beside her. He was bundled up in the freezing weather with a worn jacket, scarf, snow boots, and a woolen cap on his head. He had smooth dark skin…. And he had long dreadlocks hanging to his shoulders. The thing that caught her attention though were his eyes…… They were silver white. It reminded her of the  snow and they seemed to glow from something within him. 

He didn’t appear young or old…. He was just…. Something.

Slushy finally found her voice.

“Let me guess….. “ She said around the lump in her throat, “ You’re Jack Frost?”

The man tilted his head at her and shrugged with a charming smile.

“I’ve been called that….” He says with a melodious voice.The air around them seemed to get colder and snow began to fall. “I’ve been called many things. What are you called, child?”

Slushy regarded him for a moment.

“Slushy. Slushy Jackson.” She replied to the creature in front of her, “ It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

The thing in front of her continued to smile at her. It’s glowing eyes taking her in from head to toe…. And then focusing on the vial with the magic snowflake caught in it. It was glowing the bright silver of its eyes and it was now resting against the front of her jacket.

“Jackson huh?” It said to her, “ You kin to the Jackson witches out of Alabama? You got that type of feel to ya.”

“Yes.” Slushy said formally, “ I’m the granddaughter of Winter Jackson. She’s the one who sent me here.”

The thing who was sometimes a man smiled even wider at her.

“My, my….. The granddaughter of Winter?” He said whimsically, “ How time does fly? Seems just like yesterday that Winter was a sassy lil’ girl stickin’ her nose where it don’t belong. Seems like she didn’t grow outta that. You wanna come in girl…. I know you humans ain’t really partial to the cold.”

Slushy hesitated a moment before nodding her assent and following the man up to the cabin. If possible… it seemed to get colder as they got closer. Jack opened the door and a warm golden light filled the room even though it was freezing. He looked over his shoulder at Slushy and waved a gentlemanly arm inside.

“Ladies first.” Jack said with a smile, “ Make yourself comfortable child.”

Slushy nodded and walked into the sparsely decorated cabin. It was one roomed,with a fireplace…. But had no fire….. Just warm, golden light filling it.The only thing it had in it was a small wooden table with two chairs. 

Slushy took a deep breath and picked a chair. The thing sat across from her. It stared at her with glowing eyes.

“Now….” Jack said leaning forward in his chair and putting his elbows on the table, “ What’s a Jackson Witch want with lil’ ole me?”

Slushy swallowed and took a deep breath. She knew the creature in front of her was old and powerful….. It had been walking this earth a long time…. Had folktalkes written about it. She would have to tread carefully.

“Are you the cause of the ice storms going across the state?” Slushy asked respectfully as she folded her hands in her lap.

“You know I am.” Jack said amicably. He seemed amused more than anything.

Slushy paused for a moment before asking her next question…. It was a hunch more than anything.

“Are you also the reason for the people frozen to death in their homes?” She asked again and watched as a wide smile covered the man’s face.It got even colder in the room. She saw her breath puff up even foggier.

“Yep.” The thing said in amusement as it sat back in his chair, “ Why…..those cold hearted people wouldn’t let an old, homeless, wandering man into their home in the middle of a snowstorm. So I just made they’re outsides match their insides.”

Slushy stared at Jack Frost for a long moment. Her grandmother had told her stories about Jack Frost…. He wasn’t good or bad…. He just was. There really wasn’t a reason that he would do such a thing for moral reasons.

“Why would you do that?” Slushy asked…. Her curiosity finally getting the better of her.

It shrugged.

“Why not?” Jack responded.

“Because killing is bad.” She replied matter-of-factly.

It tilted its head.

“Says who?” Jack responded– His voice beginning to change. It  got deeper, more powerful….  Slushy could see frost starting to cover the walls of the cabin.

“Everyone.” Slushy said with a shrug, “ People.”

Jack Frost looked at Slushy for a long, long time. Its eyes seemed to get brighter.

“Do I look like “people” to you child?” It responded and Slushy was finally aware that she was talking to an it. She watched as its skin began to change from dark skinned to pale white….. It’s hair changing from coarse dreads—-To fine pale white hair.

 Its eyes were the only thing that stayed the same as it changed from a young black man to an old white man in front of her eyes.

“No you don’t.” Slushy said calmly,” But you need to stop killing regardless.”

The old man changed to a young pale skinned man,“Why should I do that?”

Slushy shrugged. Her grandma had told her a bit about Jack’s personality…. And that there was one thing he couldn’t resist.

 But it was dangerous.

“How about we gamble for it?” Slushy said reaching into her pocket and pulling out a coin, “ First bet is gonna be quick. It’ll be the deciding bet. After that…. We’ll see.”

She watched as Jack Frost suddenly leaned forward at the table. His skin turned dark again…. And his hair turning into coarse dreadlocks. He aged to an charming, old, black man.

“A gamble?” He said with laughter in his voice, “ You really are Winter’s granddaughter. Only one of her kin would be so bold.”

“You’re a gambler.” Slushy said matter-of-factly, “ And gamblers like to gamble. I bet those people you killed would’ve lived if they let you inside their homes. It was basically just a coin flip.”

She held up the coin in her hand.

“Heads or Tails. Best Two outta three.” Slushy said grimly, “ Winner picks the stakes. I win….. You stop killing people and stop the ice storms.”

Jack smiled.

“You willing to be your life girl?” It asked as its voice changed into something deeper and inhuman.

“I’m here aren’t I?” Slushy asked, “ Heads or Tails?”

Jack Frost grinned at her– Suddenly not a man shaped thing at all. 

But a creature of frost and cold and ice….and there was no way it could be mistaken for anything human.

“Tails.” It said with a grin, “ Flip the coin child.”

Slushy took a deep breath…… 

And flipped the coin.

February 09, 2023 19:11

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F.O. Morier
21:09 Feb 15, 2023

Wow! What a pleasant read. No let me take that back! A GREAT READ. Loved reading it!


Erica Dorsey
03:07 Feb 16, 2023

Awww..... Thank you so much. I'm new to the writing scene so this made my evening!


F.O. Morier
19:36 Feb 21, 2023

You make it sound sooooooooooooooooo serious... Please don´t forget to have fun! Fun! Fun! Fun!


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Amanda Fox
20:23 Feb 14, 2023

This was a treat to read - I love the tone, and Slushy is a great character.


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Chris Campbell
15:49 Feb 10, 2023

Erica, Nice fantasy story. To me, this is about things or people like Jack Frost that can never change. It's about how we deal with situations or personalities that help mould us into better people. Our actions and reactions in life, help us to evolve as human beings. Slushy bravely puts her life on the line to stand up against something she deems immoral and a threat to her community's existence. Her resistance is the front line of her neighbours' battleground against an approaching menace. Whatever Jack Frost's true intentions are, they a...


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