An Unusual Formation

‘So tell me what we’re looking at?’ Amelia sighed, rattling her pen against the plastic clipboard. Her one day off all month and something finally happens! She shook her head; it was typical, bloody typical.

Next to the cordoned area Grace crouched with the tails of her lab coat tucked up behind her hips, lips pursed into a small crinkle of dark red gloss as she worried the giga counter between her hands.

‘I’m not sure,” she admitted with a small shrug. ‘It looks…’ she paused, perfect white teeth tugging at her bottom lip.

Amelia shivered and turned her gaze back to her forms.

‘Well it doesn’t look man-made,’ Grace finished, pushing off with the balls of her feet and rising gracefully. Turning away from the mess of molten crystal embedded in the far corner of St. Gregory’s car park she frowned at the gaggle of hospital night staff still meandering around just behind Amelia.

‘Do you want me to tell them to move the cordon back?” asked Amelia, glancing in the same direction and scowling at the sudden flash of a camera phone. She hated having her picture taken. Grace had to drag her into photos at parties and events, pinning her in place with a glossy manicured hand around her waist and she attempted to smile and not grimace at the photographer.

‘Maybe,’ murmured Grace. ‘It’s not radioactive, but that doesn’t mean that it’s safe.’

‘I’ll get one of the guys to shift them,” Amelia nodded and raised her hand to wave in the direction of one of the hazmat crew.’

The tap of Grace’s heels announced her presence at Amelia’s side.

‘It should be fine,” she shrugged. ‘No indication of organic matter inside whatever it is, and the guys haven’t found anything to suggest that it might be toxic,’

‘But still better to be safe than sorry,’ Amelia finished for her. ‘I know hun, you don’t need to explain yourself to me.’

Grace smiled at her softly.

‘There are days where I can’t believe I actually found you.’

Amelia found herself grinning back.

‘Well you did insist on trawling through the mental hospitals.’ She chuckled as Grace’s fist connected with her arm.

‘I’ve told you before,” said Grace. ‘It’s only you who thinks you’re insane.’

‘I’m also the only one, who can see the inside of my mind,’ Amelia shrugged. ‘I’d say I’m pretty qualified to judge.’

Shaking her head Grace turned back to the cordoned area and stared at the unidentified object again.

‘How are the boys doing with getting this thing out of the ground?’ she asked.

‘They’re getting there,” Amelia told her. ‘It’s wedged in pretty well so it’s taking a bit of time. They said they will have it in your lab by this lunch.’

‘Lunch?’ Grace checked her watch and swore. ‘We missed the play!’

‘Not just the play,’ Amelia muttered.

‘I’m so sorry.’

‘Not your fault,’ Amelia shrugged. ‘Unless you’ve suddenly developed the ability to command weird, unidentifiable objects and force them to fall from the sky on our anniversary just so you can get out of Shakespeare.’

‘I like Shakespeare!’

‘No, you like Kenneth what’s-his-name,’ Amelia corrected. ‘You tolerate Shakespeare.’

‘Meh,’ said Grace, ‘I suppose it doesn’t really matter now, you can’t see a play you’re three hours late for. We’ll just have to try again next year.’

‘We said that last year, and the year before,’ Amelia reminded her. ‘So far you owe me a Much Ado About Nothing, and two Midsummer Night’s Dreams.’

‘Well,’ Grace smirked, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream is something I can do all by myself.’

‘Oh no you-’ The rest of Amelia’s sentence disappeared as Grace’s mouth descended,  dark red lips cutting off the rest of her protest.

‘That’s cheating,’ she whispered when Grace finally pulled away. ‘And very unprofessional.’’

‘Who cares, I’m the boss around here.’

‘Yeah, you are. So perhaps you should think about doing your job,’ Amelia hinted.

‘Fine,’ sighed Grace. ‘If you insist!’

Stalking back over to the mangled thing she tugged a pen out of her top pocket and held it carefully between her thumb and forefinger.

‘You might want to stand back,’ she suggested, speaking to the hazmat crew still hovering around. She waited until they had all stepped back and then she lent in closer. ‘Ready?’ she asked.

Confused, Amelia glanced down at her form.

‘I suppose,’ she replied. ‘What are you about to do exactly?’

‘This!’ Grace grinned, and jabbed the pen directly towards the joint where two spikes of the crystal thing met.

The pen made a thud and stopped.

‘See,’ said Grace straightening up. ‘Harmless.’

‘Uhuh,’ said Amelia. ‘I’ll have to take your word for that. Exactly what was that supposed to prove?’

‘The pen thing?’ Grace asked. ‘Oh, well nothing really. I just couldn’t think of anything else that we hadn’t already checked.’

‘So you decided to mess around?’ Amelia clarified.

‘Basically, I can’t do much more until it’s back in the lab and you said yourself that won’t be until lunch.’

‘So you’re finished?’

‘I thought that was what I just said.’

The tip of Amelia’s nose began to itch.

‘So we can go home?’ she said.

‘If you’re finished then yeah,’ Grace answered. ‘I thought you still had paperwork though?’

‘No!’ Amelia yelped, hurled the clipboard towards the nearest Hazmat. ‘I’ve been staring at the same form for the last two hours. All the location stuff was done and I was waiting for you to finish your poking and prodding.’

‘Oh,’ said Grace sheepishly, ‘I was done ages ago.’

‘Bloody hell, now you tell me!’


Amelia glanced around at the men and women in yellow suits still busying themselves with whatever it was they were doing and trying to avoid the arguing couple.

‘Let’s go home,’ she sighed. ‘I’m tired.’

‘If you want,’ Grace agreed. ‘I’m pretty sure this thing isn’t about to kill anyone. It’s just rather pretty and rather in the way.’

‘So a bit like you whenever we’re cooking,’ Amelia quipped, retrieving her clipboard with an apologetic smile from the bemused hazmat member she’d hurled it at.

‘Hey!’ called Grace. ‘I’ll have you know I’m a fantastic cook!’

‘Of course sweetie,’ replied Amelia. ‘Everyone else is just a fussy eater.’

PHOTO PROMPT – © Copyright Marie Gail Stratford

PHOTO PROMPT – © Copyright Marie Gail Stratford


  1. Enjoying this a lot – there was a ‘do / so’ typo in the midst, but that was all I spotted; the rest worked really well dialogue and flow wise. Can I say reminiscent of a Patricia Cornwell, or is that rude? Thank you for the read.


    1. Since I’m not familiar with her work I would need to do a bit of reading before I could pass judgement, but it’s always good to hear that my work has been well received, so thank you. I’ll track down that typo immediately.


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