Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
Dris Horton would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Ratio of Loss

By Dris Horton All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Drama

Flash Fiction


It was a small book, only 127 pages, and the print was kind of large. Not too well written, but it took Gretchen only two hours to read the whole thing, front to back. Now her hands wouldn’t stop shaking, trembling, betrayed by the vivid depictions assaulting her faculties. 

She put the book in the glove box and got out of the car. As she walked across the parking lot of the county jail, Gretchen suddenly realized she couldn’t recall the title of the little book. But she did remember that it was blue. Gretchen began to cry quietly to herself as she approached the entrance of Central Booking, where she’d been ordered to report by the judge the day before. 

What she had read still screamed in her thoughts. 

‘Piles of little babies?’ Gretchen wondered, screwing up her face as she silently queried herself. A testament to an unimaginable horror swirled passed her mind’s eye, suddenly making her problems seem quite small.


“Where you are going is paradise,” said Mr. Soto when he first handed her the novella earlier that morning.

Gretchen had known Mr. Soto all her life, the kind old Greek Jew who owned the little grocery store on the corner, down the street from where she grew up. Her mother and grandmother had shopped there, its isles so narrow they had to walk sideways or they’d knock something off the shelf. 

As a little girl, Gretchen was taught to always be polite to Mr. Soto. And never steal, not even a grape. He had gone through something terrible as a young man, and moved to America after the war.

Now Gretchen waited tables full-time, working herself though part-time college, not taking life too seriously. She lived with a couple of roommates, Marta and Demi, a surrogate family sharing a cheap apartment, taking advantage of the sweet bird of youth. Early mid-twenties, free, attractive and Facebooked. Her parents still helped her when the bills got tight.

But last weekend the hometown team won the big game, underdogs coming from behind to upset the old rival, first time in half-a-decade. And the party was on, drinks flowing, a student body spilling over into a nearby strip mall, display windows shattered. Sauced to the nines and moving with the crowd, Gretchen saw a trendy fashion she’d always wanted but couldn’t afford. In a fit of impulse, she snatched the latest craze from the vandalized showcase, then slipped away to a local hangout to change into the pilfered garment. Gretchen was the life of the party that night, dancing the night away in a purloined dress worth over a week’s pay. Capricious gleeful mirth, owing to its course. 

The next day it was big news, the riots caught on video surveillance. Gretchen was identified along with many others, urged to come forward and accept an offering of leniency. A night in jail, restitution and a month of weekends doing community service. A swift, humiliating reprieve in lieu of slower, harsher justice.

On her way to turn herself in, Gretchen stopped at the little store to buy a cigarettes, hoping to calm her frayed nerves. Mr. Soto was there working the counter. At first Gretchen averted her eyes in shame, knowing she had been on television. But Mr. Soto smiled and called her brave for owning up to what she had done. Then he gave Gretchen his little book, something he’d reluctantly written decades ago at the insistence of others. 

“A quick read,” said Mr. Soto, “to help put things in perspective.”


He was younger than her when the Nazis came to the tiny Greek island where he lived with his wife and two small children. They’d been part a fishing family that worked the Aegean Sea, a close family of nearly fifty. The little island’s inhabitants, about 500 Jews, were all shipped to the mainland in the hull of a large tanker, then loaded onto boxcars, spending a week in their own filth till Janowska, a death factory deep in the Ukraine. It was there that he last saw his wife and children, and all his family and friends. He survived by throwing the corpses of his people, his family and friends, into the furnaces, being the only one left from his tiny island by the war’s end.


As she was fingerprinted, Gretchen recalled the book’s title, suddenly grasping its meaning: Ratio of Loss. And as the deputy handed her the clean orange jumper she’d be wearing for the night, Gretchen thought of the photograph on the book’s cover: a monument with the names of the dead where the island village had once been. On the back was another photo: Mr. Soto standing outside the store with his new family, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of them smiling.

 

                                                                               

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Dris Horton
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

Grapes Are Juicy yes!!!: I give this novel FIVE STARS ! This novel is worth reading from the beginning to the end! The plot and conflicts in this story are very smartly integrated. The language facility is a little odd , but i guess this was done on purpose, given the novel's set era. Other than that, this should definit...

Alkira Joan: Great story, I found it hard to read especially the dialogue. You just need to fix up some spelling errors and the gramma .I enjoyed this book. was a little hard to get though.,.,..,.,.,,..,.,.,, , , , ,.,, , , , , , , ,., , ,.,,,,,

Catherine Kopf: This novel has an interesting perspective on a broken mind that obviously the author took a lot of time into creating. The main protagonist is very fleshed out and complex, allowing the readers to root for and feel empathy towards him. There is enough in there to really give the reader an emotion...

Books17: This is my first book review.I found the story to be very intriguing.The beginning of the story starts and you are immediately thrown into wanting to know what will happen next, The action, or intrigue is established early, so there isn't the feeling of the story dragging on, or thinking about wh...

OpheliaJones: This story took a different kind of spin on the "normal girl lives with definitely not normal guy" plot. The plot points of Frey's father, Liam's family, and Frey's view of Liam's world were good to read. She did not fall in love with him in the first couple weeks. Their lives were not smooth in ...

dd1226: I love reading about other countries and I think this story about Cambodia after Polpot creates awareness of the tragedy that happened there and the actions of the U.N. to hold elections. The heroine of the story is easy to relate to, a modern, middleaged woman looking for an adventure, wanting t...

christylynnr5: This was beyond amazing! I loved this book. The characters seemed so real. It was amazing how the author let Zak and Kaylees personalities slowly change. This story was very sad and eye opening. It could teach some people a very worthy lesson. It was a great combination of romance, mystery, and a...

jessiehs: This was absolutely amazing. I loved how it went back and forth between perspectives. I actually cried at the end I was so happy. This was amazing. I can't even think of another word to describe it. Thank you for writing his.

romboili000: As I read this book it made me realize the importance of trusting big God. And believing that you can love even when it feels impossible. This story definitely has made me what to become a better person in Christ and just life. So thank you that's all I have to say because you wrote this story so...

More Recommendations

Swostika Ghimire: Seriously, now I am in love with this story.This story is making me crazy. Beginning was awesome and ending is mind blowing.I loved all the characters of this story. Thankgod I found this story here. I was about to be crazy eating for updates in wattpad.And mostly I appreciate author of this stor...

Bernsigns: This is an age old story, but with excellent plot twists that I didn't see coming. I truly liked how the story slowly, but steadily revealed the secrets. There were secrets I didn't expect, which kept me wanting to read. I always love a happy ending, with a little bit of real life mixed in. Th...

christylynnr5: This was a really good book. I couldn't stop reading it. I loved how the story had its ups and downs and it kept you on the edge of your seat. But the only thing I had a problem with was the grammar errors. I know everyone makes mistakes but this one had more than just a few. and in some places I...