FOOL’S GOLD • by Cay Macres

As Mica walked along the shore, he picked up pebbles with streaks through the middle. Following a path of driftwood led him to a gray cliff veined with white and a streak of gold. Mica knew it was probably pyrite. He was more interested in the thick layers, anyways. He pressed an open palm to the stone and closed his eyes. This rock carried millions of years of earth, all wrapped up in an exposed mineral memory.


Manicured fingers dipped in and out of brown waves. “Oh, sweetie, this cut is too damn short to braid.” Shannon’s hands raked through hair a lot rougher than they did when it was in long, splintery strands.

“Mother.” The word itself was a protest. It sounded so cold.

Shannon sighed heavily.

“Can I do my own makeup?” A pair of hand-me-down eyes met their mother’s in the mirror. The stool was uncomfortable.

“Why don’t you want me to do it?”

“You’re gonna put way too much on.”

“Frankly, hun, you need a lot of it with that new haircut. It makes you look like a boy.”

“That was kind of the point.”

There was that sideways look, somehow both concerned and selfish. “You’re too pretty to be a boy.” Shannon meant it as a compliment.

Abandoning the braid, the tired mother moved on to an unsuccessful ponytail.

With the pop of a warm bubble in his belly, the silence and the hair tie broke. “I want to go by Mica now.”

“Does this have something to do with the whole tomboy thing?”

“No, it’s just a boy thing.”

Shannon laughed, too tired to worry about sounding mean. “Mica… that’s not a name, that’s a rock.”

Mica stayed silent, fingers solidifying around the legs of the splintery stool.

“Me and your grandpa used to go panning for gold.” Shannon traced the purple-blue rivers running under the skin on her wrist. “We’d sit with our pie tins, churning through the creek for hours. All we ever got was pyrite.”

“You know, gold’s just a rock too.” Mica worked circles into his hardened hands.

Slate-colored eyes softened. The reflection of Shannon stared at Mica. “That’s true. Fool’s gold and the real thing look the same, just one’s tougher.” She paused and her lips twisted in thought. “Pyrite doesn’t have a good ring to it. So, Mica?”





The memory eroded. Mica turned around, taking his hand off the cool rock. Shannon needed help getting over a big piece of driftwood.

“Careful, Mom.” Mica put out a hand.

“You’re golden, sweetie.”

Shannon’s hand was warm. Veins were visible between her knuckles, the color of kyanite buried in quartz and equally metamorphic.

Cay Macres is a sci fi writer who graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in creative writing. They love writing fun, yet heartfelt queer novels and short stories, often with a kitten or two curled up on their lap.

Happy New Year! Make a resolution to support EDF on Patreon.

Rate this story:
 average 3.5 stars • 8 reader(s) rated this

Every Day Fiction