So I’ve entered the WOW555 flash fiction contest again, this time as a means of encouraging two writer friends to try something new. One says she has trouble writing short stories (what better way to break that than by writing a story of less than 500 words???), and another who just needs a kick in the butt to get writing, period. I checked in with one of them last night after he’d submitted his story, and he said he was glad he’d tried it and thanked me for the push. When I checked in with the other this morning, this is what she said: ‘ Dyane remember when I said you were the best? You’re actually the worst. THE WORST.’ To which I replied, ‘Lol lol lol Happy to oblige, as long as it gets you writing. Ta!!’
Anyone else feel they need a little motivating? 😀
Anyhoo, my entry is below. It’s experimental and darker than usual, but if there’s an opportunity to try something different from your norm, flash fiction is it. 🙂 Hope you enjoy it. And if you have a moment, why don’t you give the contest a try? There’s still time! Or check it out anyway to read some neat stories, meet some new writers, and vote! Voting opens tomorrow!
Eye of the Beholder
I follow her through the trees, just as I’ve done since we were children. Only now, her dark hair reaches to her waist, and when we stand side by side, the top of her head sits just under my chin, perfect for nestling. The grass gives under our feet. We steal around tree trunks like ghosts. The smells of the forest come up from the ground, earthy, pungent. It is spring, and the wind carries the airs of life as well as the vestiges of winter’s breath. I follow her, as always. And she leads me where she wills.
At last, I see our place, a knife-shaped outcropping. It is covered in moss and slick unless you know where to put your hands and where to dig in with your toes. At the top we sit. Side by side, knees almost touching. Far away, the sun sinks in the sky, a dark-yellow disk that will soon sear the tops of the trees.
It won’t be long now, she says, her voice a hopeful sigh in the wind. We’ll be leaving for the city in a few days.
I look at the ground beneath us. The soil is soft, green with grass and sprouting wildflowers. I used to twist flowers like those into wreaths for her hair.
She’d always wanted to leave this dead-end town where jobs were scarce and happiness scarcer. Only, I always believed I’d be the one to save her from the dying farms and the soon-to-be ghost-town.
She goes on. I want a job. And decent friends, women who have opinions and ideas in their heads. This town is dead. If I stay, I’ll die with it. You understand that, don’t you?
She looks at me. And in the failing light, it’s not me I see reflected there, but another.
The rock under me is unbearable. Its jagged edges cut into my rump. I get up quickly. Startled, she looks up, asks what was wrong.
But I’m heated, crushed to the ground from the weight of his shadow in her eyes.
What’s wrong? she asks again, reaching for me.
How could she not know?
My hands are around her neck. They are cold. She struggles. I am numb. At last, my sickness steals her breath.
The soil at the foot of the outcropping gives easily to a pair of determined hands armed with a stone. The gash in the ground won’t be easily noticed. She lies in the ground, my beautiful angel looking up towards heaven. And this time, I am pleased to see my dark and distorted reflection in the drying wetness of her eyes.
The outcropping is not quite so hard beneath me as I reclaim my seat. The sun has slipped past the tops of the trees. Its fire has gone out. And finally, I am at peace.
Copyright@ Dyane Forde 2015