Who said Flash (super short) fiction was easy??!! lol
It’s been a while since I’ve posted a story, mostly because I decided to take a break from smaller projects as I am actively writing the last book in my fantasy trilogy. But I felt I needed a change of pace and to look at subject matter other than what’s going on in the world of my fantasy novel. What follows is a reduced version of a full length story idea I’ve been toying with in my head for a while but just never had time to write. I decided to write a short version so that it can exist somewhere other than my imagination. I thought, ‘Well, it’ll be short so it won’t take so much time’. Mercy! I forgot how challenging this is. People, never underestimate how hard it is to write short fiction! For the time it took to write, revise and edit, I’m kinda pissed that it only amounts to 446 words! lol But here it is. Let me know what you think. 🙂
It’d been a while since the red cloud had blossomed under the bathroom door and pooled into a morbid patch on the worn hardwood. When I came in from school, Aunt Augusta had screeched from the cramped kitchen and come barrelling down the hall with a cloth in hand. Its white tail fluttered in the stale apartment air. Unsullied and bleached to purest perfection, this was what she used to sop up mother’s mess.
That stain will never come out.
Everyone watches as I stand in front of the closed door; I couldn’t yet move. The gelling pool rests inches from the tops of my scuffed sneakers, and I think it odd that it’s shape resembles a butterfly. Suddenly, it doesn’t seem so scary or gross only the family can’t see what I do. Stricken, they continue to murmur amongst themselves.
“She shouldn’t be there!”
“For God’s sake, someone take her away!”
But no one moves. No one dares touch me. I may be poisoned, not all there. Crazy, like her.
I’ve always known what they thought of my mother. Afraid of ‘a sickness’ they didn’t understand, they’d shunned us my whole life. Maybe that fear is what ate away at her. It took pink, yellow and sometimes blue pills to numb it away followed by bottles of clear and amber gross-smelling ‘water’. Then she would sleep, sleep, sleep to forget, forget, forget and when she couldn’t do either, she’d cry. She’d often talked about going away and leaving it all behind. Until today I believed she planned to take me with her.
I understood then that kids, even older ones like me, know nothing. And because of it we believe anything.
Somehow, I’d found my way to the living room. The sun’s rays are warm and heavy in the window seat, like a blanket. Buddy is in my lap, and my fingers play absently with his fuzzy arms and legs and then his shiny black, button eyes. His blank stare is kind. I hug him tight and whisper ‘thank you’ into his deaf ear because his is a look I can stand.
I look beyond the window pane and watch as white, puffy clouds trail across the sky. They are so far away; too distant to touch.
She’d left me to fend for myself. But if I was honest with myself, I’d have to say mother’d abandoned me long, long ago. I wonder if she’d sat in this very window seat and seen in the sky the hope I now see: salvation in the distance, hidden by massive, fluffy cotton balls.
Maybe that’s what had given her the strength to shed her skin and fly.
Copyright@ 2014 by Dyane Forde