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#FridayFlash: Toward the Light

October 29, 2009

A new thing to try: #fridayflash, where writers share their flash fiction with each other on twitter every Friday. A friend told me about it and it’s something I want to participate in from time to time (along with Poetry Friday). What a wonderful idea! [To my writing group: Yep, this is the writing exercise from a while back…with a few changes.]

I thought I’d held her down until she drowned. I thought her lips softened into slackness and her eyes stared at the light towards which she traveled. I believe in lights. Like the light of the moon now, spilling its invisible beams onto water faintly rippling from the stone I skipped. It’ll sink, too, into light. The one lying at the bottom of the lake, the one time does not forget. 

“Ow!” I’m running on the pier–towards grandmom’s house, towards lunch, towards harassment from my cousins. I stop, crouch, and hold the bottom of my foot to the sun.  A splinter–at least half a centimeter long. She stops. Leans over.  “Let me try,” she says. “Hold still!” I try, but fall. My bottom smacks against the wood. She pinches her thumb and index finger together to grab hold of the end–three times. On the third it breaks. “You’ll need tweezers for that.” She turns and walks ahead of me to the house. 

It’s so quiet I feel my thoughts churning, like a waterfall. Perfect glass–the water. I throw another rock, not bothering to skip it. I want it to arch upward then fall as fast as it can. The water chameleons, changing colors with the shadows. I lean my face over the edge of the pier. I can’t see the color of my eyes. 

Naked in the bathroom, I try to cover myself with a towel. “Oh my god–that’s so funny!” She said, pointing towards my nipples. I had just begun to grow, but they already showed the family trait. Inversion. “You know they can correct that now, don’t you? Plastic surgery?” I heard her laughing in my sleep that night, and looked down from my bed to where she lay on the floor in a sleeping bag. Freckles were just appearing on her nose. Why do people look so angelic in their sleep?

“What are you doing?!” she asked, her head coming up out of the water. “You know you’ll get in trouble, don’t you?” Her freshly curled hair now clung wet to her face. Her white party dress hugged like a shroud as she began to pull herself out. She wasn’t wearing a bra. “I’m tellin’!” she said. “Well, I’m tellin’ you didn’t wear a bra!” I said, knowing her mom would ground her. She stopped at the top of the ladder for a second, looking down at her chest. I ran, grabbed, and pushed her back towards the water, slamming all my body weight into her. We both fell in, I on top of her. When I caught my breath, she’d disappeared. I think.

Because I thought I’d held her down until she drowned. I thought I’d watched her sink toward the light. 

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    October 30, 2009 3:24 am

    Wow, a powerful piece of writing. Well done.
    And welcome to #fridayflash!

    • October 30, 2009 7:36 pm

      Thank you so much!! I enjoyed doing it and I’m really enjoying #fridayflash. I’ve been putting off work and reading all the great stuff! 🙂

  2. Anonymous permalink
    October 30, 2009 7:31 am

    Nice
    Very well written, this. Has a soft flow that belies its subject matter!
    I don’t know whether it’s the done thing or not, but I like the use of “chameleon” as a verb 🙂

    • October 30, 2009 7:42 pm

      Re: Nice
      Thanks. I made “chameleon” a verb yesterday. Better expressed what I needed to say in fewer words (“like a chameleon” is just too long! :). I don’t know if the piece is done yet or not–Lol. It is for now, but–some pieces have more lives than cats. Maybe this one will show up next in a pirate costume with 1000 extra words. Thank you for your comments!

  3. Anonymous permalink
    October 30, 2009 10:21 am

    A murderous little piece
    Wrought with a calm, poetic flair. The things we snuff out lives for.
    Glad your friend told you about #FF – welcome! Hope to see you and your superb stories every week. Peace, Linda

    • October 30, 2009 7:45 pm

      Re: A murderous little piece
      Haha. Thanks, Linda. Maybe I’ll be able to snuff out some more lives in the coming weeks…#Fridayflash is so much FUN! You’re right–it is addicting. And the quality is so good. (Ahem…that refers to your work as well…I’m still blown away by that piece with the manic character’s thoughts…).

  4. Anonymous permalink
    October 30, 2009 9:35 pm

    I like the image of sinking toward the light. It’s so hard to know how long to hold someone under water!

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