Saturday, June 29, 2013
You turned away when I looked at you in your cage. Shy, they said. Unfriendly? I worried. Could I love you enough? Your turned-away head said Take me home. Take me home. Take me home.
This post was written for the Trifecta Writing Challenge . This weekend's challenge was to write an approximately 33-word post repeating a phrase three times.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Desperado (Waiting for the Train)
A flash fiction response to two writing challenges (see below)
Another head-on collision with the morning, another coffee and croissant in the train station cafe. Crescent roll, Ellen thinks rebelliously, pulling at the dough. She hates pretentious words. She takes off her sunglasses and reluctantly looks at herself in her pocket mirror. Her eyes are rusty. The imprint of last night, of too many last-nights, on her skin, never satiny at its best.
“Ellen. I thought that was you.”
She flinches at the unwelcomely familiar voice but nods. “Ryan.”
“I didn’t expect to see you here.”
“Likewise,” she mutters.
She’s silently willing him not to sit down. The kid thinks every woman in the office between eighteen and fifty enjoys being eyed by him.
“Oh, well, I spent the night with a friend.” His self-satisfied half-grin makes her want to smack him. A “friend?” Probably the new trainee he’s been chatting up at breaks. Poor girl, she thinks. Then: poor both of them.
His grin is more insinuating now. “Hey, we’ll probably be seeing each other here again.”
“I doubt it.” Then, impulsively: “I’m giving my notice today.”
Now it’s her satisfaction to see the smirk sink off his lips. “Oh. Wow. Better job offer?”
She doesn’t answer. She picks up her cold cup of coffee and downs the rest, trying not to grimace. “Excuse me. I have to use the restroom.”
She turns on the cold water and splashes her face. She looks up. She’s still careworn, but there’s an unexpected light in her eyes now, and she understands: she told Ryan the truth. Somehow he dug out what she needed. Relief comes rushing at her like the next train. Less is more, she thinks. Just one other—obstacle—to face, and she’ll take care of that tonight. Her life will be new, hers and no one else’s, from now on.
She puts the sunglasses back on and smiles widely. It’s the best she’s felt in years. She hears the train whistle. She opens the door, humming Richie Havens’s “Freedom.”
This story was written in response to the following two prompts: Nicole Pyles' Flash Fiction Photo Prompt blog hop , using the random words crescent, head-on, imprint, satin, and careworn and the photo below; and the Trifecta Writing Challenge, which is to write a story of 333 words or less using the third definition of a word. This week's word and definition: Rust: of the color of rust; dulled in color or appearance by age and use.
Sunday, June 23, 2013
This post was written for the Trifecta Writing Challenge. This week’s challenge is to write a 33-word story inspired by the idiom “third time’s the charm.”
I am falling asleep when my eyes open. I see the pores in his skin, the tiny dark hairs, the shining sweat. I smell us. How, where, who…? I sigh. The third time.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Trifecta Writing Challenge—Week of June 10
The Jump Shot
The small forward with the sweet outside shot stands behind the arc, so far behind that it’s almost midcourt, leaps, feet kicking up behind him, and lets it go. The ball rises higher and higher, then pauses at the apex, a moment fractured, a sliver left suspended, like a newly birthed star. The points of light from the stadium ceiling gather around it, turn it silver, radiate outward, here and gone as your eyes gasp, breath held, waiting for it to concede to gravity, curving gently downward like a small comet, finding the inside of the rim without touching.
When love is on the rise, one man thinks, that fraction of a moment is waiting ahead of you, that point of gleaming light when time is held in suspension and only beauty exists. But there’s no holding it there, not the ball, not the split second of glittering light, not the joy. They rise and gleam and fall; the ball slips through, the lover walks away, and what they leave behind—an empty net, an empty heart—still tremble with what went before.