Monday, May 16, 2011

BBC Flashes You Again!

As I mention in this post, I am hosting a flash fiction contest starting June 1.  See the linky there for details. I gave a taste of microflash at the bottom of my earlier post, and promised more, (yes, MORE!) and you shall have it.  Again, this one is shorter than most flash - it weighs in at 259 words.  But I'm using it as an example to show that it's quite possible to build characters, setting, plot, tone, heck even backstory - if you make every word count.  I went through a little postmodern period in college - the earlier flash I shared with you, titled "Bood," was written at the same time - in 2002.  This one is "The Vacuum."

  There was a vacuum inside of her in – law’s house.  Had to be.  How else to explain the fact that everything they said came out flat; that their eyes were never quite as bright as hers?  They weren’t aware that it sucked the air from their lungs and the tears off their pupils.  One day it would become too strong, and pull the lenses right off their eyeballs.  She’d have to warn them, if she felt so inclined.

  She’d first noticed it when they were all together, the Christmas tree leaning precariously in one direction because of the slanted floor.  She had spoken a bit of nonsense aloud, to see if it had affected her as well.  It hadn’t.  Her voice had rolled out, strong and sonorous, overtaking the rest of them in a verbal tidal wave made completely of vowels.  Pleased, she’d lapsed into silence and complacently returned the stares of shock, mixed with embarrassment.  

  Her husband told her there was no such thing, told her that she must stop talking about it, must stop testing the walls in the house for weaknesses.  But she wasn’t frightened of what they would think.  She wasn’t afraid of anything other than that vacuum.  

One day she’d have to fill it.  One day she’d open up the linen closet and throw herself in, a sacrifice to please the god of nothingness.  She’d do it when they were all there to see, to know what she’d done for them.  Probably Easter, next Christmas was too long to wait.

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