I entered this week’s flash fiction contest at Janet Reid’s blog. It was my fourth entry, and I’m quite pleased with the result.
He is Coming: Submitted 3/5/16
The prompt words this week were inspired by this news story, shared by one of the frequent readers of the blog, about a woman who stole a shark tooth from a museum: pinch, nick, lift, rob, and filch.
We thought we were ready.
We were not.
We sped through empty streets under a bloated moon, trading brave reassurances. We held hands, walking corridors that smelled of ozone.
Then he came.
He came like a thunder clap in chaos, blood, and pain. We chanted, we wept, we clung to each other, and he came. His arrival was hallucinogenic, amniotic, galvanic. Kicking and tearing he came, exploding into the world with an unknown, unknowable purpose: a destiny to fulfil, chrysalis to shatter with a sudden wail.
Our obstetrician lifted him up, and nothing in the world was more beautiful.
The stories Janet is looking for have some kind of twist ending, and my first two entries (the ones who won mention) fit that bill. In both cases the twist was toward something darker, namely death. I decided to go in the opposite direction this time. I was aiming at opening with a sense of doom, that something horrible is coming, and then reveal at the end that it’s the birth of a child and is all good. Sadly, I had to cheat just a bit on one of the prompt words. I could think of no way to make “filch” fit into my story as is, and only found one way to break it up over multiple words. It required me to use the European spelling of “fulfil,” instead of the American spelling, “fulfill.” Oh, well. I don’t know if that counted against me or not.
The result? I didn’t make either the long or the short list, but out of 81 entries mine was one of 20 stories she called out for a specific mention, saying: “Splendid, gorgeous writing.” Wow! I’m beyond thrilled.
I’m hooked on this flash fiction thing.