After taking August off (to switch to a new agency), Janet Reid ran her flash fiction contest once again.There were just 46 entries this time and my story got no mentions, but it felt good to get back to the discipline of the form.
Janet chose her prompt words based on the Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary, a home for rescued and retired horses (and other animals as well). The five prompt words were: PROUD, SPIRIT, HORSE, DOG, and HERD. Here’s what I came up with:
Rematch, submitted 9/3//16
Hello again, my dear. Remember me?
Of course you do. We know each other so well.
You were always the one who rode in on a white horse to save the day. Not do-gooder, but warrior. The tearful thanks of somebody’s mother didn’t boost your spirits. The victory itself made you proud. Victory over me.
Now the sharp knife and the poison drip are no more useful than a mother’s kiss. With these weapons you stopped me again and again, but not this time. Not when the shape on the iron bed is your own.
This time, you are mine.
I was going for an atmosphere of quiet, polite menace, from the point of view of Death itself. It envisions a doctor as battling directly with Death over her patients (though the gender of the “you” in the story isn’t mentioned, I think of it as “her”), so that it’s not about the patients but about the victory. Now the doctor herself is dying, and Death is victorious in the end. I don’t know whether any of that comes through in my actual words, but it’s what was in my mind.
There weren’t as many entries as usual, but they were still outstanding. You can read the contest results here. Thank you, Janet, for running these contests.