This is a first for HCC Living Letters – a photo inspired flash fiction challenge. It came out of one of our small groups – Write and Be Read, and was intended as a mere exercise for writers to flex their story-telling muscles. The challenge was simple – using the above image as a launch point, write a piece no more than 200 words. The two pieces that came in this evening are completely different, each stunning in their own right. I love that they are written by husband and wife. I’ll stop gassing on. Enjoy!
Story 1 by Andrea Rautenbach
I sat in the silence at the crossroad. What was I going to do? The blow had come like a sudden hard rain. The anger was simmering below the surface but the fear was winning as it rippled across my mind. Run, RUN, RUN!
We had met two months before at a friend’s house. He was classic tall, dark and handsome and seemed to be perfect. Tonight perfect seems overrated.
The dinners were evenings spent enjoying stories of misspent youth and previous dates gone wrong. Afternoons were spent learning to appreciate the outdoors and how much he loved riding his bike.
Tonight was a celebration of sorts, two months of fun, learning and sharing. Maybe tonight we would become serious. But not now! Now I sat wondering how I had missed this, how had I not seen? What was I going to do?
I had to move had to keep going but where? Looking in the rear view mirror I noticed the blood trailing down my chin; saw for the first time the damage done. It was over. What had started as a dream was done. Never would he touch me again, never would he see me again.
Life 2 by James Rautenbach
O dear, what is that coming from the rear?
There is light, there is shadow, there is bone, there is marrow! How can I go far when I spend nights looking at the retreating mists of my life while strapped into my safe haven of a car?
O delight, I can see a light – what have I missed, deep in the night. “It’s all over” they say, “the chance is gone, you are done”. The light I see broadcasts mockingly at me, or does it?
What if it’s all true; hope can renew me and you?
What if all my regrets, guilt and shame, what if those blotches held against my name, what if whispers, fears and pains, what if anger, darkness and the perceived hatred and negative thoughts words and actions of others, which cover me like a stifling bank of dirt, trying to squeeze my life to despair and helplessness – what if all of this CAN BE SWEPT AWAY IN AN OVERWHELMING, ALL-ENCOMPASSING, EVERLIVING, EVERGIVING, EVERFILLING, EFFERVESCENT, PULSATING, NEVER-ENDING, ALWAYS-HOPING, ALWAYS-LOVING, SAVIOUR-SATURATED, HOPE-RESTORING, PEACE-RETURING inundation of LIFE.
So I unharness, open the door and slowly step into the fresh air of a new-life, everlasting and full of glory…