Back in a Flash

Recently finished my midterms.  I took the last one yesterday, and I feel pretty certain I bombed it, but then, what kind of sadist of a professor gives you an hour and a half — correction, fifteen minutes, to write an essay critiquing two articles on the evolution of prosocial behavior!  I need at least three hours and forty pages for something like that.

Anyhow, I figured I hadn’t posted anything in awhile and, in lieu of my recently reading up on the definition of “flash fiction” (this morning to be exact), figured I’d give a try at some because, you know, brevity is not a skill I’ve mastered.  (See above).

Anyhow, this is a short story I literally brainstormed and wrote moments ago.  I would love any feedback!  Otherwise, I ask you to read and, hopefully, enjoy.

Casting Stones
Word Count: 732

Dorothy stowed her coat in the hall closet and brought her housewarming gift, a pricey bottle of Merlot, into the kitchen.  Ma sat at the breakfast nook table working on a crossword, several pens shoved into her tightly bound hair.  She barely looked up over her bifocals when Dorothy entered.

“Hey, Dot,” Ronnie called from the stove, expertly tossing the sautéing vegetables with a quick shake of the pan.

“We need to talk, ma,” Dorothy said.  Who honestly needed greeting those days?  They were family; after all, formalities seemed antiquated between families.  She slammed the Merlot on top of the nearest countertop; it clanked robustly and she folded her arms over her chest.

“If this is about the other night, I’ve already taken care of everything,” Ma mumbled, still focused on her crossword.

“Taken care of everything?  What have you taken care of, huh; the clean up, the lies, the police?  But what about the explanations, ma? What about the comforting and support?” Dorothy stamped her foot on the tiled floor, “What about me?”

Ronnie placed a hand on her hip and sweetly said, “You know that we’re here for you, Dot, whenever you need…”

“Oh shut it, Ron,” Ma slammed her paper down on the table and tossed her bifocals atop it.  She stood, crossed the room, and promptly slapped Dorothy across the cheek.

It stung, of course, but Dorothy was used to the burning pain of her mother’s scathing palm.

“You’re acting like I lied to you your whole life, kept things a secret until they came up and bit you on the ass.  I never hid from you what you were, Dorothy,” Ma declared, shuffling into the kitchen and digging through the drawers, finding a waiter-style corkscrew and slamming the drawers shut.  She grabbed the wine bottle and began working at opening it.

Dorothy gave a petulant sniffle, leaning across the counter to watch Ma work, pouting somewhat.

“I really liked Alexander is all.”

“Well I warned you,” Ma grumbled.  The cork popped from the bottle with a resounding bang and set off a ringing in Dorothy’s ears.  Ronnie passed Ma a few long stem wine glasses.

“And there’s no…no way to reverse it?  He’s just…stuck like that?”

“I’ve heard one rumor, haven’t had opportunity to prove it true, yet, but if you want to give it a go,” Ma answered, passing a full glass of the deep red wine over, sitting like a pool of blood.

“Oh?” Dorothy perked, swirling her wine and tentatively sniffing it.

“All we have to do is cut off your head and bathe him in your blood.  How’s that sound?”

Dorothy wrinkled her nose and stuck her tongue out at Ma.

“You’re so horrid, Mira,” Ronnie chastised, accepting her own glass of wine and giving it a taste.

“Well, the girl won’t stop her whining.”

“But there’s no other way?” Dorothy pressed, sipping her wine, and eying the two older women across from her almost hopefully.

“Not that I’ve ever heard of, and believe me, if there was a way, I’d have found it centuries ago,” Ma replied, mournfully remarking, “And then you would have known your father.”

Dorothy sank down further over the counter, absently swirling her glass and glaring blankly across the kitchen. Ronnie remained respectfully silent, sniffing at her wine and taking another sampling.

“It’s not a curse, you know,” Ma suddenly said, a suspicious whist to her tone.

“It’s not exactly the birthday present I was hoping for either,” Dorothy muttered, chugging down her wine and clattering the glass back down to the countertop.

“Okay, fine, you have a look that turns men to stone and maybe sometimes it turns men to stone that you really quite liked and in order to fully enjoy really needed in the flesh, but Dotty, my love, from this you’ll learn strength and perseverance, there will be heartache, like Alexander, but you’ll learn that heartache won’t kill you, yet make you wiser and that time moves on, and perhaps, one day, you’ll understand how to fully wield the power you’ve been born with, for now, we’ll settle for getting it under control.”

Ma took Dorothy’s hand in her own, gave it a reassuring squeeze, and Ronnie slipped her hand into Ma’s, twining their fingers, and Ma met Dorothy’s eyes, an almost proud smile on her lip.

“Most of all, you’ll learn you’re not alone.”

(** Amendment: Probably should’ve noted that this story wasn’t exactly proofed or perfected before posting.  I just kind of wrote it as it popped into my head.  Retrospect, probably not wise to put rough draft material up, but hey, I needed to post something.  Certain things seem non-sequitur – like Ma slapping Dorothy – mainly because I didn’t know where the story was heading when I wrote that bit and I needed someone to do something.  Maybe I’ll go back through and do a rewrite, post that later, sort of show the progress of a story through editing stages.  For now it’s just a puzzle of the piece…**)

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