Everyone knew she was naked inside that coffin – the mourners, the pall-bearers, the altar boys – everyone. She’d not exactly been backwards in coming forwards, and her final wishes had spread through the community like wildfire.
Henry’s eulogy was a masterclass in widower’s grief, but as he took to the pulpit he could tell that the congregation paid his words no mind. Either through lust or envy, they were all thinking about those big ole boobs.
‘Though we didn’t meet till later life…’
…He stole a glance at a man in the second row – Ron – a Vietnam veteran whose thousand yard stare drifted towards a tree-line filled with an orgy of insurgents. He and Henry’s wife had been lovers during the 70’s and tales of their debauchery were the stuff of legend.
‘…We crammed an eternity into those few short months…’
Manny and Tony in the fourth row – the instigators of an epic menage-a-trois if stories were to be believed.
‘And though she had…a number of partners…before I was blessed to…’
At the back of the church an overly made up wreck in a leopard-print dress guffawed and warmed herself with the memories of a long distant kinky phase.
‘…I consider myself her soul mate.’
A conveyor belt whirred, the wooden tube penetrated a velvet curtain and the congregation stiffened somewhat.
Afterwards the priest solemnly presented Henry with an urn, turned to leave and, presumably thinking he was out of earshot, murmured: ‘What a piece of ash!’
Written for: #WritePhoto
The trees that grow in Perdition have the structure of tortured souls seeking to escape the scorched earth, reaching or hanging ashen like expended husks. They are the product of neglect and malice; of half-remembered dreams – places endured and wandered through in a distressing deja-vu.
I happen upon the clearing again. It is part of my punishment to relive the hollow discovery time and time over. I cannot remember what is it that I did to deserve such terrible retribution, or why the concept of duration should fill me with dread…
I have the suspicion that I have been here forever.
A fire has ravaged my throat and my mind. Blurred corporeal entities vie for attention. Thoughts break apart under scrutiny.
Up ahead – the outline of a figure. How long is it since I conversed with another? Silent words form on my lips and I plunge forward through tearing thorns. Despite my passionate pursuit the figure slips further and further away. I emerge alone in a clearing where hellish limbs claw their way out of the…
Written for: Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers
Rita’s dinner-parties were the stuff of legend – a heady mix of rich conversation and frugal ingenuity. With crepe-paper chandeliers and coat-hanger candelabra she carried off an air of flamboyant spectacle.
Rita herself was grace-personified – a slight, elegant frame of dignity and decorum that desperate poverty had failed to mollify. She sported plastic earrings as though they were diamonds and wore rags as though they were modelling her.
At any given gathering attention inevitably turned to the oil painting that dominated the far wall of her pokey basement flat.
‘Ah yes, my ancestor – the countess,’ she began, as though the words were not well-rehearsed, ‘regaling the revolutionaries who’d arrived to cart her away to the gulag. If the stories are to be believed she made them wait while the portrait was painted and disarmed them with etiquette.’
Guests never failed to take the bait. ‘So, you descend from aristocracy?’
‘Yes,’ Rita always replied wistfully, ‘but alas nothing now remains of that decadent time…well…’
With subtle self-intimation her body language concluded the tale…
…Perhaps one thing.
Written for: Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers
From a lonely library, hanging by a thread, I took a book – last loaned fifty years past. From between its waxy pages a solitary slip of paper slid:
‘He suspects. It’s tonight or never. You – My all.’
A rendezvous unfulfilled; a burr that kept catching.
Necessity employed me as sleuth. The previous lender’s faded name led me to buildings long vacated and to a rain-soaked grave, the date of departure fifty years past.
Standing over the headstone – a man, unfeasibly old.
‘You were her husband?’
‘No, her… her other.’
‘I believe this was for you.’
Written for: Thin Spiral Notebook (100 Word Challenge)
‘And so you see, the answer was inside yourself all along…’
Mystical settings aside the pupil was livid.
‘That’s it? That’ll all you’ve got? After months of meditation, and all those trials: Descend blindfolded to the bottom of the sacred pit and pick the poisonous moss of blah…and the tightrope over the lava…and the chalice filled with troll’s tears (‘Don’t spill a drop!’)…I have literally journeyed to the centre of the earth in my quest for enlightenment…and for what? Some vague, fortune cookie punch line? I’ve a good mind to go up into the world and expose you for the charlatan that you are!’
The teacher’s face remained calm as he replied in his mother-tongue.
‘You seem very angry, but alas I can’t understand a word you’re saying. Typical westerner – thinking everyone speaks English.
I’m gonna go out on a limb and presume that you’ve mistaken me for Zastra the Zen Master. A lot of people do! (He’s in the next cave along). My name’s Leonard. I work in IT Support, though in truth I don’t get much support done what with you rich pricks turning up at all hours of the day and night with your white man issues. It became so much of a problem in fact that I went to see Zastra myself. He gave me these pre-prepared cards to read out. No idea what they mean, but most of you seem mollified by them…oh…I may not speak English, but I know a string of expletives when I…please don’t slam the door. Stalactites don’t grow on trees…bye then!’
As one pupil left, another arrived.
‘Great and wise Zastra. I have travelled across continents to seek answers.’
Leonard gave a deep sigh and read from the card. ‘OK…first, descend blindfolded into the sacred pit of…’
Written for:Sue Vincent’s Photo Prompt