Posts Tagged With: Flash Fiction

One Last Night

One Last Night

*A Flash Fiction Piece*

Gray clouds billow above the white foamy surf as fog rolls like a trampling stampede upon the surface of the cerulean sea.  The crash of waves upon the rocks reminds me of my lovers tryst; the sea spray our wild release. I stand at the widow, staring out at the cold, magical, monochromatic morning, my chest heavy with sorrow, but no regret.

The view before me blurs amid the hot, silver tears as they fill my eyes.  I flush as each warm memory fills my mind’s eye.  I wrap my arms tight around me and let the images take me back, take me into our one last night.

~

Dark eyes stared into my soul, undressing me, exposing the deepest part of me, stealing my breath.

Strong, gentle fingers slowly traced the side of my face, moving slowly down my neck, and onto my shoulders, shakily leaving a trail of prickling anticipation and sweet adoration.

I shivered.

He smiled.

I let go.

Two hearts beat in unison as our bodies converged into one, staring into each other’s eyes, feeling the love, forgetting the world outside.  Nothing else existed.  Nothing else mattered.  Giving. Receiving. Loving. Worshipping. Sharing. No words. No promises. No lies.

My eyes grew heavy as my head rested on his chest, listening to his strong heartbeat, feeling the comforting warmth of his arms wrapped around me, his fingers gently caressing me.  A perfect moment.

I didn’t look back as he left. I couldn’t.

~

I now stand empty, cold, and alone.  I can still hear his gentle breathing and feel the lingering sting of his touch, but only as ghosts and silhouettes.  I walk toward those cold, crashing waves, letting go of my will, my fight, my resolve, shedding my earthly shell and the last tendrils of my humanity. I disappear into the abyss.

Death holds his bony fingers out toward me and asks, “Was it worth it, your one last night?”

I take his hand, look up at him, and smile, “What night?”

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Finding Hidden Treasures

Finding Hidden Treasures

I remember a time when writing stirred such an excitement, often keeping me up all through the night as beautiful words swirled in my imagination and then shot out the tips of my fingertips onto the page.  It’s such an erotic moment, euphoric even.  I’m not saying I still don’t have those moments, but I can confess I’ve let the business of writing and marketing take too much dominance in my life that it’s squeezing most of those moments into the land of the neglected.

Not only has my own creativity suffered by being too business-minded, but so has my enjoyment of reading the beautifully written words of others.  As someone who devoured a minimum of fifty novels a year, so far this year I can count five.  My focus is so much on business, survival and meeting basic needs, I just can’t get lost in a good, long novel, not even ones I’ve waited months and even years to be released.

I can’t express how much I appreciate my writer friends who dabble in flash fiction and short stories, because those have sustained me this year, or else I’d have been lost.  I’ve really come to love and appreciate flash fiction and short story writers like Christian Fennell, Jeff Suwak, Kelly Shackelford, Sarafina Gravagno, Frank Wall, B.R. Asher, Lucien Knight and a few others on Scribophile.  Their stories have fed, nurtured, inspired and sustained me as I work hard to clean up this train wreck of a life. Some of them don’t know how much their words have helped me. I crave them.  I need them.  I look forward to their next blog posts, short stories, and their next flash of humor, romance, satire or tragedy.

My writer friends have also inspired and pushed me.  My best friend, Jenna Sands, has inspired me more than she’ll ever know.  Those members of my local writer’s group who refuse to let me quit or give up (Denise, Maggie, Kathy, Lorien and Dawn) will always have a place in my heart.

I used to be a novel snob, only reading full length (often epic–sized) novels and never giving short stories a furtive glance.  I’ve grown such a fondness for them now and am sure I will always keep them a beautiful part of my life as I once again focus on my next novel.  I’ve also grown an appreciation for the novella.  I really hope it comes back in fashion and more writers dare to publish them.

What hidden treasure have you stumbled upon lately?

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Http://www.tlgray.blogspot.com

http://www.authortlgray.wordpress.com

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Tag, You’re It!

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Tammy hung upside down from the domed monkey bars.  She loved the way her arms hung free below her head, with the tips of her long auburn hair almost bushing across the ground as she swayed gently back and forth.   She thought the world looked funny from that angle.  People weren’t as big and scary, and she could never see the angry expressions most grown-ups carried on their faces.  Upside down frowns looked like smiles to her. Her world just felt better from this point of view.

Reaching up, Tammy pulled her favorite object out of her pocket.  It was a beautiful tiger-eyed marble her new friend Jude had given her. It was one of the big ones, too.  Not one of those little marbles nobody really cared about they called ducks. She often felt like one of those forgotten, insignificant marbles; just one of the same among a dozen. But Jude didn’t give her one of those, he gave her the best one he had, the one she admired most.  She loved the way the inside swirls of gold and black sparkled in the sunlight, a lot like the way Jude’s eyes had the day before.

“You’re going to get your hair all dirty hanging like that.”

Tammy moved her focus from the sparkling marble to the upside down form of a little boy.  He had his hands shoved into the pockets of his patch-worn jeans.  “So, dirt don’t hurt.  It’ll wash off.”

“Your mama won’t get mad at you?”  He kicked a stone with his foot.  “My mama gets mad at everything. ‘Specially when I tear holes in my jeans.”

Tammy pulled herself upright and then jumped down from the monkey bars, landing in the sand right in front of Jude.  He stepped back, but kept his hands in his pockets. She closed her little fist around the shooter, and put her hands behind her back so Jude wouldn’t see it and take it away from her.  “What ‘cha doin’?”

Jude arched one of his eyebrows as if Tammy had asked the dumbest question in the world.  “I’m standing here talking to you. What else would I be doing?”

“Wanna play tag?” Tammy brushed a strand of hair out of her face. 

With a shrug, Jude answered.  “Okay, but I do the chasing.  I don’t like girls chasing me.”

“Why not?”

“’Cause they don’t do it right.  That ain’t the way it’s ‘sposed to be.”

“Says who?”

Jude scrunched his brows and crossed his arms over his chest.  “Says me.  Now you gonna run or not?  I ain’t got all day.”

Tammy lightly punched him on the arm and shouted, “Tag, you’re it!”  She took off running, zig-zagging through the playground equipment and then onto the nature trails that webbed through the park.  She loved the trails. She loved the woods.  She loved the thrill of the chase.  She didn’t have to look back to know he was there, she could feel him behind her, keeping pace with her almost step by step, but he didn’t tag her. 

Soon Tammy forgot she was playing tag and stopped at an old fallen log covered with moss.  A fat, black beetle skittered across the top.  She knelt down next to the tree and watched it busily make its way across the moss.  Jude plopped down next to her and watched the beetle too.  They both sat mesmerized at the beauty and wonder of nature.

“Where do you suppose he’s going?” Tammy whispered.

“Probably back home to his mama,” Jude answered and then looked back over his shoulder the way they had come.  “My mama’s gonna be mad when she can’t find me.”

Tammy nodded her head.  “Yeah, mine too.”

“You taking care of my marble?”

Tammy smiled at him.  “You mean my marble?”

With a shrug, Jude answered, “Whatever.”

“Yeah, I got it right here. I take it with me everywhere.” Tammy tapped the outside of her pocket.

Jude stood up tapped Tammy hard on the shoulder and then took off running, yelling back over his shoulder, “Tag, you’re it!”

 

 

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Want My Marble

Want My Marble

“I got you now, you evil beast!” Jude bent low, lined his favorite tiger-eye shooter with one of the dozen or so multi-colored ducks surrounding the inner hole. The knees of his jeans already sported patches from the amount of time he spent on the ground playing his favorite game in the world – marbles. “You thought you could hide from Jude Singleton, but …”

He poked the end of his tongue out the side of his mouth, closed his left eye so his right could get a better view, and with his thumb and steady hand, he flicked the large gold and black-swirled marble toward its target.

It shot across the dirt and gravel toward a small hole dug in the center of a large round ring, surrounded by several other smaller marbles. Jude held his breath and watched as his favorite shooter bounced, bobbled and weaved its way toward the center, knocking the nearest duck closer to the hole. He opened his closed eye and sat up as the red-swirly edged closer to the rim and slowed to an agonizing crawl.

Moving more sluggish than a snail, the marble seemed to have almost stopped. Jude raised his dirty hands, partially covered his face, but through the finger-slats kept his eyes peeled on the marble as it drew to a stop. His jaw dropped and Jude was about to let out a long line of exasperated expletives when the sparkling-red glass ball moved another micro-millimeter and teetered on the rim of the hole before finally dropping in. Jude jumped to his feet, arms and fists pumping the air in victory, as he continued his earlier phrase, “…no one gets away from the Marble Mutilator!”

“The Marble Mutilator, what’s that?”

Jude froze. Every muscle in his six-year old body tensed. He cut his eyes at the source of the voice that invaded his fantasy, and then his head followed. “That’s me. Who’re you?” His voice exuded a crass, irritated tone, but it didn’t match the feelings flooding his little body, or the strange thoughts coursing through his little mind. He little hands went to his hips and he turned to stand in front of this strange angelic creature he quickly identified as …a girl.

“I’m Tammy Greenleaf.” She smiled at him, revealing a small gap between her two front teeth. She looked past Jude at the small collection of colorful marbles still sitting in the dirt. “I like all your pretty marbles.”

Jude huffed. “Marbles ain’t pretty, and neither are girls!” He crossed his arms over his chest.

Tammy ignored his outburst, and though she wore a yellow-flowered sun dress, she dropped to her knees and surveyed the position of the marbles on the ground. She pointed to the gold and black-striped shooter Jude had just recently used. “That one’s the prettiest of them all. It reminds me of my cat, Leo.”

Jude plopped down next to her and quickly snatched up his favorite shooter. “I said marbles ain’t pretty. They don’t look like cats either!”

Cocking her head to the side and smiling at Jude, the sun light caught the green, gold and brown specks in her hazel eyes and reminded Jude of some of the beautiful colors he admired while studying his marbles. “Well, I think they’re pretty, and so are you.”

Eyes bulging, Jude blinked several times but found he couldn’t move. Without thinking, or even under his direct command or control, he held out his favorite tiger-striped shooter to Tammy. “Want my marble?”

Tammy looked at the marble, then back up at Jude before she leaned in and placed a soft, wet kiss on his cheek. He stopped breathing. He sat petrified as she reached out and took the offered gem. “Thank you,” she whispered.

A few seconds later, but what felt like an eternity to Jude, feeling returned to his body and this mind started to once again turn. He looked down at his empty hand and immediately felt despair. “Girls!” he grumbled under his breath through gritted teeth. “They should all be shipped to Mars.”

Jude shoved his hand in his pocket and pulled out another shooter. This
time it was a solid white one he called Snowball. He bent down once more in the dirt and lined his shooter with his next target, but not before he cast a quick glance at the swing set to notice Tammy sitting there, her beautiful hair blowing in the wind, holding the tiger-eye up to the sun in admiration.

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The Greeting of Equinox

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I once fell in love with a tree. I celebrated its beauty, dancing among the brilliant colors of gold, green, yellow and red of its leaves, when the first snowflake fell. I took no note of the gathering gray clouds. Though I shivered, I ignored the cold.  Dancing made my heart beat faster, adrenaline rush through my veins, and endorphins brought a sense of euphoria; a semblance of happiness.   The snowflake landed on my lashes, melted from my body heat and ran down my cheek; the first of many tears to follow.

The air grew frigid, the skies darkened, and I watched as the leaves fell from the beautiful tree, the object of my desire, the tall glorious symbol of my admiration.  Helpless to stop the winter storm, I became lost in despair, numb because the pain overwhelmed me, and frozen in fear as a statue.  Before the last of my body crystallized into ice, I watched the last leaf fall, flutter through the air as if carefree, and come to rest on the cold, hard ground.  As it touched the earth, my heart stopped beating as I entered winter.

The snow fell and its accumulation slowly buried me with my gaze locked onto my tree, for it no longer bore any fruit. Surrounding it, stood other lifeless, fruitless, leafless trees, and my tree reveled in their company.  Its bony limbs served as a constant reminder of the loss of its glorious leaves. Though I knew my tree, it no longer resembled the beauty it once exuded. My mind’s eye remembered, and a small hope remained my tree would return to me. But as the fierce winter winds blew, my fractured heart remained frozen; broken.  

Believing the winter would never end, I finally forced my eyelids closed and the vision of my tree disappeared with one last icicled tear. I tuned out all feeling, all sound, all senses, and embraced the darkness; I died inside.

~

A warm wind blew, bringing a soft musical note with it, disturbing my cold, silent grave. My ears followed the sound, though distant, muffled, and strange.  Desolation sharpened my ears, and a desperate need to hear again filled me. Too afraid to open my eyes and gaze upon my tree, I feared the notes came from it, but it did not, they resounded all around me. Some came from the left, some from the right, many from behind, their notes soft, beautiful and full of hope.

I tried to shut them out, but they kept playing their song, one after another, sometimes blended together, and sometimes all at once.  I felt the ice that covered me begin to crackle and split, and I heard the constant drip, drip, drip below me, adding tempo to the melody. Then I silently screamed in pain as my heart shuddered and let out the first beat.

I felt the shards of ice fall away from my eyes and as fear rushed through me, I opened my statue eyes.  There stood my tree, its bare limbs full of new buds, ready to bloom, surrounded by dozens of others ready to dance before its beauty.  My heart skipped a beat at the possibility of greatness my tree could be, but only one beat.

Something else grabbed my attention – a song, a familiar sound, a beautiful melody.  My eyes unfocused on the tree and with great effort, I turned my gaze away, and shook out of my icy shell.  Flying all around me were song birds of spring, reveling in the warm sun shining down upon me.  Their harmonies and melodies filled my heart and for the first time, after a long winter, with the greeting of the equinox, I smiled. 

My song birds called to me, their music mending me, filling me with new life, and healing the hole of my despair. I glanced back over my shoulder at the tree and released one last tear.  As I wiped it away from my cheek, I turned away, and once again began to dance.

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Pure Notes

I’ve been inspired lately by my Muse to write a few pieces of flash fiction …and this is one of the results.  I highly encourage everyone to dabble a little in all forms of writing, regardless of your preferred genre, style, etc.

I believe that if you only surround yourself with like people or like influences …you will lose your individuality and become like -.

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The winding path beneath my feet is not made of yellow brick or paved asphalt, but earthen clay covered in autumn leaves.  Tumultuous shadows loom behind me, and bare limbs reach out to grab me; to entangle, to ensnare. Chilled winds of uncertainty nip at me, making me shiver.

Bits of sunshine cut through the thick canopy above me, dotting the road, baptizing me in its glory and praise, but its warmth is fleeting. One step away …once again in shadow, two …more sun, three …more shadow, but never sustaining, never sure.

Whispers echo through the pines, those evergreens, always in season, always the same in a forest of changing colors and varying scents. “Come, come,” they call, offering a home among the woodland, the accepted majority, kings and queens of their kind. The path is narrow; the limbs push and pull, defining familiar trails.

Into the foggy haze before me, a part of the road lay hidden in the unknown, cloaked in obscurity, and masked with uncertainty, I hear a soft melody. Its rich tone entices me, pulls me, and seduces me with each pure note. My Piper sings to me, “Come, come!”  I long to obey, to fall under his spell.

The Pines, the Piper. A raging storm ensues. The Pines, the Piper. Calling, drawing, making me dizzy, and twisting me in knots. “Come, come,” they implore. Spinning me round and around, entangling bits of my hair, ripping parts of clothes, slicing into my skin, till I’m nothing but a ragdoll.

I fall.  “Come, come,” I whisper through swollen, cracked lips. “You’ve taken all I have …sans my heart.”  Hot tears shimmer down my cheeks. “Come, come, if you dare. Who will save me?”

The Pines remain quiet, stiff in their pride, but in the distant a single, pure note weaves through the forest. My Piper comes. He appears out of the fog, followed by a gay crew of revelers. He stands before me, holds out his hand, a smile tugging on the edge of his lips, and says, “Come, come, my Lady, let’s dance.”

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