Friday, 18 February 2011

Friday Flash Fiction

Now before I begin, this is my first attempt at flash fiction. I have spent several weeks plucking up enough courage to do something quite so exposing (no pun intended!). The thought of 'publishing' something that hasn't gone through months of revision sends shivers of anxiety through my self esteem. So here goes. 500 words or less. Let's hope the grammar and spelling are not too bad.

It was a leaden sky. The sort of sky that offers no promise but just sits there like an uninspiring ceiling. Against it, the black birds swirled like moving stitches and the trees, stripped to their bones stood out in stark contrast. Paulina didn't notice these black and white features of the landscape; she was too busy counting her footsteps. She had found that this was the only way to remember where she'd actually buried it because at this time of year, the forest looked just like one mess of jagged lines and dark earth.

Her breath skipped as the sound of flapping wings suddenly burst through the heavy silence. She let out a small delighted laugh when she realised just how much the bird had startled her. She'd once held a wild rabbit which had been hurt by an unknown predator. It's heart had hammered against her own chest at an increasing speed until at last, reaching an implosive crescendo, the pretty little thing went limp in her arms. She raised a hand and pressed it to her chest. It was still and calm.

At last satisfied that she had located the place, she bent, removing a small garden trowel from her basket. The ground was still hard from the morning frost and held resistance with a lose weave of thin but stubborn roots. Paulina chipped away at the soil and with each blow she though of him.

His name had been Simon and he had been so beautiful, that the first time she saw him in the shadows of the cathedral, she had found herself silently weeping. The hood of her cloak had shielded her face and so he did not notice her at her first, but as he passed, the intoxicating smell of smell of Frankincense filled his air causing him to turn and and retrace his steps to the source of the perfume. He sought out her face as she feigned interest in one of the icons. When she turned to meet his eyes, she had not expected to feel such a sudden rush of desire. It took her breath away and he mistook if for a weakness. His foolishness was part of his charm.

Eventually, the metal of the trowel hit the wooden casket, letting out a dull knock. Within a few minutes the whole box was revealed and discarding the trowel, Paulina worked her leather clad hands into the iced soil. It seemed reluctant to be pulled from its resting place but eventually it sprang free. The small gold key to it, lay secretly in her locket which she unclasped, freeing the key and then placing it between her lips until it was needed. Nestled in the basket was a small package wrapped in crimson velvet and tied with a black ribbon. It was small enough to fit snugly into the palm of her hand. Retrieving the key, she unlocked the box and lifted the lid deftly with one hand.

Inside the box lay three other packages, each identical to the one she now placed amongst them. The smell from the box was putrid and Paulina was grateful that she had brought an infused napkin with her. She pressed it to her nose, the scent of cloves and orange peel displacing the stink of rotting flesh.

This had been what had been required of her to complete the deal. Three hearts to save her own. From the basket, Paulina retrieved the small leather bound book, the bunch of herbs tied with twine and the box of matches. Page by page she tore the pages of the book, balled them in the palm of her hand and placed them along with the hearts. Before lighting the match, she spread the herbs.

As soon as the match hit the macabre little pyre, great flames erupted, forcing her to stumble back and scramble for cooler air. Within moments the fire had consumed both the contents and the box leaving nothing but ashes.

Beneath the firm boned silks of her corset, Paulina felt the faint stirring of her heart build to the strong rhythmic pulse of home - to the beating of the the distant West Indian obeh drums. Something she had not felt since her death.


  1. Wow, amazing! I love this. Such a powerful read. Thanks for sharing. :)
    From the Shadows
    Spirit Guide Series

  2. Thank you E.J.
    That means so much coming from a writer whose work I really love.