Fragment #2

Okay, so this is for Brad, who asked for more of this recently posted fragment of a new short story. (See people, all you have to do is ask!) And just so you know, of the four or five new short stories I’ve written recently, this is one that my editor gave the biggest thumbs down to. ‘Too showy, too much about the writing, needs more work’, he said, which is akin to ‘start again’. (He’s right, by the way.) Sorry I’m giving you the ‘bottom-feeder’, but hey, it’ll be more interesting when I post a whole new and improved version of it down the track. So, here’s the next little bit (yes, morsel by morsel; gluttony is a sin after-all):

My father’s voice slides gently under my tarred blackness. It drip-feeds into my bloodstream and fills me up with flashcards from the past. My first dog flashes up at me. The beach holiday when I got my first period and dad bought me a book to congratulate me, which I thought was weird and creepy, but now I see it for what it was meant to be. The sock fights with my sister in the sanctuary of the air-conditioned family-room. My first date. My skiing trip. My mother’s first attempt. My wedding. My husband’s screams as the flames take him away from me. Enough cards now dad, I say, but no-one can hear me and I wonder if my lips have gone.

I remember pushing my face into the carpet of the hallway. There was nowhere else to go but down. Even as I shouted his name I could feel the words catching in my throat. Maybe my lips are still there, stuck to the carpet? But it’d all be gone none now. Dad would be all that remained. From an entire family and all of its material history, only my father would be left. My sister would fly home. But she wouldn’t stay. She never could cope with it all. Even with her gone, the house gone, the memories will linger like a stain in the neighbourhood, in the street, on my father’s clothes, in his skin and hair. She’ll get one whiff and she’ll leave.

The smell of me is crushing. It presses me to the bed. It replaces the air in the room and makes me want to apologise. But then the five stages of grief smack into me all at once and I want to scream at them to take their turn, but I know they don’t have time for that. Denial throws a hand up into Anger’s face, who bargains with Depression for more time, but Depression wails insistently until Acceptance quiets everyone with a spoonful of honey.

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6 Comments

Filed under Family, Fiction, Flash fiction, Short Stories, Writing

6 responses to “Fragment #2

  1. Grace

    Simonne….this line is my favorite:

    “There was nowhere else to go but down.”

    MAN – an entire book could be written around that idea alone…GREAT stuff here, Goddess! 🙂 Keep it coming!

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  2. That certainly clarifies the first fragment. “Too much about the writing,” hmm. Is that possible? I suppose these days it is which kind of saddens me. I like showy writing which asserts its writerliness as long it fulfills its promise which this piece certainly does.

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  3. Thanks Simonne. Your so called ‘bottom-feeder’ has a very healthy appetite. Loving the beauty and the tragedy.

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  4. Thanks Grace 🙂

    Hey Paul. Yes, I think it is possible. Maybe not with poetry so much, but certainly with short story writing, which really does need to be about the story first. If you don’t notice the writing then that’s a good thing! I hear your lament though, it’s so much fun to assert one’s writerliness! And thank you for the compliment.

    Thanks Brad!

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  5. first off, i love fragments, often better than the larger pieces they are taken from – my blog is mostly odd fragments. secondly, i love the claustrophobic feeling of the whole – pressing the face to the carpet, the smell pressing the body to the bed. it’s good enough that, despite what i said earlier, i’ll dare fate and ask to see more.

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  6. Hi Jason, can you give me the link to your blog so I can check it out? Thanks 🙂
    I’m glad you like the fragment. I might post some more after I get around to a re-write!

    Like

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