Saturday, December 5, 2015

Flash! Friday: A Beautiful Girl Lived Here + Feeding The Imagination

by Michael Seese

I like the word "penultimate." But not when it comes to Flash! Friday contests. I'm still going for that elusive win #6, which would put me in some pretty select company with the great writers who practice their craft there.

This week, we were given this photo:


and asked to include a dragon. (For some reason, Rebekah has an abnormal obsession with the big green critters.

I started first on "A Beautiful Girl Lived Here," but actually finished it second.

The plaintive words painted on the sidewalk never faded in the sun, never ran in the rain. 

A beautiful girl lived here.

Abigail always hated the past tense; it came burdened with an inescapable sense of finality.

She read yet again the stark white letters and thought about all the "finals" associated with that day, so long ago.

"I’m going out!" The final time she screamed at her father.

"No you’re not!" The final words he would ever say to her, practically breathing fire as he spat them out.

"I am!" Her final act of defiance.

The backhand across her face. The final time he hit her.

The sickening sound the bones in her neck made when they snapped. That was a first.

Her father’s anguished wail. Another first. 

A beautiful girl lived here.

"I still live here," she whispered, bringing another flood of tears from the eyes of a man wracked with guilt. "You just can’t see me, Daddy."

Then I wrote "Feeding The Imagination."

"Mommy? Are dragons good or bad?"

Amanda’s mother smiled, seeing the spark once again in her daughter’s beautiful eyes. For too long they’d swirled with dark storm clouds. Petey’s death hit her hard. The melancholia lasted months. Perhaps she was breaking free of the fugue.

"Both, I suppose. Dragons, like people, can be either good or bad."

"Don’t dragons kill people?"

"Some do, I imagine. Maybe they’re bad. Or just scared. I know I would be scared if I were resting comfortably in my nest, and—"

"Cave," Amanda broke in.


"Cave. Dragons live in dark places, like caves or—"

"Amanda," her father finally huffed. "I’ve had enough of this nonsense. This fantasy world. The swords and sorcery. Dragons are not real. Say it with me. Say it!"

"Dragons are not real," Amanda repeatedly obediently. 

Tell that to Timothy’s parents, she thought. They’re probably still looking for him. But they won’t find him. After all, dragons do have to eat.

Not to boast, but I'm pretty happy with both. But as always, it's the judges' call.

Now on to my Janet piece...

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