Behind the Curtain – Flash Fiction Contest

8 Oct

Miss Dark Fairy herself – Anna Meade – is hosting yet another flash fiction contest and readers, I am proud to announce I managed to get my <enter explicit here> together to enter! In fact it closes October 13th so I am WAY ahead of the game. *happy dance of a dark fairy nature*

The premise is simple: Write a flash fiction piece (up to 400 words) that captures the darkness that lingers behind the curtain. Photo inspiration can be found on Pinterest and though it wasn’t a strict requirement, I found one that suited my darkness just perfectly. For more information on the contest, visit Anna’s blog. And now for my submission, enjoy!

The San Domingo Burlesque (383 words)

The crowd loves her. They soak up every twist and flex she makes as she moves across the stage amidst the colored lights. Her thin and sleek body is the definition of perfection in their craving eyes. They’re just far enough away not to see the sharpness of her bones beneath the sheerness of her flowing rags.

photo credit

She dances for them with unfocused eyes; they’d complain that her disinterest was a killjoy – that is if they ever stopped to look at her eyes, which few ever did. They come for her body, not her eyes. It’s not all that hard for her to stay unfocused; she spends most of her moments in a dense fog these days.

The music is deafening, though it’s her body that feels it. The suffocating bass vibrates across her skin, seeping into her veins. She resists the urge to rip at her flesh to be rid of the poison that courses through her. Yet she knows the minute she’s released from her penance she’ll find Cain and beg for more sugar. It was Cain that first gave her wings; taught her how to fly with such grace that even dancing became something of beauty for her. She loves them both with blindness.

The music stops and her body jerks to a halt; she’s just an automation of her former self. The lights go out and for a moment she pretends they were never really there, ignoring their catcalls and whistles.

On her bench backstage she lets her rag dress slip off her shoulders, lets her stringy damp hair hang across her cheek and stretches out her tired legs. The cream-colored makeup she uses to cover her skin has already begun to smear revealing a mixture of fresh angry purple marks and fading brown spots across her arms and legs. They trace her veins like the road maps she used to spend hours reviewing as a child. Maps that held secrets to a better life or so she hoped.

She runs her sweaty finger along the length of her calf, unmasking more marks as the makeup wipes away. A series of prick-points trace out her journey and no matter how many different tracks she attempts to follow, each one leads her to Cain and The San Domingo Burlesque.

34 Responses to “Behind the Curtain – Flash Fiction Contest”

  1. lisashambrook October 8, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

    A lost life so delicately described…love the use of fog and blindness, exquisitely put.

    • ajjrichmond October 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

      Thank you Lisa, the photo just spoke tragedy to me.

  2. Jo-Anne Teal (@jtvancouver) October 8, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    Oh Angie….I’m speechless. I think this is one of the best things you’ve ever written. The characterization is beautiful and heartbreakingly real. That last line is a killer. I’m in awe of this story. A wow.

    • ajjrichmond October 8, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

      Thanks Jo-Anne! Coming from you that is a HUGE compliment :)

  3. Anna Meade (@ruanna3) October 8, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    Lyrical and poignant, my friend. Thank you for entering!

    • ajjrichmond October 8, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

      Thank you for hosting!

  4. Angela Goff (@Angela_Goff) October 8, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

    Daaannnnnnnnng. This is beautiful, Ang – heartbreakingly beautiful. So much history and pain told her without explicit descriptions, wonderfully woven back against her stage presence and taut beauty. Lovely work!!!!

    • ajjrichmond October 8, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

      Thanks Angela! I read yours and realized I had better step up my game! This contest was SO up my alley :) Thanks for commenting and stopping by.

  5. Susi Holliday (@SJIHolliday) October 9, 2012 at 9:05 am #

    This is great. A tragedy, very well done…

  6. paul lonergan October 9, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    Caught my immagination from the start..A great read

  7. Laura Jamez (@LEJamez) October 9, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    Hooked from the beginning, so lovely despite being a tragic tale :)

  8. Meghan October 9, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    Awesome! Best descriptive piece I’ve read from you! The writing and the photograph so elegantly complement each other. Well done!

  9. Melanie Conklin October 9, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

    I enjoyed reading such a carefully crafted vignette.

    • ajjrichmond October 9, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Melanie Cole October 10, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    Beautifully told. A perfectly vivid story, I loved every line!

  11. louisesor October 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    Such a sad story. Well told.

  12. Cameron Lawton (@CameronLawton) October 10, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

    I love this theme – the misery beneath the veneer of sparkle. That was excellent.

  13. Diane J. Reed October 12, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    Gorgeous! I was heartstruck by this piece. So sad, but such fine writing : )

    • ajjrichmond October 14, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

      Thanks Diane! I read your piece and was entranced!

  14. Sophie Moss October 13, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    This is absolutely gorgeous. I loved every line from beginning to end. You captured the feeling of the photo beautifully, and all her internal thoughts just made my heart ache.

    • ajjrichmond October 14, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

      Thanks so much Sophie! I just read yours and I loved it :)

  15. Miranda kate (@PurpleQueenNL) October 15, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    Loved this piece, really flowed well, felt everything she was experiencing.

  16. Holly October 18, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

    What a sad story, Angie. So horrific and tragic and depressing, yet poetic and beautiful at the same time. I really enjoyed this. As much as one can enjoy sadness.

  17. jtsuruoka October 18, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

    A beautiful piece of work…

  18. Rebecca Fyfe October 20, 2012 at 3:21 am #

    A wonderful, imaginative piece. I felt so sorry for her, and the story matched the picture perfectly!

  19. Carol Ives October 21, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    Bravo Angie! Bravo!

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