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My latest entry in the Angry Hourglass flash fiction contest with a word limit of 360 words and the above photo as a prompt. I was fortunate enough to receive the following bit of feedback from the judge:

“I read this tale, the image of the flower never far from my mind. The innocence of his sister, counterpointed with the wrath of a parental voice, felt pure Hitchcock. When the hip is removed my skin crawled at the skill and dedication of our protagonist. The horror that was expertly allowed to blossom, excuse the pun, creating a visceral reaction as all horror should. Excellent work.”

Humans break so…easily. So…simply. Like ripping the petals off a flower, I now did that to…I don’t know her name.

I’m Ian and I talk deliberately, like I have to handcraft the phonemes before the words blossom out of my mouth. Mom said I had a pretty mouth, it just came out of the factory wrong, but with a little practice, it’s a mouth that would drive the ladies to my bed.

She was right…in a way.

“Do not…scream,” I say to my victim, which I know is futile, but the screams are bringing…it…back.

She screams…long…and hard.

For a moment, I let her because I like to test my mental prowess, to think through the thing which pains me. Then I pull her other leg from her hip bone. I’d already made the necessary incisions earlier to make it more…seamless.

This time she screams the way a baby does when shadows flash over their nascent eyes in the night.

“Puh…puh…please…don’t…scream,” I manage. Then I mash her throat in with my fist.

As the blood pools around her body and between my fingers, I revert back to that night when…it…started.

The baby, my sister, was choking. Mom didn’t hear her death rattle. I ran into the room, but I was too little then to reach into the crib to retrieve her.

So I wailed.

“The b-b-b-baby…,” I started, the first time…it…happened. It was like someone had poured cement into my mouth and I couldn’t chisel my way out.

I tried again.

“The b-b-b-baby…is CRYING,” I managed.

Too late. She, my sister, died.

“It’s…o-o-o-okay,” I say to the dead woman, her throat like roadkill between her head and shoulders.

Then I hear the dead woman in my mom’s voice, that voice which seemed to come from so high above back then, “Ian, no girl’s gonna suck your dick if you can’t get out the words! Get them out, boy!”

Then she’d backhand me in the mouth, as if that helped.

“St-st-st-st-st-st…stop it!” And I smash her already smashed throat once more.

 

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