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My latest entry in the Flash! Friday flash fiction contest wherein they provide the above photograph and you provide a maximum of 160 words. I received an honorable mention this go-around with the following feedback from the two judges, Sinéad and Pratibha, which you can see here:

Sinéad: Primarily I like this for the perspective, and for the language, particularly ‘The wiring around your brain was in discarded heaps and more frayed every day,’ and ‘me, Norman… a puddle of uselessness.’ I like how the story begins and ends in the minutiae of domesticity, and the middle section is figurative, imaginative and powerful. I also enjoyed the use of the motifs of light and darkness, the ‘flickering candlelight in the cavernous dark’ almost like a distant dragon, waiting to pounce.

Pratibha: This a dark tale told in a patient and sympathetic voice. The narrator delivers the saddest philosophy with deep understanding and acceptance, “Life wasn’t so neat and predictable. It was more like a flickering candlelight in the cavernous dark.”

Now the story:

Festooned around the bedroom were the remnants of your scorching: the bedside lamp’s bulb shattered across the far wall, the three-day-old scotch soaked into the baby blue carpet fibers and me, Norman, huddled next to the television stand, a puddle of uselessness.

For you, this was just another night, like all the nights since the diagnosis. For me, it was the cold discomfort of a stranger’s hand attached to my lover’s face, as we descended into madness.

The wiring around your brain was in discarded heaps and more frayed every day.

In a way, I’ve come to despise our love for making me bear witness you at your weakest. And in turn, me at mine.

I expected in the deepest folds of this darkness to unfurl some epiphany to light a path forward.

But there wasn’t. Life wasn’t so neat and predictable. It was more like a flickering candlelight in the cavernous dark.

I grabbed a broom and a dustpan.

One thought on “The Embers

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