My latest piece (I did three) in the weekly Micro Bookends flash fiction contest wherein they provide the first (PEACE) and the last (PRIZE) words, respectively, and you provide no more than 110 words in response to the above photo prompt. For this one, I received a Honorable Mention from the gracious judge with the feedback:
“A gripping portrait of the destructive power of mental illness. I love this piece for its untrustworthy narrator; peace has been found, we are told, and though the MC recognizes it as “a perverted peace,” in the end he/she is unable to escape its clutches. I wish those who argue people battling mental illnesses should just “get over it” would read this story with its uniquely potent insight.”
Peace at last.
Dark shadows tap-danced on my mind, unrelenting for years. They sailed in and out of my consciousness seeking the last vestiges of any remaining hope.
Hope, I had come to learn, was the true madness of men. It was the invitation for the shadows; they gorged.
After a while, after shutting everyone else out, my only company became the shadows.
In the depths of them, I had come to find a perverted peace. Misery was better than hope, as at least it was more lively.
It massaged the numbness, even kissed it with its beguiling lips.
I had become the child of the shadows.
Their conquered prize.