Flash! Friday for Oct. 30: Plasticity

If you’re not familiar with what Flash! Friday is, here’s the explainer. But in short, it’s a fun weekly contest of flash fiction writers, where each week a new picture prompt, “element” prompt (based on fire and ice), and a limited word count is given, and writers have 24 hours to submit their story. By Monday, the judges pick a winner.

The Oct. 30 prompt was this picture:

Changing role patterns. Haarlem, The Netherlands. CC photo by Nationaal Archief. Find the description here

The additional prompt was to either include a dollmaker (fire element) or include a fugitive (ice element). The word count was less than 200, with no minimum.

You can read the full results here.

My entry had a word count of 199 words, and used the fire element. Here is my entry:

You could make humans do anything. Bend her knee. Tuck his elbow. Open his eyes in amazement. Switch positions. One day, make him flip through the newspaper, and after cleaning off the ink stains, make her do it.

The dolls went wild for it at Christmas peak season. Big boxes of humans couldn’t be restocked on the shelves fast enough. A rich doll was known by the big box shadows in the front windows of their dollhouses – a status symbol more than the tree. The best boxes came with the accessories: sandals, telephones, cabinets, pots, and pans.

Nuclear families were best sellers. But some tried to be more realistic, with one of the humans missing, like an empty crib after the baby died of SIDS. All to keep peak season interesting, to keep the dolls buying.

Suellen liked to play with the little humans more her size and easier to maneuver. But unlike her friends, she grew bored of humans and their mundane tasks.

So, she began plucking their eyes to see if they were buttons, too. And ripping at their skin to see if they had cotton stuffing underneath, too.

And searching to see where their tags were.

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