So, folks, here’s another piece of me. That’s how I feel lately, writing. Teeny, tiny pieces of me jumbled together on the page, or screen as the case may be, little black marks that signify stuff from my brain (in case you’re wondering, I don’t think that’s the technical explanation for what writing is, but anyway…).
She is empty. Her hand lays open on her lap and her eyes follow the creases and lines embedded therein: paths to nowhere. No, wait, they do lead somewhere. Closing her eyes, she follows the lines down to where it’s so dark she can’t see, but she can feel; the emptiness. She calls out and her voice echoes, like she is in an empty metal drum. Her own laughter taunts her: there is no one else to comment. It is lonely here. Does she long for the feel of his skin? Yes. Does she need their approval? Yes. Knowing them, him, anyone and everyone, she settles to the floor—blacker than black—like a leaf, a skeleton of a leaf, to wait. There is no breeze in this place and her threadbare form will never be borne up again. She hasn’t the strength to do it herself. Again, she will wait, until the waiting is over.
If you like this piece, it is highly likely you’ll enjoy my book of short stories, Dark Spaces. Visit Amazon or Smashwords and grab the e-book, it’s only $2.99. What a bargain ;).
Uni is upon me again and I must write weekly snippets to post on the board. This week we have been asked to tell our ‘life story’ in 250 words. Mine has gone off the rails a tad. I know I understand what I mean but maybe other people won’t. I’ve posted it anyway because I love to share. Here’s hoping someone else enjoys my autobiographical flash fiction.
What is relevant in the story of my life? Is it that I was born in Sydney to immigrant parents, or is it that I’m married with two young children? Many of the events that shaped me are hazy memories, some even appear as dreams: me as a five year old, lying in a white room on a cold, stainless steel table, staring at bright lights while a white-coated person stands over me. As a teenager, when I told my mother about this memory-come-dream, she advised that when I’d had meningitis, they extracted spinal fluid from me with a more-than-impressive needle, without anesthetic. She, sitting frantic in an adjoining room, could hear my screams: screams she would never forget. My life shaping experience had become hers.
What is the story of someone’s life? As I stand before you as an author, mother, sister, sports-lover and wife, does my backstory matter? My experiences are gone as soon as they occur, and I am this moment in time. The retelling is a reshaping, not a reliving—we can never go back. The relevant story of my life, to me, is what is to come. Since I am not who I was when I was born, my life unfolds moment to moment: the story ever beginning and ending, each moment becomes my story until it has passed—then it belongs to another.
This flash fiction was inspired by 30 Seconds to Mars’ song Search and Destroy (A Million Little Pieces). I entered it in a flash fiction comp but alas, it didn’t catch the judges’ eye. Not to worry, that’s why I have a blog. Maybe one of you peeps will like reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
A Million Little Pieces
She stood on the creaking deck of an ancient ferry. A million little pieces. Her hands tightened about the railing. Debris from black clouds, invisible in the night sky, stung her face. Which were tears and which were rain; she no longer knew. Closing her eyes, she tilted her face to the infinite space above. A million little pieces.
She imagined she felt his hands about her waist, grounding her as gusting tentacles attempted to carry her off. Where she once felt his warmth, an aching imprint of lost passion burned through her pores. She willed the rain to scour her skin, rip the veneer of lust away. Her emotions possessed a deep rich bouquet, each drop extracted, consumed, and refilled on his whim. What was left fermented in a glass vial where no one could see.
He didn’t want what little was left. He had gripped the neck of the vial, had smashed it with a confident yet negligent thrust of his arm. Her vessel had shattered into a million little pieces, and her essence trickled into the cracks between the timbers, washing from railing to railing with the roll of the sea. She wished to be free but knew she was weak. But so was he.
“Let me go.” Even as she spoke she sank into his arms.
He smiled and shook his head.
As he possessed her once again, each shard stabbed a little deeper, and she wept for the love that was anchored in his intense, dark waters. She escaped the only way she knew how: into the depths of him.
She clutched his jacket. Fingers curled possessively around the fabric, pulling then pushing into his chest. Her earthquake shook him, but he was unmoved. The sympathy in his eyes only teased the ravenous anger until it consumed all rationality.
“You can’t leave me. I love you. Please tell me you love me?” As she tried to breathe, he was reminded of the final breath of the dog he had unintentionally run over. “This can’t be happening. Sam. Please, please, don’t leave me.”
Waterlogged eyes reached out to him. If he didn’t save her she would drown. The slightest shake of his head was all it took to condemn her to death. He was no hero, just a guy who wasn’t in love anymore.
“Beth, I’m sorry.” He grabbed her wrists. Unlatched them from his jacket. His head hung low as he walked out the door.
“I can’t live without you,” she whispered. As salty tears leached into her mouth, she made her way to the kitchen. “I love you, Sam.” Her raspy words were in harmony with the sound of the knife sliding from its block. The grey steel of the blade was cold, hard and comforting. It was time to stop crying. She would be the hero.
Beth departed in Sam’s wake. She would save them both.
Dark Spaces by Dionne Lister
Drum roll… And now, I would like to announce, I have a new book out! Dark Spaces. This was a surprise to me. I had an idea that I wanted to gather all my short stories and a couple of my flash fiction and bundle them together in one collection. But I thought it would happen in a few weeks. When, all of a sudden, I was picking a cover photo and Amber Jerome-Norrgard was doing the writing on the cover (thanks Amber) I realised it was happening now!
I love my cover, and can’t believe it turned out so well. Amber can attest to that, as I’m very picky. After making her adjust the placement of the text a few times, she labelled the file “dionneanalretentive”. The cover lets you know what to expect: suspense, increased heart-rate, and some psychopathic characters.
Anyway, I found myself uploading the book to Smashwords and Amazon on a day that was not set-aside for this. Where did that come from? How did it happen? Hmm, maybe that’s fitting, seeing as it’s a book of suspenseful stories. As usual, I surprised myself. The next shock came when it was available on Smashwords approximately fifteen minutes after I pressed ‘publish’. I would have fallen over, had I not been sitting down, because I had two sales within fifteen minutes of going live!
I would like to thank the supportive peeps who have already bought my book. I hope you grab onto your e-readers, desperate to know what’s going to happen next, and I’m sorry if any of my stories make you cry.
So, I’m excited! I have two books out. If you had told me, a year ago, that I would have self-published two books by now I would not only have laughed, but called for someone to get you a psyche evaluation. Funny how life surprises us sometimes, isn’t it?
I’m entering the Stringy Bark flash fiction competition. It has to have a link to Australia. Part of the comp is a micro fiction of less than 100 words. I thought I’d post mine, which will be taken down after I’ve entered the competition.
Cicadas screamed. A hot wind slashed stifling fingers through the ghost gums, sending leaves twisting to their final resting place. One leaf landed in an upturned palm. The outstretched fingers received the gift in cold indifference. Eyes, extinguished, couldn’t see the beauty of the leaf. More tears from the ethereal trees covered the lost boy. The cicadas’ dirge; a farewell song nobody could hear.
This piece is one of the weekly exercises for uni. I like posting them here because I kill 2 birds with one stone, so to speak – and yes I know that’s a cliche but I can use one if I want.
He sits in the doorway, huddled in a dirty blanket. It is 5 am, but he is awake; the cold that makes smoke of his breath has no respect for his circumstances. He lifts shaking hands to his mouth – one holds the cigarette, the other flicks the lighter. He inhales, then coughs until a hard ball of brown mucous flies out from his mouth. Staring at the black pavement he wonders how he got here. He lived with his mother until she died two years ago. Their housing commission flat was given to someone else, and what little money he had, ran out after a month in an inner-city, boarding house. He lifted the bottle to his lips, cheap wine that he could no longer taste. A tear drop of red touched his tongue. He shook his head and spoke to no one, “Fucking government. I can’t even have me wine.” He let the bottle fall to the ground, the paper bag he bought it in, muffling the sound. He took another drag on his cigarette, coughed, spat, repeat. His days were like that. He stood, gathered his blanket and patted his pocket to check for his smokes. Shoulders drooping forward as he walked, he drifted through time until the bottle-o opened, and he wondered why.