Just came across my creative writing coursework from a couple of years ago. These are two of the flash fictions which I wrote under the theme of ‘death’. A while ago I put a Creative Writing section on this blog (which never I never wrote anything for) but it got lots of views so I thought people might want to see some.
I hope you enjoy, Mia x
It is such that humanity cannot know splendour without despair. We know that sunlight cannot play upon the earth without shadow. In equal measure, beauty may not be wrought without the presence of some greater evil; that of vanity, of jealousy, of seething rage that burns like blood in the temples.
Picture then, if you will, Eden’s child. The sky atop it leans as a cobalt smile toward the land. Trees gaze, knowing and gnarled, over all that they overhang. Their leaves chatter some ancient green wisdom; this midsummer symphony entwines with birdsong. The choir’s wings fizz in shades of electric sherbet; throbbing cherry and lemon creatures with beaks that splay and snap in conversation.
And then, below the lace of ivy, down the bubbling sheen of bark, a fray of grass; grass that is supple and jagged. Glossed with dew, like shavings of emerald, each blade is crisp and erect. The ground shivers as though glazed with breath. Upon it lie the freckles of fallen blossom – velvet tributes to what sweet nectar heaven leaks upon us.
Melting as a sigh through the land is the stream. She dances like molten crystal upon the hillside. Her laughter is hushed because it is eternal; it does not stain a mere moment with pleasure, but lightens time like a quiet reminder of joy. She splashes upon the fat worms who glisten between lumps of ebony soil. Toadstools peep their dappled heads upon her banks.
So delicious is the sight that you might doubt, for a moment, the inevitability of the fall.
Might doubt that below your tread rot his victims.
You came with another’s shadow.
It leaked into your pores, silvering your skin like the dust of charcoal. Your hair greyed and your smile sagged. I remember it almost exactly; your eyes that bled with some past love, but fumbled for my touch anyhow.
It was immediate. We wrote as often as we could, sometimes more than once a day, and then, in the autumn, you took me to the hill that rolled as a wave over the city, and you kissed me. The smells of pines and salt and sticky citrus were there. Our picnic lay sprawled as our empire before us. I felt sparkling victory as your shadow left you and a brightness overtook.
‘I never thought I could again,’ you half-laughed, and in silken sunlight I felt your soul, and thought that a love might never have been so exquisite in all of time.
I was still dancing, back then. Now my toes are crooked and feeble. My hair is wiry; so much so that to tie it in a bun would be to craft dry hay into a globe. My fingers that once pierced the air with grace now rest, tired, at my side; one is bitten by a cast of silver. Sometimes, in the velvet of night, I move it on its own, and feel the cold underside of the ring as though it were the first time that it had touched my skin.
I used to dance for you. It evoked more intimacy than any touch could. I was a phantom, strange and seething, but with a tranquility that hushed. You would watch, with an expression that I loved; pensive, sometimes sad, as though my movement conjured some memory from you. I should not have enjoyed this most secret sadness, but I did – it brought me to you, was soft and weary, but was a part of you that you conveyed only to me.
When you asked me to marry you, I wept. ‘Yes! Yes!’
And so it was that you, sad and divine, would be mine.
Whilst I fretted and planned vigorously, you became quiet. Soon, it was no longer an endearing quiet. I tried endlessly to engage you. I danced for you and drew for you. I cooked for you and held you. I spoke of our life in the future, our togetherness, our children, and then, when it was of no avail, I spoke of our past.
I awakened it, then. I reawakened your shadow.
You aged like an oak. You never laughed.
It was then that I found the photo. It fell to the ground with a sigh. It had been waiting. From it seethed the shadow that had you sedated with grief – heavy, now, and so tangible with darkness.
Of course, she had been a dancer. Like me, she was slight and smiling, with dark hair that swept as a river to her spine. But her body flamed with otherworldliness, and it was not surprising that after my love and she were betrothed, death had courted that sweet face.
I left the photo where I had found it. You and I talked of her a little; you were not apologetic, for she had died and was of no significance any longer, and therefore I must leave it be. But it was then that the shadow oozed from your features and grew and grew beside you, perverting into a monstrosity that I knew you loved. She was there; too far gone to touch but too palpable to endure.
I spoke my vows to you as a mother does a lullaby to her child; with exhaustive efforts to soothe. You said them back and pecked me on the mouth. I wonder whether you noticed the smell of my perfume, like the smell of pines and salt and sticky citrus. I wonder whether you saw my hair, pinned to my scalp like a ballet girl’s headpiece. I wonder whether you noticed the embroidery of my dress, like shards of sunlight, upon a hill that rolls as a wave over a city.
I wonder, as my ring thaws my flesh in the night, whether her shadow was always your heart, mourning your life with her. I am sure it would have held the same delicate beauty that she did.
I am sorry to have been the intruder upon your love story. I am sorry to have been your other dancer.