It’s that time again- I’m trying to get back into the ever-awesome flash fiction challenges posted by Chuck Wendig over at his awesomely-NSFW site, terribleminds. This week’s challenge was to pick an opener sentence and roll with it. I chose sentence #6: “The first breath shattered her world, the second shattered her heart.” (written in by Fred Yost) Here’s my (clearly shorter than the preferred length) entry, “Glass.”
The first breath shattered her world, the second shattered her heart.
Each moment that the woman didn’t answer made another crack, another silver line down surface of her skin.
It wasn’t easy being made of glass.
“I can’t save you,” the woman finally said, her eyes averted. “It’s all a show. Just entertainment.”
The girl deflated. “But… I came all this way, hearing your call everywhere I went. ‘See for yourself, with your very eyes, as she works her magics!’ You are Lena the Conjurer, you break curses-” Even as the girl spoke, a man’s booming voice played overhead, touting magical powers seen nowhere else.
“Curses and hexes and jinxes I put into place,” Lena sighed into her glass, the red liquid within sloshing around her breath. “Eyes I intentionally misguide. Rabbits in hats, cards up sleeves… I told you- it’s an act.”
A sliver fell away from the girl’s fingertip. Another line spidered along her chest, covering her collar bone.
“There is no hope anywhere else in the world for me.”
“I sell bottles of hope,” the woman mumbled.
“Then I’ll just have to take one of those.” The girl slammed her open hand down onto the tarot-laden table, splashing Lena’s drink over the spread. “Here’s everything I’ve got.”
Her fingerprints left behind coins of gold.
Lena nearly jumped from her seat. “Honey, for that kind of money, you can have every bottle of hope I’ve got.”
She began scrambling the gold into her gathered skirt, paying no attention to the girl made of glass. See-through fingers ran along dusty shelves, searching each carafe for four letters. One by one, they clanged against her skin, until her arms were full of odd glass bottles and shimmering green liquid.
Storming through the fluttering fabric that formed a makeshift door, the girl plopped into dry dirt, uncapping each bottle and swallowing them down. The iridescent juices shined as they made their way through her uncovered body. The carnival’s many lanterns began to flicker out all around her.
“Work, damn it, work!”
Sucking in a deep breath, she waited. But she did not change.
Her cries and screams echoed through the darkening carnival grounds. “I can’t live like this forever,” her voice came out as a rough whisper.
“You know what? Maybe I can help you, girl.” Lena was standing in the doorway behind her, a red-stained tarot card in one hand, the other hidden in the soft pleats of her skirt.
“How so,” the girl managed through the sobs that shook her lithe frame, “you said so yourself: you’re a fake. You can’t help me at all.”
“Stand and face me.”
The girl of glass did as she was told, meeting Lena’s gaze even as hardened tears ran down her cold cheeks. The woman’s face was a mask of sorrow. She held out an arm, inviting the girl in.
In her embrace, the girl sobbed and wailed.
“The cards have spoken, honey. I’m… I’m sorry.”
It only took one tap of the ball-pein hammer to shatter her into a billion pieces.
As the woman turned back to her tent, a sudden gale wind yanked the ruddy card from her hand. It floated lazily to the ground, landing in the glittering debris.
Death himself stood on its surface, his blackened robe fluttering slightly in the breeze.
I do hope you enjoyed my very tiny story! With everything going on with the GODEATER release, I don’t have a lot of writing time this week, but I still wanted to submit a little something inspired by this sentence.
A haunting ending, and beautiful imagery throughout. I think the brevity worked for this piece.
Thank you! I appreciate it!
I love how a single prompt can evoke so many different stories. I really enjoyed this, and the length felt right. 🙂
That means so much! Thank you! That’s one of my favorite parts of participating in Chuck’s FF challenges: seeing what we all come up with, and how varied they are from one another.