Dead (97)


This image was provided by Madison Woods as inspiration for the Friday Fictioneers.

A body discovered. A person disappeared.

She died there, in the cold dark before dawn, when the air is thin like a blade. Ice crystals formed on her lashes and in the corners of her eyes.

I imagine these tears escaped at the last moment, when only a subconscious would be left, before her lungs and heart stilled, but the breath was already slight. She would not have cried before, even if she were afraid.

I would have cried.

Beautiful enough and worthless enough to be killed in some archaic performed artistry. Oh, what have we sacrificed.

For more flashes prompted by this image, and to learn more about flash fiction, visit Madison Woods and explore the Friday Fictioneers.


24 responses »

  1. You write with great precision, and I love that; I strive for it myself. This was fascinating, looking at the actual act of death, not often done, even – especially – in novels full of death. “Air thin like a blade” leading into ice crystals was just so… elegant. Though I think I can imagine, I wonder why you decided not to have a question mark at the end. (?)

    • Thank you! I think sometimes trying to be too precise gets in the way of telling a really good story, but I’m working on that. And I wondered about the question mark — but I think I didn’t want to ask a question. Rather, it was more of a sigh, and I hoped the punctuation would indicate how to read it. Does that make sense?

      In any case, thank you so much. I enjoyed yours this week, too 🙂

  2. Hey lime! So glad you joined in in the end. I loved your vivid descriptions, although I’m left with so many questions – how did she die, why didn’t she cry? Description is one of my biggest challenges, and I usually end up sacrificing it for story, so I’m in awe of you for concentrating on the description here and leaving the story for another day.

    I’m over here:

    • Thanks, Elmo — I don’t know whether it’s effective, but I just wanted to describe an image I had in my head that I thought conjured the implication of a story, rather than the whole story itself. I’m glad you enjoyed it; hopefully next time I’ll leave you with fewer questions!

    • Thank you so much. I think those two options are both potential. I was saying to Elmo that I mostly went for painting a picture of it this time, but hoping I’ll be more story-oriented this week.

      Also, I think you might have a Limeskin novel in you…

    • Huh. I hadn’t thought about the order of the first two sentences — I might have made the choice for rhythm reasons? And also the idea that it’s the reaction to the body being discovered — it’s us, in the scene, seeing it and reacting with the thought “another disappearance.” Does that make sense?

      Thank you so much for the thoughtful comment. Headed your way next!

  3. Wow, absolutely perfect writing and wondeful use of language. You certainly know how to ‘paint with words’. The imagery you create here really hits home and stays there. Powerful and touching. This read to me as the musings of an anthropomorphic personification (try saying/typing that with a Fruit Pastille in yer mouth) of death, maybe taking a brief moment on his/her rounds? That, or a M.E. with a seriously artistic bent. I love this. I always know I’ll find quality here. Back to re-read it now 🙂

    Here’s mine this week:

    • Andy — You’re always so kind. I’ve been slammed with work, but I’m so looking forward to getting to yours from last week.

      I’m really glad you enjoyed this. Thank you thank you!

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