Butterfly: New Short (Short) Story

Who said Flash (super short) fiction was easy??!! lol 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a story, mostly because I decided to take a break from smaller projects as I am actively writing the last book in my fantasy trilogy. But I felt I needed a change of pace and to look at subject matter other than what’s going on in the world of my fantasy novel. What follows is a reduced version of a full length story idea I’ve been toying with in my head for a while but just never had time to write. I decided to write a short version so that it can exist somewhere other than my imagination. I thought, ‘Well, it’ll be short so it won’t take so much time’. Mercy! I forgot how challenging this is. People, never underestimate how hard it is to write short fiction! For the time it took to write, revise and edit, I’m kinda pissed that it only amounts to 446 words! lol But here it is. Let me know what you think. 🙂

Butterfly

It’d been a while since the red cloud had blossomed under the bathroom door and pooled into a morbid patch on the worn hardwood. When I came in from school, Aunt Augusta had screeched from the cramped kitchen and come barrelling down the hall with a cloth in hand. Its white tail fluttered in the stale apartment air. Unsullied and bleached to purest perfection, this was what she used to sop up mother’s mess.

That stain will never come out.

Everyone watches as I stand in front of the closed door; I couldn’t yet move. The gelling pool rests inches from the tops of my scuffed sneakers, and I think it odd that it’s shape resembles a butterfly. Suddenly, it doesn’t seem so scary or gross only the family can’t see what I do. Stricken, they continue to murmur amongst themselves.

“She shouldn’t be there!”

“For God’s sake, someone take her away!”

But no one moves. No one dares touch me. I may be poisoned, not all there. Crazy, like her.

I’ve always known what they thought of my mother. Afraid of ‘a sickness’ they didn’t understand, they’d shunned us my whole life. Maybe that fear is what ate away at her. It took pink, yellow and sometimes blue pills to numb it away followed by bottles of clear and amber gross-smelling ‘water’. Then she would sleep, sleep, sleep to forget, forget, forget and when she couldn’t do either, she’d cry. She’d often talked about going away and leaving it all behind. Until today I believed she planned to take me with her.

I understood then that kids, even older ones like me, know nothing. And because of it we believe anything.

Somehow, I’d found my way to the living room. The sun’s rays are warm and heavy in the window seat, like a blanket. Buddy is in my lap, and my fingers play absently with his fuzzy arms and legs and then his shiny black, button eyes. His blank stare is kind. I hug him tight and whisper ‘thank you’ into his deaf ear because his is a look I can stand.

I look beyond the window pane and watch as white, puffy clouds trail across the sky. They are so far away; too distant to touch.

She’d left me to fend for myself. But if I was honest with myself, I’d have to say mother’d abandoned me long, long ago. I wonder if she’d sat in this very window seat and seen in the sky the hope I now see: salvation in the distance, hidden by massive, fluffy cotton balls.

So pretty…

So pure.

Maybe…

Maybe that’s what had given her the strength to shed her skin and fly.

Copyright@ 2014 by Dyane Forde

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About Dyane

Dyane Forde’s love of writing began with an early interest in reading and of words in general. Writing has been a life-long passion and she writes all types of things, from short stories, novels, flash fiction and poetry. Dyane writes to communicate, meaning that writing becomes a means through which she seeks to connect with people on a level deeper than intellect.
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14 Responses to Butterfly: New Short (Short) Story

  1. I enjoyed the reflective nature of this and especially how the ending relates back to the beginning.

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    • Dyane says:

      Thanks Yolanda. 🙂 in the original draft I had included other elements (like what people around her were doing) but felt that in something this short that wasn’t relevant. The focus should be on her experience, her life and the conclusion she draws. ‘Bookending’ was a subtle way to get the metaphor across. 🙂

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  2. Well worth the time you spent on it, Dyane. Very thought provoking. Like Yolanda, I liked that you sustained the metaphor.
    Well done, Dyane. Thank you for sharing it with us. X

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    • Dyane says:

      Thank you Christine. I wasn’t sure how people would respond to it but it touches on themes that are important to me. And I just tweaked the end so I’m happy to know that the change didn’t hurt the piece 🙂

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  3. glenperk says:

    I liked the part where she whispers in his deaf ear, as if anything louder he could hear. It’s significant in how she shows her emotion.

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  4. Very good Dyane. You’re right. Short stories can be very difficult to write. Especially one like this where so much is said with such little words.

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    • Dyane says:

      Oh, you’re right about that! In some ways, because it’s so short and nothing is camouflaged, I’m even pickier about the end product. I’ve had to stop myself from tweaking it with each reread. lol Thanks for reading and commenting, Vashti. 🙂

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  5. Ben Roach says:

    A wonderful piece, Dyane. Great description and very thought provoking for such a short piece. I loved it!

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  6. Thick with emotion and saturated with imagery. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been thinking about trying one of these. I have a tiny spark waiting for enough oxygen to burst into flame. Just want to finish my second draft first, but this is a fantastic idea. Get enough of it out there to solidify the idea.

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    • Dyane says:

      Thanks! And glad to hear it Rebecca. 🙂 it’s the first time I’ve tried this as I sometimes fear losing the desire to do the full job once the mini-version was out. But I still feel connected to the story, and the feedback I’ve received is motivating. So hopefully I’ll see it through. I’d love to see how yours turns out. Message me when it’s done?

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