Sunday, May 8, 2011

Turned To Stone - Flash Fiction

May Grant lay trapped in her bed, staring at the ancient water stains on the ceiling. How is it that I deserved this, she thought for the thousandth time. She couldn't remember when life had not been hard, although there were a few bright memories; her first puppy, when she was eight, her wedding day, the day she and Jack had proudly made the last payment on their home. Being the wife of a coal miner was a rugged existence, and there was always the unspoken fear that one day he would kiss her on the cheek, leave for work, and come home injured, or not come home at all.

The Lord had kept him safe, but He had not seen fit to grant her the same.

Disease was slowly turning her body to stone. It had begun as weakness and trembling; she'd hidden it as long as she could, but finally Jack had dragged her off to the doctor, who had given it a name she could not pronounce, and sent them home with pages of writing they could neither read nor understand.

It was a dreadful thing. First she had lost the ability to walk; then to stand; then, to even turn over or move her limbs. Soon she would not be able to talk or swallow, and eventually she would be unable to breathe. The Church considered killing oneself a sin, but May wished with all of her heart that she had done so when she had the chance.

May continued staring at the ceiling, as she had very little choice in the matter. The sun was disappearing rapidly, and gloom overtook the room. Darkness was a comfort, as it wrapped itself around her, bringing the promise of sleep.

A rustle and a movement at the very edge of her vision startled her out of her reverie.

The figure which came into view was no one that she knew; and yet, she felt no fear. Perhaps she was beyond that particular emotion. Still, she felt her pulse quicken; and when he came fully into view, she realized that she was in the presence of an otherworldly being, terrible in its beauty. Or, perhaps she was dreaming.

The Angel of Death, she thought to herself.

If you wish, came the reply, although she wasn't conscious of hearing the words spoken.

May's husband found her that evening, and although he knew that grief would overtake him in its own sweet time, at the moment all he felt was relief. Thank God she would not have to suffer any longer. He brushed her hair, and pulled the blanket up under her chin.

(Thank you to Stu Nager at Born Storyteller for the title - I couldn't think of anything. Well, I did, but he made a face like he smelled something bad so I guessed it wasn't a good title after all.)


  1. Nice intriguing stuff. Would some elements of the Church actually reagrd her as of Satan, a devil of sorts?

    marc nash

  2. A wonderful write, and very good to read.
    Tears were in my eyes at it ended.


  3. Wow! That was a great short read! Thank you for sharing.

    The Write Soil

  4. Gosh, Li, you really are talented. I don't seem to have the patience to weave a story but I have a knack for weaving the truth, for being able to relate what is factual or historical. This is fabulous, seamless writing.

  5. I can see the talent and encourage you to keep moving. Stephen King only does a hand full of revisions. The rest of us, well, let's just say its a lot more. Just keep writing!

  6. Good luck with your revisions, hopefully you'll find the motivation you need to make it happen.
    Wagging Tales - Blog for Writers

  7. You MUST keep on with this, you do have talent - I love your writing style. More please!

  8. @ Marc - depends on which Church. I intend to explore religion and ways various sects react to certain 'paranormal' phenomena, as well as good vs evil, but I don't want to get too bogged down by it. One of my difficulties is constantly going off on tangents which distract from the main storyline - one of the reasons I've been practicing staying focused by writing flash.

    @ andymac89 I didn't post any of Chapters 1-3 because they set up the plot and the characters. Black hatters and such abound on the internet, unfortunately, so I'm unwilling to give much away. I can tell you that, like much of my flash, Chapter 1 will lead you in one direction, and then throw you in an entirely different one.

    Thanks, everyone, for your encouragement. If I only had more time, I could get the necessary research and editing out of the way and get moving. What I might do is just write it through, even if a lot of it is really bad and has gaps, and then worry about going back and re-writing it. In the meantime, blogging is providing a lot of fun and keeping me from getting too rusty. Thanks, everybody!

  9. My mother in her final years, with years of deterioration, was very close to what you've described here. Again, a name that's long and almost unpronounceable, basically a deterioration of the brain stem. It was difficult, as the grieving process begins early and stays late.

  10. Some great detail in here. Believable and realistic character.