Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Skin Deep - Flash Fiction

     Laura was wearing her Cloak of Invisibility. She didn't need to take it on, or off; it was with her wherever she went. But today, for the first time, she would dispose of it for good.
    As a child, she had loved the world, and peopled it with creatures of her own design. She read and drew, and traveled to marvelous places and saw magical things. Others had accompanied her for a time, but then they'd left to search for more substantial treasures; makeup and boyfriends, high heels and football games. A few had taken her along, but without money and shining tresses and a nice house to entertain them in, Laura had eventually found herself consigned to the outskirts of Teenville.
     She held a spoon to her father's lips. He grimaced, shaking his head, but she pried his mouth open and deposited the orange syrup. His once robust frame had melted to nothing and the booming voice to a shadowy echo of it.
     “I used to wish that you would just disappear when you were yelling at me,” she said, matter-of-factly.
     He said nothing, but she knew he was thinking the same thing; well, you're getting your wish.

     No new mail! her email account informed her, cheerfully, as though she should feel delighted. While the rest of the world was wringing its collective hands over too much social activity, not enough hours in the day, multitasking and information overload, she found herself grateful for a single response on her Facebook status or to an email. A phone call sent her into raptures. But as her life was consumed with care for her father, people dropped away. She couldn't go out, nor could she have them come over. She had a horror of appearing needy, so she was careful to always appear cheerful and brave. In secret, Laura willed them to look a bit deeper, to ask, no insist on dragging her out into the world. But her friends, like leaves in autumn, had danced merrily away, leaving her as a tree, naked and with arms outstretched to an infinite yet empty sky.

     Her father passed away and his ashes, suitably enough, arrived in a cardboard box, along with a coupon for $200 off her own arrangements. A limited time offer, of course. She remembered a saying scrawled on a schoolmate's notebook: Suicide is like a parachute. I hope I never need to use it, but it's a comfort knowing that it's there. She discarded the idea. After all, her death would only provide others with an opportunity to embellish their own lives. They would whisper, and console each other, word spreading in a flurry of tweets and updates. They would try and outdo each other with shows of surprise and sorrow. But she seemed so strong...she never said anything...if only I had known...

     And so she made the first of many cuts, wearing her pain and loneliness on the outside, a message on skin instead of in a bottle.
     Hoping to be visible, at last.


  1. Wonderful and haunting!

    You sure you don't want to join in the Story-A-Day fun? We only started on the 1st and your flash fic would fit in quite nicely :-)

  2. If I didn't know this was fiction I'd swear you knew me. Great piece of writing there my friend. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  3. Great use of metaphor at the end :D