Thursday, June 2, 2011

Salvage - Flash Fiction

Next Challenge June 3rd - theme ..... * I Remember *
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Romantic Friday Writers

     The Mustang rested in a corner, away from the rows of show cars, hanging its head with a For Sale sign plastered on its back. Jillian leaned in. It looked like the same car...
     “Hello.” The voice in her ear startled her. “Care to buy some memories?”
     Rick. In his own state of aged disrepair, but then who wasn't? Every morning, her own reflection had less to do with who she was inside. Squinting, if the light was low, she could almost make out the girl who lived inside.
     Rick. She had loved him wildly, passionately, joyously. He had left the country, breaking her heart. Yet she smiled now.
     “I remember some great times in this car. A shame you've left her go.”
     “Same wear and tear we all have. No shame in that. Wanna go for a spin?”

     The old haunts had all changed, or were gone entirely. Her heart stumbled as they turned onto the road which led to her childhood home.
     “Remember when I'd bring you home? We'd sit in the driveway and neck, and your Mom would give us 15 minutes and then flip the outside lights on and off? I never stuck around to see what would happen if I didn't take off right then.”
     Jillian smiled. “She approved of you. Other boys got no warning; either I was out of the car in a minute, or she'd sic the dogs on them.” Her face clouded. “I miss my Mom.” Tears unexpectedly filled her eyes.
     The old house was still standing but dilapidated, one shutter missing, paint peeling. The outside light was on, yet the interior was dark. No one home. Rick shut the engine off and coasted into the driveway. He shifted in his seat and looked at her quietly.
     “It tore my heart out, you know. I was convinced you could do better; I couldn't stand the guilt of knowing I'd ruined your chances for a better life.”
     A misplaced sense of honour. If only he had let her make that choice for herself. She bit back a sharp retort as he leaned toward her and kissed her, lightly and easily as he used to do. She drew back; in the deepening twilight the crumbling facades fell away and their underlying youth stepped forward.
     The lights on the house blinked once, twice, and went out.
 Coming in at exactly 400 words. Somehow, I missed that it was supposed to be 1st person POV. Since it took me hours just to cut this down to the word limit, I simply threw up my hands at the idea of rewriting it again. I think it's slowly dawning on me that romance just ain't my thang.


  1. Evokes such sweet romance of yesteryear for me.

  2. Hello Lisa.
    You did well with this one.
    This has a real sadness to it. The sense of wishing things were different is almost overbearing. They've both changed. I love the facades falling away at the end.

    Good job!

    My entry for this week is here:

    I don't know what's up with Blogger. This is my 2nd attempt to post this comment and the "listen now" wouldn't load.

  3. Too funny that the postscript is carried into the Stephen Hawking voice. My favorite part was the notion of the Mom liking him enough to let him smooch in the dark for a few minutes.

    Listen Now functioned fine for me. I'm on Firefox.

  4. Hi,

    I think you do romance extremely well, this piece testament to that. It's touching, it's revealing, is says a lot in a few words and conveys a snip from the past as well present tense thought of self assessment. Great little cameo from life's experience! ;)

    I can understand why you couldn't face a rewrite, and I don't find FP POV to my liking so it was doubly difficult to get my head around it and be the MC.


  5. I think you've captured the romantic element beautifully. This piece is so touching and bittersweet. Some regret and some resignation.

    I found FP POV really difficult as I tend to write in 3rd but found this week's challenge an interesting exercise (gulp!)

  6. I disagree! That was touching and said romance to me, romance of the real kind. The kind you want to read. Not sure about the POV but I loved this piece. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  7. I can so relate to the mirror not matching who I am inside!

  8. Hi Li - liked this a lot, and the business about the lights had a nice pay-off. DOn't feel bad, I missed the business about 1st person POV too - though yours, like mine, is told from the POV of the character. (Ironically, my piece for next week is first person POV.)

  9. This is well written. I would say, romance is hiding in you and waiting for the chance to come out. Bravo!
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

  10. Ooh I hope they get it together now and make up for lost time. I like the little details about the lights and the car :O)

  11. I'm no expert, hell you would never spot me with a Mills and Boons, but as romance goes it seemed pretty good to me :)

  12. This is bittersweet and romantic and a little sad, too. so . . . do they get together now? Liked the details of the lights and the car.

  13. Li..I think you and I get too hard on ourselves. Yeah, we need to please us, but...we also need to listen to the readers.
    This was touching, and as others said, bittersweet. You know I don't hold by rules (RWA?) and convention. It felt right.

  14. I wouldn't say romance isn't your thing. You did a good job of showing how these two felt about each other all those years ago.

  15. Looking forward to your game picks for Monday's blogfest!

  16. Regardless of how it was "suppose to be written", I think you wrote it wonderfully! What a beautiful story...and VERY romantic too. You are such an artist with words.

  17. Maybe it's 1st person that is not your thing in romance pieces. Keep going!

  18. Hi Li. My jaw dropped when you said romance writing isn't your thang. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about romance writing. We're not about Mills and Boon, we're (RFWers) are about edgy flash fiction with a strong element of romance, which you do so well. So enough of this putting yourself down. Go for it. You can see by your readers here 100% are for you and love your style.

    I guess you were feeling deflated about the FP POV, but that's just a way to challenge ourselves, to write in a different way. By trying different POVs, we may discover a hidden voice/talent we didn't know we had. Stories aren't always better written in the third, just usually easier and allowing us to be a little more abstract.

    Li, please write for us next week. 'Forgotten.' It doesn't have to be FP but it can be!


  19. And I actually forgot to say I love how you weaved the car/the past/the present in your story. Genius.


  20. Thank you, everyone. It's a hectic weekend, so I can't respond individually - I'm still trying to get around to other blogs this evening. But, as always, you are all so very supportive and I appreciate that. I suppose I'm as guilty as a lot of people who assume "romance" means sticky sweet with a hunky guy and gorgeous woman and a fairy tale ending. Which is fine - but the genre encompasses so much more, as I'm finding out. So I'll just keep on. As for the POV thing, I just get frustrated with myself for making careless mistakes and not reading the rules. That's deadly when it comes to submitting work for publication, and I need to keep a close eye on that sort of thing! Thanks again.

  21. In writing to the theme, people seem intent on trying to break my heart. I like the second chance here.


  22. You did excellent in the romance theme. I have the same worry; that I'm just not a romance writer. I can write it for short excerpts, but I doubt I could sustain an entire novel. I didn't see the requirement for 1st POV either.

    This was well written. I loved the use of the Mustang to transition into the past. The date memory worked well. The nostalgic voice was strong and emotive.

    good job.