Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Invisible - Flash Fiction - A to Z Challenge

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 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.

It's been re-worked a bit, but this is one of the first stories I wrote for my blog, which appeared in January 2010.


  1. Good stuff! Flash fiction is so fun to write.

  2. " 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."

    That image is so powerful. I don't think I'll look at a tree this autumn and not remember that sentence.

    Good work

    *~ MAJK ~*
    Twitter @Safireblade
    A to Z Blog Challenge

  3. Cutting as a way of being visible. Ouch.
    Powerful imagery throughout this, Li.

  4. What a interesting story and so powerful. She sounds very lonely..

  5. I find flash fiction such a challenge and you do a wonderful job here. The imagery is intense, looking forward to reading more. (:

  6. WOW. Great writing here. Flash fiction has such power to help us write strong and powerful imagery -- to create the image, the sense, the scene in a short space. Well done.

  7. Your character is very disturbed and alone, creative work. It scares the mother in me, great story.


  8. Incredible hidden vulnerability, imagery and sensitivity, Allan. Finds me hoping someone will discover Laura's new visibility... read the "message on the skin", and provide the love she never had. Next flash, perhaps?