Flash fiction is my first love, and though I’ll soon have You Beneath Your Skin, my debut novel, out into the world, I continue to write flash stories whenever I have a few minutes.
Sharing with you a flash fiction piece that got published quite some time ago at Atticus review.
(Drop links to your published pieces by scrolling to the end of the post.)
When she turned in her sleep, his name branded itself on her cheek, an invisible mark.
It leaked through her cheek into her mouth. She tasted him, and his name made its way to her stomach, became part of its lining.
When she curled the pillow to her breast, his name seeped through her skin, a tattoo deeper than flesh, imprinted on her bones and ligaments, trickled into the marrow, made itself home.
The syllables of his name, its onset and rime, crawled up her nose and sinuses, into her brain, whispered his songs from inside her ears. Its nucleus and coda tickled her, drove her insane.
His name possessed her, coursed through her surging, feverish blood, colonized her aortas, membranes, veins.
She searched for him next morning, looked for him in the dip of his pillow, the cold side of her bed, the upturned carpet where he’d stumbled in the dark. She called for him down the stairs, gathered her woolen robe to accost him in the kitchen.
On the way down she tried to remember what had woken her. Her daughter called just then, the two syllables of her name. Mom-my. /ˈmɒm.i/, as he would have said. She smiled at the way he’d described love-making to her last night, with all its slow vowels–how it could become rough-making, or laugh-making, if they replaced a phoneme or a slash here or there.
Her daughter called again, louder this time. The sound turned her body from the stairs, drawing it towards the toddler’s room.
She soothed her daughter’s curls and her dreams; carried the half-awake bundle to the kitchen to warm some milk. Not finding him there, she set the kettle to boil, murmuring to her daughter, calling her made-up names with round, gurgle-y sounds. Phonemes-shonemes, all his phony claptrap. Maybe he’d gone out to breathe in the chill, and would come back to crack a homonym joke.
With her daughter fed, she showered, and tried to remember his name. What had she called out when he came to her, at her, with her? He’d talked about the difference, making her laugh. She didn’t have his number. Maybe he hadn’t felt what she’d felt in her drunken haze, like being in a plugged-in spider web that singed the down on her arms, set her hair crackling on the pillow when he combed it out for her. She checked her arms—still smooth but going to fat. She checked all of her body while drying herself, but he’d left no sign.
She dressed, her fingers clumsy with the effort to keep them steady: couldn’t let his disappearance ruin her day. She didn’t notice the button she’d ripped off his shirt lying under the wardrobe.
Over the winter, the button sank into the dust, and settled.
His name in her pillowcase crumbled, and bits of paper clung to the pillow. They did not reach her—not when she snuggled into it alone, warm under the sheets, nor when another head joined hers.
The syllables of his name broke down into phonemes, and disappeared.
What have you published lately? I’m adding a Linky list, open till Saturday, and invite you all to add links to your recently published pieces. Anything in the last few months is great, whether it is a flash fiction, an article, a blog post, a short story, a poem, a novel that you’d like to share with the world.
This is a great way for me to find new stories to read, and linking them here ensures others would find them too.
The list is moderated so it will not have spam, so if you want to browse through the list, read and encourage others, you’re most welcome. The link will remain up, till further notice. I loved the experience with reading posts on my last linky– check out the wonderful novels, short stories and essays shared there!
Here’s a linky for this week:
In the linky list above, please do the following:
- Link to the article/ novel/ blog post/ essay you want read, and not to your blog. I’ll delete links that lead to home pages and websites.
- In the Blog Title part of the Link form, add the genre and the title (For instance: Novel: The Old Man and the Sea).
Do NOT do the following:
- Do not add spam links. (I’ll delete them during moderation)
- Do not add homepage links to Websites/ Blogs.
- Do not add more than one link. (The list is moderated, so your link will appear only after I’ve cleared it. This is to discourage spammers.)
- Do not ask me to edit/ make changes to the list. (I edit typos without being prompted, don’t worry).
I hope to have a few things to read by the weekend!
In other news, I’m also happy to report that the feedback for my writing and reading gazettes has been overwhelmingly positive. (If you’re a reader, or a writer, you need to find out more here.)
Even if this is your first time on the blog, you’re very welcome to SUBSCRIBE HERE, to get monthly curated resources on writing and reading, via emails which would drop into your inbox around the 10th of each month.
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This monthly event has brought smiles on the faces of a lot of participants and their audiences, and somewhat restored their faith in humanity. Here’s a sampler. Click here to know more.
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A fantasy view of something so real and heartfelt. Well done!
Oh Damyanti, I could feel her yearnings. So much emotion in a flash. Beautifully wrtten, my friend.
This was so beautifully done. How he, his memory seeps into her very being.
That was an interesting read. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
That story was compelling. I am not her but you made me feel her need, emotion. How did you do that???
That’s such high praise coming from a writer of your caliber, Jacqui. Thank you.
Wow, this was so sensual and beautiful! Excellent!
Maybe you should have a book of flash fiction stories for your next 😉
Thanks, Soumya, glad you liked it. I do have a book of flash stories roaming around some place on Smashwords, all quite old. I have enough flash pieces to fill a novel-sized book, but dunno if anyone would want to read them.
Loved this story – sensual, heartbreaking, beautiful! Very well done, D!
Hey thanks, Shinjini. You always say the kindest things.
Such a heartbreaking story. Very well written.
Thanks for reading, Apeksha. Glad you liked it.
This had me sighing and swooning as I was reading it Damyanti. So sensuous and love worn – loved it totally!!
Neat idea for the blog hop, I did enter my linky but not sure if it went through.
That’s high praise, Shalini! Thank you. The linky is moderated to keep it free of spam.
It has come through. It is just a way to link to all the neat reading material from my friends!
Wow. Heartbreakingly beautiful!
Thanks so much Shweta! Glad you liked it!
Ah, what might have been! Kind of heartbreaking that she never found the note. You are such a brilliant writer, Damyanti! ❤ I’m in awe…
Thanks, Debbie. You’re very kind, as usual. Thanks also for your shares across social media!
I loved it! And you say you wrote this in a few minutes?! Truly awesome! ?
I write my flash fiction quite quickly. That’s how I manage to get the organic wholeness. Of course, then I revise, and reflect. But the main writing is done very fast.
I am dumbstruck by your flash fiction here, D, and so much so that I have no idea what to say about it! LOVED IT is all I can say! How do you come up with such brilliant ideas? <3
Hey Shilpa, this is an old piece. I don’t know where they come from, really. This one showed up because i saw someone’s name monogrammed on pillowcases, during a homestay, and I began writing about it once back home.
Wow! So I need to keep my eyes peeled for such awesome prompts for my fiction ! ?
Check out the book What If, by Anne Bernays. 🙂