Thursday, December 10, 2009

WHY FLASH?

I just realized it's called Flash Fiction because often, the story come to a writer as a flash, a glimmer, a lightening bolt of an image or an idea, with only the after image to imply the back story or the forward movement. Yet, it's enough to compel, to reveal, to intrigue.

DESIRE

From his tenth floor window, Gil stared across the alley, hoping to spy on her. The woman across the way often undressed before her windows, shades forgotten. Tonight her windows remained covered but backlit by bright lights. Two shadows danced across the ersatz screen. She had company.

Gil slammed his fist against his sill, feeling betrayed, offended that she didn't look out and NOTICE him. A tiny female figure grew large before it shrunk back to human size. Gil assumed his fantasy neighbor had walked across the room to pose for him. Maybe she was aware. Of his eyes. His presence. His need. He pulled a chair to his window.

Gil leaned on his sill, lips parted, unaware of his shallow, panting breaths. A male figure joined the woman across the alley. He reached for the female, pulled her into an embrace. Gil watched as her lithe form bent backwards, one arm extended over her head, a tableau of surrender. The man's shadow arm reached behind his back as his head lowered; two human shapes merging into one bulbous shadow. Gil seethed. Gil desired.

The arm shadow behind the man flitted down. The shade snapped open. Gil saw a room behind the pair; simple, stark. A bare wall. Two floor lamps, bright sentinels, each providing six different bulbs set at different angles. A man plunged the woman's bent form into a dip.

The man raised his arm again, the light behind casting him as an outline rather than a three-dimensional form. A knife's edge glinted. Gil held his breath. Light sparks arced into the chasm between their apartments.

He stood, kicked his chair aside, horrified, wanting to scream, to project his voice and warn the woman across the alley.

His arms trembled, his voice constricted. Gil didn't want to warn; he wanted to remain silent. His dread fascination elicited gooseflesh on his arms, a shiver down his spine, a throbbing in his loins. One part of his brain screamed, "NOOOOO!" as a smaller, more compelling voice inside his head whispered watch.

The shimmering blade plunged into the female bosom, a small hill conquered by a shadow, marked by a handle in the surreal outline tableau.

Gil shoved one wrist into this open mouth, stifling grunts, giving his teeth something to bite, squelching the scream worrying his vocal chords. His other hand crept to his jeans; fingers slithered to his zipper, stretched the slit into a gap; relieved the throbbing with feathery strokes.

Wide-eyed and moaning, Gil savored the pleasure, understood the truth. He could never reveal what he had witnessed; never. Her death would remain his until his grave. But until then, he would own her in a way he never could have owned her in life. He closed his eyes, watched the knife's arc, heard her catch her breath, whisper his name, beg for his mercy. Yes, he would replay that secret, treasure it, coddle it, embellish it until she became lost within him.

24 comments:

Angel Zapata said...

Gil sure knows how to take eroticism to the next level. "But until then, he would own her in a way he never could have owned her in life." Whoa, that's creepy good.

Enjoyed your "why flash?" observation; very true.

Tim Remp said...

Wow… that was an incredible piece. So many levels I forgot to look for the three words.

gautami tripathy said...

Like it!

gravely offended

ThomG said...

great work, Peggy. The storytelling was tight, the images great. It works on so many levels.

Tumblewords: said...

Nicely done piece.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Pervy! In a good way...

Dee Martin said...

wow - this was a great story while totally creeping me out lol

PS the Pratsie said...

Gosh!! I just love your blog .. been too busy to visit in last few weeks .. but this was amazing :D

And.. thanks fr d wonderful comment on my page :)

wordvamp said...

Very sensual and visual. I loved the story and found it fascinating yet creepy. Wonderful job and I'm looking forward to more.

mazzz_in_Leeds said...

Cooool, totally creepy!
Nicely done!

Laurita said...

Creepy goodness.

Laura Eno said...

Wonderfully creepy!

Chadwick said...

Good work!

David said...

I think Gil is next for the knife blade... is he?

elizabethditty said...

Sort of like a perverted version of REAR WINDOW. Very creepy! Nice work!

John Wiswell said...

Rear Window is one of my favorite movies, so of course I was game for this. Since I hear you're looking for critiques as well as praise, here are a couple of thoughts.

For me, you went too extreme in emotion too quickly. The first paragraph makes it seem like a passive engagement, something that amuses Gil. Slamming his fist into his own window in betrayal is dischordant and threw me off how the story was supposed to feel. Maybe he's simply supposed to be crazy, but insanity in narrative requires shaping. In this case I would need to feel a deeper investment from him, into her or in having a worse day than usual and so looking forward to this, before he punches things in frustration. The violence there gives him a little dark taint, which makes his perversion at the end more comprehensible, so I wouldn't do away with it.

"bulbous shadow" is an ugly and good phrase, probably the best line in here. It seemed like you strayed between atmospheric writing and pat descriptions. Voyeurism does have some popular flavors, so the influence to write about it a certain way is understandable, but I wonder if you noticed doing it. I wonder if describing the knife glinting is necessary at all, as that's such a pat description for a knife. A few times it seemed like you fell into more typical descriptions, almost cliches, like "pulled her into an embrace," or "throbbing in his loins," or that a feeling is described as a "voice inside his head." I'm not pretending to be above this - my character had a feeling manifest as a voice in my #fridayflash this week, too. But the point remains that pat language, like using "shadow" three times in four sentences (3rd and 4th paragraphs) undercuts the elegance of the better parts.

Looks like it's my turn to feel awkward about leaving feedback in a public forum this week, Peggy. I hope some of what I wrote is useful. Cheers!

pegjet said...

loved your critique, john. sometimes, as you said, we aren't even aware of the cliche's we fall into using (even that sounds like a cliche). This is from the woman who complained earlier in the week about the overuse of the words "reverie" "smirk" and "chuckle"!

Now, to make myself more aware and improve next week.

Chance said...

The evil peeping tom!

good stuff

Eric J. Krause said...

Very cool! As someone mentioned earlier, I thought this was going to be very much in the same vein as Rear Window, but you certainly took it beyond that. Good story!

livloveslit said...

The premise is a creepy one, but you do a great job with it. As John mention, there is some cliche, most notable for me was the knife glinting, but that's an easy fix. I loved the line: "But until then, he would own her in a way he never could have owned her in life." It made me wonder if he was the actual killer, which was really a fascinating idea to plant in my head. Thanks for sharing. ~ Olivia

quin browne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
quin browne said...

the heart of this, in my humble opinion is that it was more than just gil getting off on this one incident.. to me, it was speaking of that dark place that lurks in all of us, that we do not submit to.. and gil has. for him, this will always be his greatest sexual pleasure.

Linda said...

Great insight into the mind of one who kills. Very erotic in an eerie way. Per usual, stupendous writing -- you shine like Gil's blade, my dear. Peace, Linda

jdanetyler said...

This is an excellent piece. I loved the way it played and rolled out. I agree, you got some very useful critique, but the overall piece was a nice homage to Hitchcock. A very good flash entry!