“Sunday Micro-Flash” is being re-clepped as “Monday Micros” and not merely for the alliteration–a bonus. This gives a chance for the hardworking judges over at Flash Friday to get their results out–and with the incredible number (and quality) of entries, posting winners on Monday has become more often the norm.
The additional challenge was to include a marriage proposal.
The winning piece “Like a Dali Painting” (and the conceit works so well with the tone and subject matter of the flash) came from Carlos Orozco.
Of the two, my second entry “Re-Inspiration” got a special mention. That surprised me as I preferred “Ex-Pats vs. Tourists”. I noticed this time around, there seemed to be a preference given to flashes that completed their tasks in a single scene. Many entries (including the winner and runner-up) focused on dejection from failed romances–which the figure in the prompt tended to inspire.
Any way, here are mine:
Tourists vs. Ex-pats
The first time Ari visited, I pegged him for a tourist. He clutched his mother’s hand when Mina nosed his pockets. No native kid from here to sunrise was intimidated by goats. I linked fingers with him because we shared an age and an incongruity.
“Deema, leave them alone,” Ommah said, rolling out flatbread.
“But they’re like us.”
She sighed. “They are and they aren’t.”
Ari returned at the time of conquest, when a citadel crouched over the shepherd camp. Bolder, he clambered up the slopes to stroke the coarse hides of the animals. I greeted him, startling him, our shared language emerging from my sunbaked face.
He visited one last time, when bombs crippled the walls that centuries never shattered. Goats abandoned, I took cover in the village.
“I came back for you” he called, leaning from the hotel balcony.
The ground growled under my feet.
“We’re alike,” he said to my hesitation.
“We are and we aren’t.”
And my second entry (which I nearly didn’t write):
The blank pages glare at me. I slam my pen across them and stomp out to the balcony. The citadel broods on its spur. I try to breathe in its stony history, but the walls remain impregnable.
I spent my advance on this trip. Bastiel had promised another bestseller. However, the last I’d seen of Bastiel was ten seconds after my refusal.
He lingered in the outside glare, dark wings flaring like a mantle.
Oh, those dark truffle eyes, that merlot mouth—and, oh, the worlds he’d delivered to me!
As he departed in a gust of heat and heartache, his parting words lacerated me: “It would’ve been your best.”
“It still could be,” I murmur to the machicolated towers.
Machicolated—a term from the last novel he wrote through me. I still know it.
The turrets wink at me through the twilight. I brandish my pen and assault the notebook.
From now on, I’ll be my own damn muse.