Saturday, August 15, 2009

Flash Fiction Carnival--Light

This was written in a flurry (what's up with this font?). It's a flash fiction piece, 200 words, it's super flash! The theme was light.


Left over right, a length of beryl-colored cotton tucked and straightened until the hem falls straight across my feet. The design is simple, butterflies painted in pastel pink and plum flittering across the sky, the sea? A wide obi of darker blue is wrapped around and around my waist, pulled until it pinches, twisted into a bow.

Hair brushed up, pinned and tied. Behind one ear I fasten a spray of fine golden wires, a tiny bell on each end. When I move my head, the nearly weightless balls bounce inside their golden orbs, a tinkling chorus cooling the August heat.

I’m ready.

The gravel crunches and gives beneath my wooden geta. I walk slowly to keep my balance. Tiny steps. And soon, just as the sun is setting, I find a patch of short grass where the sand of the shore ends, before the pine trees begin.

The inky sky bursts into color, a fan of red and gold and green. The explosion comes a moment later. It echoes hard in my stomach and I flinch.

He takes my hand.


Bailey said...

I really like this "super-flash" - it's almost poetic, and really does feel complete even though it is only 200 words.

Well done!

Gabriel Novo said...

Your piece surprised me and I didn't know quite how to take it at first. I even looked up some of the words to make sure I understood it fully, not being fluent in Japanese terms. I did all this to ensure I absorbed the beauty of this small piece correctly.

The simplicity of her actions is powerful when coupled with the reason. When I imagined Death taking her hand at the end, that's from where the "light" in the story emanated.

Wow... if this is what you do with just 200 words then I really need to step up my game to keep up with you at a 1000.

Kappa no He said...

Thank you, Bailey and Gabriel. I really want to work on the end. It feels very rushed and too vague.

Terry said...

Great teeny story. As someone who always struggles with the length limitations, your ability to make a complete story in so few words shames me...:)

Anonymous said...

A woman meeting a lover at the Abe Kawa fireworks? I just know that was going through your mind when you wrote this since they were just a couple of days ago, weren't they? I miss them big boomers and the weird advertisements through fireworks. The ABC Pachinko one still sticks in my head after all these years. I still can't figure out how they got those shaped-charges to spell out ABC.

Speaking of symbolism, I think I finally convinced the department and course heads to switch the upper-level ESL writing course book from "The Five People You Meet in Heaven", which reads like a script for a made-for-TV movie on the Lifetime or Oxygen cable channels. The intermediate guys read "Like Water for Chocolate", which at least is an introduction to magical realism. It's not "A Hundred Years of Solitude", but it's got some stuff that's easy to explain. I still haven't got them to accept "Heart of Darkness", but I'm working on them. The students need to know about allegory, non-chronological plots, etc before they get into freshman English courses. About half of my students didn't go to high school in their home countries, so they've never heard of that stuff. Plus I think Conrad is an ESL saint. English was his 4th or 5th language, and his writing is nearly perfect.
Thanks for the story.

Kappa no He said...

Terry, thanks. I really am not too happy with this. I'll leave it up though in fairness to the FFC.

Pin pong, pin pong! We had Yaizu fireworks that night and did you hear? Abekawa got moved to the end of this month. The rainy season was so long and unrelenting.

You were the one who introduced me to the genius that is Conrad, my Polish literary hero. These days I'm obsessed with Nabokov. I have mixed feelings about his unfinished _The Original of Laura_ being released.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez is awesome as well. Speaking of magical realism, what do you think of Rushdie? I've just started reading him. So far so good. Much better than I expected.

Today we have okuribi, when they wing giant balls of fire into precariously balanced, up side down, broom-looking things. Pictures at eleven.

Gabriel Novo said...

Wow, my tendencies really must be running dark these days because I had a completely different take on the story. Missed fireworks altogether and the cultural significance of her dress.

I thought this was a woman who knowing the end was near prepared herself to meet it with dignity and elegance. Then the holding hands was with Death at the end, which was the moment of light for me.

Pat said...

This is WAY over my head! Being the non-abstract thinker that I am, I was fascinated by her earwire-tinkle bells - and trying to figure out how to make a set like that.

Ah well, Terrie - I may not understand it, but I think it's very pretty!

quez said...

You painted a beautiful picture in my mind. And I did the same thing Pat did.. wondered how to make a set of those tinkly bells for myself! Very cool. :-)

Anonymous said...

Gabriel - I was just having some fun with Kappa. I've known her for quite a time, so I was pulling her leg a bit. Your interpretation could be spot on. We're lucky that we're not debating the meaning 100 years after the story was written. We can ask the author!

Kappa no He said...

Actually, my sensibilities lie with the death theme. I wanted to do a suicide, her walking into the ocean as the fireworks were going off. I'll probably rewrite it that way. I was so over the deadline (adorable pun) that I went with romantic.

Pat and Quez, the bells--they have the most amazing things to decorate kimonos/yukatas and those fancy hair dos. I'll have to find a picture and post what I was talking about.

Anonymous said...

I thought the "fan of red" refered to seppuku.