Saturday, October 6, 2012

Behind the Curtain ~ Scarlet's Rose Petal Revenge


Photo Credit: gypsypurplefashion.tumblr.com

I said I did not want the roses. But he sent them anyway--a dozen long stemmed roses after every show. I tried giving them away, dumping them in the trash. I threw them at him once, when my temper flared as red as the scattered petals.

But he will not stop.

He lingers until the rest of the cast is gone, until the theatre is empty, but for me. I stay late to practice my lines on stage, when the chairs are empty, when my words echo through the auditorium. I close my eyes and imagine it's only me.

But he watches from the wings. I hate that he is there.

He always includes a card with the roses, two words scrawled on one side: With love. The words make me sick. Anything from him would make me sick. He laughs when I tell him. He thinks I'm joking.

I never joke.

But I'm taking the roses home now. I've found a better use for them. I'm lobbing off the tops and hanging them upside down, leaving only the thorny stems. I'm letting them fade to brittle, dried-out sticks. When a hot wind blows through the windows at night, they rattle like bones.

He says I owe him. He made me a star. Before he found me, I was nothing. Without him, I'd be nothing again. I'd rather be nothing, than surrounded by roses and him.

I brought them with me tonight, tucked into a brown bag under my dressing table. I wait for everyone else to leave, and step out onto the stage to practice my lines. I know he's there. I can feel his eyes on me, hear the slow slosh of liquid as he downs the last of the red wine.

I take my time, until his chair creaks and the bottle falls with a clatter. Through a gap in the curtain, I see he's passed out. Quietly, I lay the stems across the dusty stage floor, under the hem of the red velvet curtain. I strike a match. The black thorns sizzle and pop.

My heels click through the deserted halls of the darkened theatre, smoke trailing in my wake. Behind me, I hear a man's primal scream. I slip out the door and lock it. The rest have already been barred. I lay a dozen roses across the final latch.

With love.

***

Dear friends, this is my third attempt at flash fiction. The lovely Anna Meade (@ruanna3) of the enchanting Yearning for Wonderland blog announced the Behind the Curtain Flash Fiction Contest a few days ago and I could not resist entering. Scarlet's Rose Petal Revenge (398 words) is darker than my usual writing, but with Halloween around the corner it seemed fitting to add a touch of darkness. I'd love to hear your thoughts.



34 comments:

  1. This is beautiful, very dark and perfectly written.

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  2. Captures the emotion and thoughts of the character well.

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  3. This is why I love your writing Sophie, I feel like I know the character, I see right into her mind and feel those emotions, that fury, clipped and restrained, but there ready to wreak retribution. Lovely!

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  4. Gorgeously dark -- a deep merlot of emotional description. I enjoyed every drop!

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  5. Creepy and awesome. As usual, with your writing, I can visualize everything.

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  6. Fabulous as always. Love this darker side to your writing.

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  7. The darker side is enhanced by your words. Lovely and creepy and vengeful. I loved every line. Beautifully written.

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  8. Wonderful! I can smell the roses, wine & smoke and feel her rage, even though she doesn't even shudder. As always, a gorgeous piece of writing!

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  9. Gave me shivers, Miss Moss! A deliciously dark piece of prose! <3

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  10. Dark beauty, swift moving, insightful and alarming. Well done!!

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  11. Oh Sophie, you've done a marvelous job with this! I agree with Diane, yours is a gorgeous piece of writing. The slow build to the final sentences, the anger underpinning it all. Beautiful.

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  12. Dark and powerful. Love your style. There is cold, Dexter-ish logic to her final solution, yet powerful emotions led her there. Your writing pulls us in quickly. We feel his suffocating presence; her hopelessness, frustration, and anger. And yet the ending is still surprising.

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  13. Wow, Sophie! Absolutely great story!! I was caught on every word =)

    x

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  14. I truly feel the final power of her vengeance and how it frees her from his binding presence! You have a way with words and with roses, Sophie! I love your flash fiction.

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  15. My eyebrows raised right up at "I never joke" and didn't come back down for the rest of the story. Great build and characterization, even in such a little space. Thank you for entering, Sophie!

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  16. I love the repetition of the phrase, and the beautiful rattling like bones. A fun and feisty read.

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  17. Nothing like a woman scorned..Fantastic pain/anger emitted from Scarlett.
    Really good..Written with passion.

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  18. Wonderful, Sophie. I love the image of the dried thorny rose stems, and I felt such a satisfied Hurrah at the end!

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  19. At first I thought, ungrateful Wench..then I thought..oh Revenge~ very captivating read..want more!!

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  20. Beautiful imagery! I'd like to know more.

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  21. Oh that was fabulous! How deliciously wicked! It was a great story and you told it so well, great job! I loved this!

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  22. What poetic justice as she leaves the roses at the end - great story!

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  23. Wow! I loved the rattle like bones line - that's when I knew something dark was coming. This is fantastic (I would expect nothing less!)

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  24. Thank you all so much for your lovely comments. It means so much to me that you would take the time to read my piece and leave such kind words. :)

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  25. Wow Sophie! Just wow! I loved this piece. :)

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  26. Dark and creepy and powerful. A terrific story! At first, he comes across as this creepy stalker and her as the victim, but she definitely changes places with him by the end!

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  27. Beautifully written, I could see the stage and the empty theatre, and him there. I could feel her frustration. What a lovely twist to use them as kindling. And then the flowers laid at the end! Cool, dark, satisfying!

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  28. Wow... harsh stuff. The language is beautiful and you create the airs of frustration and fury quite well. Excellent.

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  29. Ah, I do love poetic revenge! Fantastic :D

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  30. I love it. The shivery darkness, all of it.

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  31. Chilling and beautifully dark... I love this! There is a poetic justice here that really speaks to my 'dark' side. I write mostly noir fiction and 100 word flash horror, so you can understand my appreciation for this piece.

    Brilliantly written, Sophie... Brava!

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  32. This is fantastic. Gave me chills! Bravo Sophie :)

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  33. Hmm...highest praise I can think to give is....where is the rest of the story? I want to read more!

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