Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the ninth piece in this weekly series. Tonight’s story is a 314-worder entitled ‘Loss’ by yours truly, Morgen Bailey.
Norman stood back and shook his head.
The girl smiled at him, eyebrows raised from behind the easel.
“Lovely my dear,” he lied, “just lovely”.
The girl giggled then resumed her serious stance.
Norman resumed his position, and dipped the sable brush into the cool water, sending swirls of black paint like tadpoles in a pool, before patting it into the skin-pink oil. He dabbed at the girl’s neck then touched the canvas lovingly with a finger as if touching her skin.
He shuddered and closed his eyes.
“You alright, Mister?” the girl asked in her broad East London accent.
Norman opened his eyes and fixed a smile which she replicated and straightened her neck, wrapping the red velvet cloak tighter around her naked frame.
She was a similar age to Evie but slightly taller, thinner and he couldn’t get the proportions right. He should have waited, found the right girl, found Evie. But he knew that would never happen, there was no coming back from death. So he had to make do.
He watched her look around the room.
“You like blondes then,” she said, monotone, neither statement nor question. Norman watched her chest rise and fall as she let out a sigh.
As he made the finishing crimson touches, she started to fidget, rotating each shoulder discreetly in turn.
“Mister, are we…?” she started then stopped as Norman nodded.
He watched impassively as she let the cloak drop to the ground, stepped out of it then dressed into her servant’s uniform. His eyes followed her as she walked towards him and the painting.
“Oh,” she said, staring at it, mouth open as if waiting for medicine. She then shrugged her shoulders, took the money he offered and left the room.
Norman added his signature, placed the brush reverently on the palette and followed her, vowing to never paint again.
I normally ask my contributors what prompted this piece but asking myself would be like interviewing myself… crazy, right. Er, yes, probably – I did that too (you can read it here).
Anyway, I attend a few writing groups and a monthly one is the Northampton Literature Group’s Writing Circle and Tuesday 4th November’s single-word prompt was ‘paint’ and given just four minutes (I know, Alan’s mean!) to write it, I came up with a shorter version of this story. For that night’s homework were then asked to write a story up to 500 words on ‘paint’ so I fleshed this out a little taking it up to 314 words, so I still have 186 to play with should I wish and I might one day.
Morgen Bailey is a writing-related blogger who hosts the weekly Bailey’s Writing Tips audio podcast, two in-person writing groups (based in Northamptonshire, England), is the author of numerous short stories, novels, articles, has dabbled with poetry but admits that she doesn’t “get it”, and is a regular Radio Litopia contributor.
She also belongs to two other local writing groups (one of which runs the annual HE Bates Short Story Competition) and when she’s not researching for her writing group, writes a bit more, is a British Red Cross volunteer and walks her dog (often while reading, writing or editing) and reads (though not as often as she’d like), oh and sometimes she writes. Everything she’s involved is detailed on her blog https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com. You can view / download her eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords.
Thank you… er, me. :) If you’d like to submit your 1,000-word max. stories for consideration for Flash Fiction Friday take a look here.
The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with crime novelist Sheila Quigley – the one hundred and ninety-second of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.