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Thread: Flash Fiction.

  1. #1
    A. Igoni Barrett

    Flash Fiction.


    Usim awoke with a start, feeling heavy in head and limb, her eyes wide-open but unseeing, her ears filled with roar of a heart hopelessly choked with fear: it was her father’s hands nudging her awake.

    ‘Time, Usim - time to go.’

    She rose, and knuckled her eyes, and stretched, and yawned – and then moving blindly towards the splashes of her father’s preparations for morning prayer, she stumbled over the fleshy bulk that was her mother’s arm. She wasn’t feeling well today but of course she couldn’t stay home.

    The tiny room, in which the young family of three cooked, worshipped and slept, was shrouded in a crypt-like darkness, and it was to this unfamiliar gloom that Usim had arisen for the past three days since her mother, heavily pregnant and peevish, had complained that the fumes of the kerosene lamp sent bad spirits into her dreams and its light awakened her before she could return their heartbreaking curses.

    Usim stumbled again, this time with the clatter of ironware beating their displeasure upon the earthen floor, and though she felt her father’s rebuking eye on her it was her mother’s sleepy voice that rose from the darkness, dispelling whatever lingering doubts the hollow clangour of the pots may have left as to the state of their insides. Her stomach rumbled in protest.

    Through gaps in the caulking of the room’s log walls a livid sky peeked in at Usim as she sank to her haunches beside her father. She began her ablution, her attention taken up by the sounds of that unfamiliar time of day. The melancholic whistle of a faintly chugging train trailed off in the far distance. The whisk of working brooms, mesmeric in their regularity; the slap and whirr of pigeon wings; the rhythmic thumps of hurried pestles; the careless slam of a wind-caught door; the lonely lilt of a mother’s voice raised in melodic devotion: one and all they signalled an ineluctable transition.

    As Usim rose from prayer her mother muttered in her sleep and then, with imperial munificence, broke wind – Usim clapped a hand over her mouth in empathetic remorse. Her mother had of late been doing a lot of that, and though her father had since explained that it was her unborn brother’s affinity for soccer that lay behind this habit, when it came it still shocked her. The smell, when it finally found her cringing in the corner, was so obnoxious with its attentions that she couldn’t stop herself from retching; even her father seemed a trifle displeased as he rose and threw open the room’s only window. Then his silhouette turned towards her. Her heart dropped like a plummet.

    ‘Usim?’ her father called.

    ‘Yes, father? she answered, a catch in her voice.

    ‘I must stay with your mother.’

    ‘Yes, father.’

    ‘You remember the route?’

    ‘Yes, father.’

    ‘Stick to it.’

    ‘Yes, father.’

    ‘Do as the master bids.’

    ‘Yes, father.’

    ‘Are you hungry?’

    Usim glanced to where her mother was curled up in sleep. ‘No, father,’ she said.

    ‘Go now,’ her father ordered.

    ‘Yes, father,’ Usim whispered, and headed for the door, fighting back tears. She pushed it open. A playful wind, cold from a night spent under the stars, leapt into the room and caressed her face, teasing out a snuffle.

    ‘Usim?’ her father called across, his voice strange.

    ‘Yes, father?’

    ‘I am proud of you.’

    ‘I love you too, father,’ Usim said, and grabbing her satchel from the floor she skipped out into the tangerine burst of a ripening dawn. It was her first day of school.


  2. #2
    Ian B

    Re: Flash Fiction.

    I didn't read it, but the title really bothered me. The Morning Before the Morning After...wouldn't that just be "The Morning Of"?

  3. #3
    Frank Monk

    Re: Flash Fiction.

    I didn't read it either, but the title reminded me of the novel the guy was writing in Sideways--"The Day After Yesterday."

  4. #4
    F L Gonzalez

    Re: Flash Fiction.

    Maybe i'm oversexhyped but,'morning after'threw me off!


  5. #5
    B.S D.

    Re: Flash Fiction.

    The only comment I have is that there are some EXTREMELY long sentences in there.

  6. #6
    L Bea

    Re: Flash Fiction.

    You have a very strong writing style, but I didn't "get" this. What was the point of the story? Sorry, It's too hidden for me.

  7. #7
    Weed Eater

    Re: Flash Fiction.

    You have a very poetic pen. Everything but the final sentence works for me.

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