Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Flash Fiction: Home

If we were to pull out a technical card, this is my first piece of flash fiction ever. Most people know my rambling prose would put Faulkner to shame. So, I seized the challenge and had a great time. Thanks to Charles for the idea and the invitation to join him in the spirit of Halloween. Be sure to head over to his blog to read the stories of others who felt inspired, too.


The sailor maneuvered the starched, dress whites, the yards of make-do-and-mend-war-dresses circling curved, lithe bodies, patriotic banners plunging like paratroopers from the warehouse rafters. A saxophone’s low C-note stretched around the crowd like a seductive yawn, the perfect overture to slow bodies in motion. The need for touch, a soft spot to cradle frayed nerves and sear in the mind a warm, liquid path of home, imposed on the July night.

Finn ducked a USO banner, his gaze steady on a petite frame: the perfect hourglass to mark the dwindling hour, butter and cream roses sheathed against pale skin, tea-stained lights reflecting blue from her sleek, black hair. The young woman faced a second-story window, alone, staring out at the sleeping dock, her reflection more fog than substance.

He approached, cleared his throat. Her shoulders shifted, relaxed, as if he’d awakened her from a lumbering sleep.

“A prelude to a kiss.”

She turned, swept vanilla and flowers and everything exiled from a four-thousand ton battleship, into his awareness. Her brow knotted.

“The song,” said Finn. “No one should be alone during this song.”

She smiled, a warm trickle of welcome. Pinned above her heart, an anchor broach glistened.

“Say something.”

She spoke, not with her patriotic red, ample lips, but in the two steps her heels cleared the floor toward him, the uneven rise of her delicate collarbone, a gloved hand filling his palm. The plane of her body neared, a forbidden line with all the temptation of tepid water in an Atlantic winter.

Ellington’s bluesy movements dictated their own, a union of beats, a suspended orchestra of body and mind. Finn waded into a curl along her neck, his body alive in the streak of moonlight cresting the night-sea lock. Her temple teased his lips, the barrier of his warm exhale the only distance left.

He swayed past their first kiss, an impromptu pledge before boarding, love letters bulging beneath his cot mattress. In her nearness, he found years, decades; in her touch, she became a destination that penetrated every ache, every truth within.

“Been looking everywhere, Finn,” a male voice cut in.

Finn started. His gaze awakened, languid from a state more intoxicating than a furlough binge. His hand collapsed, his palm empty.

She was gone.

“Where’d she go?” Finn turned, sought every platform within fleeing distance. His body still swayed from her imprint in his arms. The music stopped. A chorus of polite claps from below rang sour in his ears, his gut.


“The girl. The one who was just here.”

“Every available girl in North Carolina is downstairs and I find you up here, dancing alone.”

“She was just—”

“Right.” His buddy pounded out a few shoulder smacks, a humoring rally of camaraderie when the weeks lengthened and the pill of loneliness no longer slid down easily. “What’s say we find you that blond at the door—she was a real looker.”

The inertia of his friend’s insistence carried Finn to the step’s threshold. The band bounced a swing through the soles of his polished shoes. Finn turned.

A tiny anchor flashed, of stars or polished silver, he couldn’t be certain. He lingered, one breath to savor vanilla, blossoms, dreams—a lifetime lived in the arms of a woman.

All as elusive to a sailor as home.


Rick said...

Wow. Beautiful work.

Charles Gramlich said...

that's very nice. Beautiful prose and a lush setting for such a short piece.


Jen FitzGerald said...

Beautiful, L.A. Thanks for taking the time to write it and share.


Kim Lenox said...

Loved it! Beautiful writing! (Sigh!)


Miladysa said...

Delightful :D

Now I want more.

AvDB said...

Such a tantalizing ghost story wrapped in gorgeous prose. I have to say, I'm a little jealous. ;)

Marilyn Brant said...

Lovely and evokative as always, L.A. Enjoyed it.

Marilyn Brant said...

Oh, geez, it's after 1am and I can no longer spell. That would be "evocative" :).

L.A. Mitchell said...

Rick, Charles, Jen, Kim, Marilyn...thank you!

Miladysa, glad you stopped by:)

Avery, give me the bunny and we'll call it even ;)

Okay, everyone. The flash fiction Halloween stories over at Charles's blogspot are multiplying like bunnies. Avery's Empress of the Fescue has some fantastic imagery. Go check them out...each one of them has something amazing and unique to offer.

Sidney said...

Nice story, I added a cross link to the list of October stories on my blog too.

laughingwolf said...

wow... what an incredible tale... love it!

Miladysa said...

I plan to stop by often - adding you to my blogroll :D

Barbara Martin said...

Excellent work. It carried me right along, mesmerized.

L.A. Mitchell said...

Sidney...thanks for the link. Welcome:)

laughingwolf...sweet, thank you.

miladysa...I've added you, too!

Thank you, Barbara :)

Anonymous said...

Excellent tale. I liked the twist; never saw it coming.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful. The entire story seemed smooth and graceful.
I was entranced by the first paragraph.

Fantastic work.

L.A. Mitchell said...

Todd, always good to see you here.

Will, thank you :)
Good to meet you.

Vesper said...

There is no “rambling” here, only a beautiful, delicate poem in prose that touches the senses and lingers…
A ghost or a dream… I suppose he’ll always ask himself that question…
Very beautiful indeed.