The Storyteller

This is a short story that I edited right down (much against my better judgement) for a flash fiction competition.  Needless to say, it did not win, although it was published in a now defunct web magazine called ‘The Brevity Thing’. Someday, the original version will be improved and completed.  For the time being, here is the short version.

I can write.  I can make something out of anything.  The old lady who showed me the way to the tax office.  Her limp now a wheelchair, eyes harbouring a sinister gaze, twitch taking over her features.  And is that a slight cackle as she points me to my doom?

I carry my notebook with me everywhere, scribble in it all day long.  A thought, a quote, a random person in the street…  How I swoop, whir, flutter in like a vulture.  To dissect, examine, pin down.

I do not love words, no!  I analyse them, pour over them, roll them about like slave girls, prod them with my pen as if undressing a coy lover.  Quite frequently, I hate them: with their wriggly, slippery ways, their lack of nuance, for daring to resist me and my art.

One day I’ll write her into a story too.  Ever since I first saw her, I have not ceased to attempt to describe her.  Blushed peach skin.  Flicking back that silky hair.  Nostrils flaring as she invokes, ‘ Cappuccino for you, sir!’  The spell she casts, with sound, with touch.

For weeks I’ve been trying to nail that butterfly into its case.  She brushes against my clumsy fingers and flies into the summer sky. Each time she escapes, the taste grows bitter.  Like truant words, her essence escapes me.  My soul becomes enraged.  I know she laughs at me.

Witches, old and young, someday I’ll show them all!

3 thoughts on “The Storyteller”

  1. Hi Marina,
    I really liked this super-short story. I especially liked the metaphor of nailing a butterfly into a case – isn’t that just what it’s like, trying to get a description just right? I recently completed a creative writing course with the Open University, and one of the bits of advice that stuck out for me was about trying to create clear and vivid images, which I think you do really well.
    I also cut down a longer piece recently – from 700 to 300 words! – and I’m planning to enter it in the Fish Flash Fiction prize. Cutting is hard – I’d like to read your longer piece too.

    1. Thank you for stopping by on my blog – much appreciated! And good luck with cutting a story to half its size, that is really tough. I just had to cut a story to fit a 2000 word deadline and managed to get it to 1997, that was my proudest moment! Although hyphenated words are maybe a bit of a cheat! Fish Flash Fiction is really good, you should definitely participate in that – and best of luck!

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