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Love Conquers All: A Flash Fiction Collection


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#1 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa
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Posted Jun 07 2012 - 05:12 PM

Love and Victory

Theme: Amor Omnia VincitWord Count: 600

Your eyes shine like diamonds in the sky of night,

Your face is as radiant as dawn's first light.

Endowed with spiritual and mental grace,

It is for you my heart quickens pace.

Though for now we're distant, though this is true,

I will never cease on my journey to find you.

Steadfast and sure I will strive without rest

To regain your honor is my rigid quest.

I will never give up hope nor heart

Until bridged is the gap that keeps us apart

Dear Victoria,I realize things are strained between us. My teen years have bereft me of the puerile innocence of my youth. And they have bereft me of the friend who now enters her teen years in uncertainty and trepidation. I realize we've grown apart. I realize we're two different people. I realize, I realize. . . .But I also realize this: You and I were friends once; and for a moment we were something more, until fear quelled that fire. But it still burns within us, quelled but not extinguished by your fear and my sensitivity. It is a fire that keeps us connected. We shared in time past an unseverable affinity, and we shared that once an affinity more potent still.Life strains at our bond; my hearstrings feel its pull. But they do not yield. I believe that you, too, feel this . . . and that you, too, always the stronger, do not yield.It may take time for you to realize all this. I know you have not yet begun to understand it. It took me years to understand it myself. But within my chest is a flame that will burn forever . . . you will see.I miss you . . . I miss you exorbitantly!But for you--for my love!--I must wait. I must prove myself, for there is no more formidable a test than that of time. . . . And I will. I will prove myself. I will do it because I would do anything for you, Victoria; because I love you. I know this is not the end. This is not yet the start! I know great things lie ahead in our intertwined futures. There is so much that lies ahead--and I will wait. For you I would wait a thousand years, Victoria; because I love you. I know you will remember in time. I know you will understand in time. I know my feelings will not change, my flame will not flicker. I will do in the interim all for you that I must, Victoria; because I love you. I will wait to be reunited with you, however long it takes, Victoria; because I love you.Because I love you . . . and nothing will ever change that. . . . It is a flame that will burn . . . forever. . . .

—Yours sincerely, Amos

Victoria put down the letter written so long ago. Still the words brought a smile to her wizen lips and a tearful sheen to the still-shining eyes."I marvel that you knew, even then . . . that you understood, even then . . . that you would wait--that you would write this and keep it for all those years. . . .""I always knew I loved you.""Even when I didn't.""But you always loved me.""I marvel . . . that you were right all along."Our shriveled lips met. Even now crept into my heart that fire of that day long past. . . .

Ping-Pong

Theme: The GameWord Count: 600Love is a game of Ping-Pong.The key to the game is to keep your eye on the ball . . . wait for the right moment . . . and hit it softly.But if you hit it too soon . . ."I--I care a lot about you--as a friend. Or--or as more. I just--I think you're a wonderful girl."Or too hard . . .There was silence. I went on, "I'm not trying to embarass you. Just--just know that."The ball goes flying.Another pause. Then, "Well--I--thank you, but--but I'm so--and you're----" She swallowed. Her voice was level, as always; but her words were not. "I'm so young. And you're so much older. This--we can't be. We're not."I searched for words but found none. Silence reigned the remaining distance to her house. I stopped at the curb. She hurried up the front walk without a pause, without casting a final smile over her shoulder, without waving. She merely mounted the front steps, opened the door, and shut it behind her.Or hit it too late . . ."I still care about you. After all these years, I've never stopped. I've never blamed you for what you did."She didn't look at me. Her eyes remained riveted upon the stars. I knew that silence.At last she murmured, "You never said anything.""Because I thought you didn't want me to.""I didn't. Then I realized I did. But you never--and now . . . you've waited too long."And you might miss it."I have a boyfriend." And then she walked away.You just have to keep your eye on the ball . . .I watched her glide across the floor in his arms, dancing to a slow melody.Waiting . . .I watched them kissing at her door for a fleeting moment before I turned the corner and left her behind me.Waiting . . .I watched her throw his arm off her shoulders and glower down into her coffee. He murmured something into her ear; then she hissed something back, yanked the ring off her finger, and slapped it down on the table before him. She rose, toppling her chair, and marched out the door.Waiting for the right moment . . .I finished my plate patiently, allowing a minute to pass. And then I ran after her.I caught up quickly. "Good evening.""G-good evening! What are--how are you here?""I happened to see you at the restaurant.""You--saw that?"And you hit it softly . . ."I saw you needed a friend."She glared defiantly for a moment; then sighed and halted. "I do," she whispered, burying her face in her hands. "I do."Then I took her head in my hands. She lowered hers and gazed into my eyes. Her lids fell like curtains as I wiped away her tears. I closed my eyes. And I kissed her.Of course, a well-aimed spike is difficult to return . . ."I love you. I always have.""So have I. Until now--I was--never sure. But now--now I see. . . ."Then she threw her arms around my neck and drew my lips passionately to hers.Unless your opponent is just that good. . . .The key is to keep your eye on the ball, wait for the right moment, and hit it softly. But all is fair, in love, in war . . . and in Ping-Pong.

Preparation

Theme: Preparation (original concept)Word Count: 650I took her arm as she prepared to cross the street."Hold up, ma'am. Wait for the light to turn.""Thank you, boy, but I've been crossing streets since before there were lights to turn!""I'm sure you have. Mere beginner's luck that I noticed that truck there.""Oh ... yes, so I see. Well--I'm just an old hag. What do I know?"I tutted. "You're no hag. You're only an older version of myself.""I had the impression you were a man.""I didn't mean quite that literally. But here, the light's turned."Arm in arm we perambulated the crosswalk. On the other side, she smiled."Thank you, young man.""Certainly, ma'am."The remainder of my walk was less eventful. I arrived punctually at her door amidst the twilight and knocked. The smile it opened to reveal was like a ray of sunshine piercing the overcast sky, when you hadn't even noticed it was gray. Her yin pendant hung from her neck.My hand went to my yang. "Good evening! ""I am." She took my arm. "I only wish you would tell me where we're going.""Ah! But that's to be a surprise."Her little moue was as charming as her smile. Behind us, her father appeared at the door and called, "Have her back by the usual time!" And he winked at me behind her back.I winked over her shoulder. "Have I ever failed?"I took her by the arm and led her along the block and around the corner. There we found a horse-drawn sleigh waiting for us.Hardly able to contain my excitement, I said, "Your chariot, milady."Her jaw dropped. "How did you ever----?""Just an early bit of Christmas magic. Shall we?""We shall, my prince."

~ * ~

"I actually brought you here to tell you something."We sat on the bench beneath the park tree, bundled and snuggled against the cold. Though the tree's leaves were bare, it was lush with memories. Many an hour had we spent among its branches or picnicking beneath it, counting its leaves or the stars, through heat of summer or cold of winter. Here we had first met; here we had plighted courtship; here, beneath its sheltering canopy, we had shared our first kiss."Oh, secrets. I'm good with secrets.""No secret. I think our hearts have both known it for a long time." I leaned closer. "I love you. With all my heart."She smiled. "I was hoping for something juicier." And she pressed her lips to mine."In that case, I have one last surprise for you.""Oh? I hope it's a little more exciting."I withdrew from a pocket of my coat a small gift-wrapped parcel. "It's your Christmas present.""Oh! But isn't it a little early?""Don't make me wait."She raised an eyebrow. "Don't make you wait? Whose present is this?""It's yours--but it's ours. Open it. I--I hope you like it."She untied the ribbon and pulled off the paper. As she slowly opened the velvety case, I slipped off the bench and onto my knee.Before I could even utter the time-honored words, she threw her arms around my neck and affixed her lips to my own. It was a kiss that melted the snow and brought out the sun to blind the stars. It was a kiss that regrew the grass and the leaves. It was a kiss that cultivated a whole forest round us, and cycled through all the seasons and many more in an instant. It was a kiss to augur all the many years of passion ahead in our lives together.

~ * ~

At home that night I lilted a serenade in my bed. The last thing I saw before closing my eyes was the calendar: December 20th, 2012. I smiled. Come what may ... I was prepared.

Forget-Me-Not Hill

Theme: N/AWord Count: 512The hill was bathed in sunlight, singing with the dulcet voices of the birds in the trees. She hummed along as she walked along the path that took her to the hilltop, a vantage point that provided a panorama of the surrounding hummocks and valleys.She gazed out across this vision of natural beauty, admiring the trees that dotted the many slopes and the rivers that wound though them. But as she looked, she felt a pang in her heart. Her thoughts were riveted upon the empty place beside her where he had sat so often, sharing with her the view and the breathless wonder it had always given them both. She remembered the time he had told her that, though it was a vision spread before him, the vision beside him possessed not only an outer but also an inner beauty far more splendid.And she wondered where he was now. She wondered if he was thinking of her. She wondered if he missed her as much as she missed him. She wondered if he had forgiven her. She wondered if he knew she had forgiven him. And she wondered, for the umpteenth time, why she had so many times rebuffed his attempts to make amends. She wondered about many things.She traced a finger idly along the log where they used to perch together. She plucked one of the flowers that grew behind it. She twirled it in her fingers and remembered how he used to pick them and put them in her hair. She remembered how he used to find two pebbles, as near to identical as he could, and give one to her so they would be connected by them until they next met. She took one such pebble now. And she wondered.She twirled the forget-me-not. "Will we ever sit here, side by side, again?" she asked the blue petals. "Does he hope we will as much as I do?"One by one, she pulled the petals gently from the pith. "He loves me," she murmured, "he loves me not. He loves me . . . he loves me not."She plucked the last petal, smiling down upon it as she placed it in her palm. "He loves me." She sighed. "But is it true? Does he really care?"She lifted the petal to her lips and blew. She watched it flutter like the wings of a bluebird. Caught by a breeze it flew away over the valley. She watched it until she could no longer see it. She watched until the sun began to tinge the sky orange. She watched until, though she could not have known it, the petal came at last to rest in a calm, secluded pond, landing beside a kindred petal that had traveled an even farther distance, blown from the hand of he who cared very much, indeed. One who was, as they each turned to return home, holding in his hand a pebble as a symbol of the connection that bonded them until they would next meet. . . . Thanks for reading! I'd love to hear your thoughts on any or all stories, whether you liked them or not. Instructive compliments, constructive criticism; it's all welcome here!

From the desk of Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:


Edited by Nuile: The Daft Wordbender, Jun 07 2012 - 05:17 PM.

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#2 Offline Zaxvo

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Posted Nov 12 2012 - 06:55 PM

Hey, it's Zaxvo from the SSCC! Just a general comment, after watching Cloud Atlas recently this set of flash fiction really reminded me of the movie. I don't know if you've heard of it, but it takes the concept of separate stories with mirroring themes and personalities to a whole new level. Regardless, these stories really felt like they featured the same characters, at different points in their life, and I liked that. I'm going to start with my review of Ping-Pong. In this story, I loved the all pervasive theme of the game, and that your carried the references to it from beginning to end worked really well in this case, it carried the story excellently. I suppose, on the face of it, the protagonist is just a little bit of a creepy stalker; he's always there, always watching, and the instant he sees she has argument with her boyfriend he pounces. It's a little strange but can be perceived differently, depending on your perspective. Your grammar in this one was impeccable, at least to my eyes. Well done. Next, Preparation. This might just be my favorite of the bunch; the protagonist is completely well prepared and I liked the winks back and forth between the father and the main character. I have to wonder, though, what the encounter with the old lady has to do with anything. It's off-putting and distracting to the reader, especially because you provide no names, so when he arrives at his soon-to-be fiance's door, initially readers are uncertain about who he's meeting. You almost make it sound like he goes to the old woman's house. And the date, at the end, was odd as well. Unless you're trying to tie it in to the Dec 21st 2012 end of the world mayan meme, which I doubt, it doesn't really have much of a connection or a relevance to the story. [Although, if you ARE, then all of a sudden the story gains a terrible tragic twist.]Again, impeccable grammar here, no complaints. Lastly, Forget-Me-Not Hill. To be honest, I was a bit put off by the lack of any action in the story. I'm not talking about explosions or fist fights, but rather, I mean any plot at all. The story is basically "Lovesick girl goes to a hill and mopes." She's wondering why her beloved doesn't seem to be returning her advances, but really, he loves her back...which is a piece of information given to the readers, but not to her. But now the readers are wondering WHY he isn't responding to her. You hint that the two are separated from each other, but somehow, they're both playing with petals, that they toss into the wind, that both end up in the same spot. Yeah, I get that you're trying to use some symbolism, but to be honest symbolism only works if it's a relatable symbol. For instance, if, before he leaves, he's up on the hill, and he's plucking petals as well, and then later on, so is she, well, then, the parallels there are clear. Stories are all about the suspension of disbelief: we've gather on BZP out of our love of bionicle, a tale which requires some serious suspension of disbelief but then sticks to its own rules. It's all about a hypothetical situation, and then asking what ifs to tell the tale. In this case, you've established a world not unlike our own, where two lovers are separated by time and space somehow manage to have their petals reunite in a place where no one is going to realize. I'm re-reading this and it's coming off as scathing, and for that I apologize. I love the concept and the ideas you've started with, I just wish you would flesh them out a bit more, take them just a bit farther. Overall, a great collection of flash fiction. Really well done, for the most part, and again, I love the connections, the nods, the hints and winks and nudges from story to story.
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