This is my first week Judging and Selecting/Posting a prompt, so I apologize if things look a little off! I'll be popping in from time to time over the summer as a guest-judge instead of a competitor. Come September, I will likely vanish beneath an avalanche of student essays, but since I am student-less for the summer, I have plenty of time to take a stab at judging flash fiction (which is way more fun to read than argument essays and research papers).
Aside from the fact that Si and Mars are taking a break this week, nothing else has changed about the competition. Below, you'll find a link to the rules, the prompt, and the inspiration photos.
Enjoy the challenge!
Beware the Rules that Lurk
Judge This Week: Sara
Word Count: 300 max
How: Submit your stories as a comment to this post, along with your name, word count, and title (and Twitter handle or blog if you've got 'em!). One entry per person.
Deadline: Midnight tonight, PDT!
Results announced: Next Wednesday afternoon.
Remember: Your entry must begin with the prompt! The prompt can be mutilated, but not beyond recognition. (Pictures do not need to be incorporated into your stories, they're for inspiration (and sometimes our amusement)).
She dreamed in black and white.
P.S. The photo's are mine. I didn't feel like scouring the web for memes and GIF's, so I went on a scavenger hut through my own photo library. The fuzzy feline in the bottom photo is my kitty, Goose. He'd probably bite me if I didn't tell you that. ;-)
By Ronel Janse van Vuuren
She dreamed in black and white. It was the only way to get through a day on the colourful carousel. In her dreams the world was in perfect contrast. A black-and-white chicken could actually be two if the light fell just right.
She woke up with a start when the black cat that haunted her dreams suddenly got green eyes.
The twilight room was free from felines. She looked up at the wall covered with photos she’d taken, all of them in black and white. There was a time when the photos had been her prison. Now they were her salvation.
Her cell phone lit up. It was another message from him. She wiped her eyes and sighed. The light caught the photo she’d taken of her suave husband and the socialite at the ball she was unable to attend. Her feet throbbed as anger coursed through her.
She forced her tired arms to push her away from the workstation. She turned off the light switch and the room fell into darkness as she manoeuvred her wheelchair down the corridor. One day when she was fully healed, she’ll refuse to wear high heels ever again. And she’ll stay away from cats. The combination was what got her into this mess in the first place.
Another message came through in muted light on her cell phone. Another apology. She should have chosen candour over charisma.
I like this. Her life seems to have become black and white...an hiatus while she tries to get back. Does colour refine things too harshly?Delete
Goldie Wigglesworth R.I.P.ReplyDelete
“She dreamed in black and white. Sepia. Splashes of grey. Porcelain. A marvellous palette…”
I was reaching for just the precise description to capture my memory of Goldie, the plain and simple way she explained her night world. It was so long ago but the years had not stolen that brief and glorious time. I could still almost see her visions, the clarity of them…
“I loved that about her, Larry.” Jeannie stood at my side, her fingers locked in mine, shoring me up. “Goldie did so love to expound on her dreams…it was all so vivid for her, but you’re right, she was always crystal-clear that there were no colours for her in that fantastic sleep world of hers.”
The wind was picking up.
It had been a long drive.
I had hoped we would get to Tecumseh City while it was still light.
The funeral had been weeks earlier.
The decades had worn away our collective reach. Our orbits, once so aligned, had viciously, carelessly eroded. Mercer had tracked us down, Jeannie and me. The years we had spent in the Kootenays, half way up a mountain, carving out a communal life, goats, so many goats, children, more goats than kids, all a lifetime away.
“She was so fragile away from her dreams,” I reflected. “The colours of the real world always seemed to blaze too bright for her. And the anemia…”
Goldie had been the first to leave our mountain-side Shangri-La.
The climb was probably what did her in.
A failure to breathe.
Frail, she needed a valley, something else we could not provide.
Strange that she was now buried in a hillside grave.
“I’m glad we made the effort,” Jeanne said.
“Yeah. Me too.”
No more dreams, Goldie, I thought. No dreams in the cold earth.
300 alabaster thoughts
Nostalgic...apt for black and white. I liked the irony: the fact that her dreams were more than real life, and how she's buried on a hillside after trying to descend.Delete
Word Count: 290
Title: Like Last Night
She dreamed in black and white. Silent and with scars, vertical lines that cut the image, weaving their way from one side to the next before disappearing, reappearing and vanishing. She dreamed in black and white like newsreels from World War Two. Not the funny, hand cranked, two reel comedies from the very early days of cinema, where tuxedoed gallants jerked, hopped and skipped their way across the screen. Her dreams were dark and unpleasant, full of viscous, black blood and contorted, pale faces.
Like last night, when she was woken at 2AM in a tangle of sheets, her head spinning and her pulse racing. She'd been in a car, a passenger on a bench seat with the driver beside her. His hands were clenched around an oversized steering wheel. The white of his knuckles showing the tension that held him in place. The cuffs of his suit were riding up his forearms and he'd neglected to undo the buttons so it bunched around his middle.
They were speeding through a country road at night and she was screaming for him to slow down. He wasn't listening, instead pushing harder on the accelerator. They hit a corner too fast and he couldn't correct. They slid sideways through the barrier, tumbling over and over. She collided with the roof, with glass, with him. She woke with the whiteness of his teeth, the stretch of his smile, burning a path down her spine.
She dreamed in black and white. Dark dreams full of cold anger and death, usually her death. And in the morning, with a bright yellow sun blazing in through her window, she filled her world with color, cartoons and cheerios. She sang songs, painted rainbows and tired to forget.
Excellent. Segregating pain and death from colour and life.Delete
She dreamed in black and white. When she slept, she saw a world sketched in charcoal. She visited beautiful landscapes and ancient lands, drained of colour and when she woke, her heart was dark. The blackness of the night sucked the luminosity from her soul.
So she filled her room with colour. Her bedspread was a patchwork of vibrancy, a neon pink feather boa had been snaked through the slats of her headboard, and fresh flowers were placed in the bright vase on her dressing table.
When she woke and she saw the colour her heart didn’t feel so black, but still she still needed to throw open the curtains (cardinal red) and look to the sky. Only on the days that she saw cerulean did the darkness shrink to its smallest. When it was grey, so was she.
“Let me dream in colour,” she’d chant each night before bed, and one night, when her heart was at its blackest, her wish came true.
She was walking through a forest. Fawn and russet leaves crunched beneath her feet. She reached out to touch the burnt umber tree trunks. Above her, the sun shone onto the leaves, turning them into emerald, decorated with ruby fruits.
Beyond the forest, she discovered a crystalline lake, flashes of gold scarring the surface when koi carp broke through. She moved to the edge of the water and dipped in a toe.
She woke in a world without colour. Her room was black and white. She closed her eyes and tried to return to her dream world, but sleep would not have her. She threw open the curtains and saw a gunmetal sky.
In the bathroom mirror, she stared, desolate, at an ashen face. She dug her nails into her flesh and tore, praying for crimson.
Great description of her two dream worlds.Delete
Quite cruel. The waking world was a balm to her colourless dreams, and with her wish, she's plunged into a world she can no longer escape.Delete
She dreamed in black and white, always wondering what it meant. This time, the dream was so vivid and immersive, that she had a difficult time waking up.
She felt droplets of water from the fog settling on her face, smelled the dank alley and took in the rough brick wall as she ran her fingers across it while she walked.
She heard distant voices, cats rummaging through trash, and noticed she was entering the less lit area of the city. She was not afraid taking the shortcut, it was a routine beginning to her nights.
She exited the alley and made her way further down the unlit street. Then she noticed a tall figure standing in a doorway, hidden by the shadows.
“Time to get to work,” she said to herself. Then adjusted her corset, fixed a smile on her face and fell into a swagger.
“Hey there, sweetheart,” she approached the stranger. “You looking for me?” She asked with a seductive tone.
He stayed, propped against the door of a shop, and said nothing.
“Come on now, don’t be shy,” she encouraged, moving closer.
Something seemed off about him. She shivered.
She wanted the dream to end but had no control.
He shifted his feet and stood up straight.
“There we go, I knew you wanted a good time,” her last word trailing off as she noticed moonlight glinting on something shiny in his hand.
Before she could react, in one smooth motion he held her tightly against his chest with the knife at her neck.
“They call me Jack,” He said, as he slit her from ear to ear.
She finally awoke by her own screams and remembered the only color she saw in this dream was the red of her own blood as it pooled.
Could the dream be prophetic?Delete
Prophetic or past life...Delete