On 2 December Flash! Friday launched its Flashversary competition to celebrate its one year anniversary. There were some great stories written, including this one by @West1Jess, and some fantastic prizes to be won. Writers were asked to submit a story of exactly 350 words excluding the title inspired by the photo prompt below. Unfortunately, I started writing on the last day and fell asleep on my computer before I could submit my piece! I’m posting it here before it disappears into my writing archives.
The Freedom Within (photo prompt 6.12.13)
I dream of dragons every night. I am the strongest of them all as we swoop towards the stars. Sometimes I catch sight of my own tail and I know I am beautiful, with shining emerald scales the colour of the mountains and claws that leave my prey defenceless. My lifeblood surges through me as my wings beat in time with my heart.
When I wake in the morning, the contrast between my mangled human form and my dragon one fills me with momentary bitterness. I wait for my nightly escapades with eagerness and impatience. It wasn’t always this way. After the accident, sleep was a poor companion; shadowy figures danced before me stealing my peace in the midnight hours. Mother would stand vigil at my bedside day and night, placing cool cloths on my brow as I lay limp under the sweaty bedclothes.
My body might still be broken but my mind is stronger. I conjure up my dragon dreams at will. I have been trapped within these decaying walls for nineteen long months but each night I am free. I wish I could show my parents that the mind can soar without its carcass. Last night my senses were heightened. I saw ornate temples, black oceans and magnificent sand-filled bays that would soften even my father’s battle-hardened exterior. But their guilt drowns them until there is no joy left. They suffocate me with the need to make amends. I have become the symbol of all they have lost, and for them daytime ghouls are worse than nightmares.
I am changing in ways my parents cannot as yet perceive. I covet sleep, day or night, yearning for the mist of drowsiness to envelop me so I can assume the form that has become more real to me than my human body. My dragon self is powerful, sacred, vengeful. If they insist on keeping me awake for their own solace, I will have no choice. I will rise up with lungs full of fire and wrath to fight for my freedom. It is all I have left.
For those of you who haven’t ever had a go at Flash! Friday, it’s a great community. For me, flash fiction helps me feel productive when writing time is scarce. I’ll be one of the judges over the coming year and looking forward to the challenge and reading some great pieces in a range of styles and genres.
Before I go, here’s a few #FridayPhrases:
Her birthday neared. It was a big one. She said she didn’t want a fuss but she had her hair done just in case. Her lover knew & he was ready #FP
Without him I am not myself. He is my comfort my solace, she thought. Her friends knew better. His strength eroded hers. She did not exist #FP
Strings of words fell from their mouths relentlessly. She did her work quietly, praying for silence. Until the day she lost her cool #FP
He carried the weight of the world yet he walked with grace & courage. A fighter till the end, immortalised in song & dance #FP