I'm not going to partake in flash fiction, said I. I'm focusing on my work in progress. I'm plotting. I'm writing. I'm busy.
Of course, I failed to take into account the fatal lure of an Anna Meade flash fiction contest. The Dark Fairy Queen of the social media scene, Ms Meade's commands must be obeyed. And thus... I flash.
This is my submission for the Behind the Curtain contest, 375 words and inspired by this image:
Behind the Curtain
Stretching her arms high the woman let the robes drop, spreading bright as spilled blood across the well trodden boards.
Her breath stopped, suffocated. For a single moment she was frozen in the past, in the violet streaked twilight which shrouded their first kiss; the blackberries he crushed against her tongue, their sweetness trickling from her parted lips; the rich silk scarves he trailed against her hot skin and tangled around her pale wrists. Under her red rimmed stare the purple pool pulsed, writhed, summoned.
She lifted her head, teeth bared in a smile as a chariot rolled on stage. Smiled at the crowned man standing within, at the dark eyed girl half concealed behind him.
He met her gaze with startled recognition.
Yes, it’s me.
But he knew that. Their linked names shouted from tattered poster boards all along the streets of
marched side by side in well thumbed programmes. It was the hundredth time she
had stood just so with her arms outstretched and her head held high, the
hundredth time she had mouthed the familiar lines, smiled the lie.
His nostrils flared and beneath his golden tan, the blood drained from his cheeks. Oh yes, he saw. It changed nothing. Agamemnon would step onto the purple tonight.
The show must go on, after all.
At the back of the stage the skene swung open, yawning like the mouth of hell. She took his hand and led him, bull-like, into the gloom.
He jerked as the doors shut, half turning as if to run. His fingers trembled as if they were not standing in a stage set, hidden from the gaze of a bored audience. As if he was standing in a tomb. As if he knew.
The show must go on.
“Remember our wedding day?” she murmured.
She stopped his words with a kiss, knew the subtle rejection of his closed lips. In the wings a chorus of voices swelled loud with lamentation.
“Forsaking all others,” she said, softly. “’Till death us do part.”
Reaching behind her into the shadows, her fingers closed on a long handled shaft.
The show must go on.
In the glare of the footlights, purple darkened to black.