Shattered

This story got an honorable mention over at Cracked Flash! Cracked Flash is a new flash fiction contest (this was their third week) and this was my first time entering. The judge’s comments are posted below the story.

For this contest we were given an opening line for our prompt. We were allowed to modify it however we wanted as long as it was still recognizable.

Our Prompt: The crunch of broken glass underfoot was her only warning that she wasn’t alone.

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Shattered

The crunch of broken glass had been her only warning that she hadn’t been alone. As she looked down at her porcelain heart, now laying shattered on the ground, she noticed it was not as empty as she once thought. Among the shards broken memories lay, forgotten moments tucked away in the deepest hollows. A long glance. Kind words. Laughter in the break room. Common interests shared. Inside jokes. Nights out amongst other colleagues. Long conversations between cubical barriers. She was surprised to see all these scenes play before her eyes, disappearing one by one.

She wept.

Why had she never noticed these things before? Hindsight is 20/20 they say. The crystal clear images continued to show her what she had taken for granted. Regret began to fill the void in her love starved chest, hardening, a lump of coal. Skin grew over the wound, tears sealing her flesh, leaving a scar, a reminder of what she could have had. She shut the spell book and threw it at the useless pile on the ground, cursing herself. What had she done? Who had she become?

As the last memory showed his face she fell to the floor, begging him to stay. The image denied her and faded away, leaving her empty.

It was over.

Reluctantly she swept the broken pieces of who she once was under the carpet, crushing them underfoot.

She would never be the same again.

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Judges Thoughts

Si: “I really enjoyed the evocative and descriptive writing style in this story–there’s a distinct feel of regret and past mistakes that is shown very effectively in that first paragraph, before it’s stated that this is what the character feels. I especially loved the line “Skin grew over the wound, tears sealing her flesh, leaving a scar, a reminder of what she could have had.” The hints of a disastrous spell or decision–something tragic that had passed, that the main character must move on from–very well done. The memories gives me just enough hints to want to know what the story was–what had happened. Loved the way the porcelain heart is used as a focus and a metaphor for the character.”

RinThe feeling of grief and regret in this is powerful and well written. I liked the imagery of a heart as a lump of coal, but my favorite line was ‘Among the shards broken memories lay, forgotten moments tucked away in the deepest hollows.’ It has a beautiful sound to it. I also liked the line of sweeping pieces of herself under a carpet and crushing them. It felt familiar, we’ve all had moments that we wish we’d have lived in more or paid attention to in hindsight. The spell book was a curiosity, I wondered if it were like some magical looking glass or if she had used it for some horrible thing that caused her situation. I would have liked to know more about her story, it sounds like an interesting one.”

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