Firefly Shadows

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Karyan flipped past an advertisement for makeup and found little pencil marks indenting the page. Sitting on her oversized queen bed one night, they had conspired against anyone who wore these atrocious things (half the school) and vowed to cut off their mock-goth hairstyles and burn them in a bonfire. Needless to say, their mothers were exactly happy about this plan, but they figured they’d do it later. Karyan was entranced by the neat tiny lettering that Jasmyn had pronounced her threats in. A combination of loopy cursive and bock print meandered over the page as their ideas grew bolder and bolder. Karyan watched the looping sprawl curve upward and disappear off the page.
“Turn…” commanded their combined script. Karyan turns the page and a void opens up in her chest.
A picture of two filthy children with their hair up in faux-hawks graces one model’s delicate features. In thick red nail polish, the word “NO!” is stationed at the bottom of the page, proclaiming their hoax as an act of treason. Karyan reorganizes her light brown skin tanning under the fluorescent bathroom lights and to her right stands Jasmyn, arms folded, a delicious scowl on her face. They look so comfortable, so lively, these two anti-establishment youths ready to take down goth in their flannel shirts and ripped jeans. Karyan feels tears press at the front of her skull. She wonders, as she sets the magazine down on the floor, whether Jasmyn knew.
If she knew why and how. If, maybe, she knew when. Because Karyan doesn’t belief people just shoot themselves out of sporadic need. There has to have been a plan, a motivation. Something that would make this all connect. There’s a banging sound just behind her and Karyan’s skin prickles as she hears it again. She turns slowly and sees that the screen kitchen door has been unlatched.
She gets up to close it, wiping her eyes on a sleeve to gain control. She approaches the door, tries to clamp it, but there, stuck inside the joint, is a small object. Karyan bends to retrieve it.
She produces a tiny silver bullet with a pink ribbon tied around it, and, for the first time in many years, Karyan is deeply, truly, afraid.

Short stories have always been a point of weakness for me.
I have tried many times to figure out where the "sweet spot" is in writing and, sadly, it either seems to be a drawn-out novella length work or a very very brief flash fiction. However, some ideas just seem better suited to short story. Henceforth, I embark on a journey towards writing one of my first few short stories.
The idea has been swirling around in my mind for a very long time, and it focuses around one central question: what happens to the people who are left behind when someone commits suicide? At one point, I had three different drafts running all at the same time in an attempt to get the words out correctly. Now I've consolidated the best bits and, little by little, am constructing the connective tissue known as scenes.
In my typical nature, I have added a few surreal elements - visions, beyond-the-grave items - to the work and have taken it upon myself to picture myself as that pinnacle character, Jasmyn. I first presented one scene to a writing group in Seattle and they were very receptive to the idea of using the actions as metaphors and the events as part of a larger story - my decision to integrate these ideas has come as a great boon since I can now put myself in my characters' shoes.
But, aside from all the shop talk about creativity and flow, much like putting myself in an insane asylum, I have committed myself to a mandatory set of rules regarding this story. Namely, my goal is to write 250 words or for 1/2 hour (whichever comes first) on this piece every day.
Call it preparation for NaNoWriMo next month, but it's been a tough and interesting way to break me of a months-long writer's block that has come upon me like a plague. So, vive la short story! I am hoping to get a first draft done by the end of this month.

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