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#50123
Joanna Jelen
Participant

Hi,

Here is my first ever try in flash fiction. It really teaches respect for words, considering their weight and quota. And I’m still 30 words over 1000 limit. Sorry! I admit writing the story within the limits was a challenge but I enjoyed it.

I’d like to use this story for the prologue of the new book I’m brainstorming. It’d be a contemporary romance and the plot would be six years later and directly affected by the story below. I’d like it to be a romance suspense but I’m not sure I can pull the suspense part. Would it fit? Thanks for your advice.
<p style=”text-align: center;”>***</p>
Who Has the Last Laugh

The grand house meets my first moment of freedom with the usual silence. I frown. Victors should be celebrated with speeches, music, and dancing. Fireworks would be the ultimate salute, but I don’t have any and heard enough eulogies for today.

Music and dancing then.

My stocking feet rebel against my plan while I cross the hallway and two more rooms before reaching the parlor with the stereo. I stomp the last few steps to show I’m the new boss, but the lame sound doesn’t impress the antiques nor the larger-than-life man on the painting hung over the fireplace behind me. I shrug.

My forefinger slides over the titles of CDs collection. None of the discs are mine, so it takes me a moment to find some dancing material. If I could only step it like the African performers I saw once. They looked so confident and emancipated. I’m neither. Besides, the collection doesn’t offer any folk music. I see only one disk with the latest hit I might know how to dance. Although I’d prefer something more monumental to express my triumph, I put the song on the repeat, max the volume, and the house resonates with…Macarena.

I pivot to face the portrait. The artist painted the eyes that way, they’d follow me in every direction I go. Today is the first time I don’t care. In fact, I have perverted satisfaction Blake has to look at me.

I smirk. “But you can’t touch me.”

I rock my hips to the rhythm and dance the whole sequence. When I jump to the left, my foot slip on the waxed wood, so I take off my stockings. After a short hesitation, the jacket and sheath dress go next.

With the next jump, my soles land firmly on the ground. While rotating my hips, I peek through my shoulder at Blake. “Kiss my big Polish ass. Or is it one of those days, you’d find it too small? Four years and you couldn’t make up your mind. Now you can’t slap it anymore. Ha, ha.”

Skipping one sequence, I hop to face the portrait again. When the music calls to bring the arms up, I add a special treat and flip him two birds, yelling “Adieu, asshole.”

I even kick the pile of black clothes, so appropriate for a grief-stricken widow. My fault I wasn’t brave enough to wear bright colors with rhinestones at Blake’s funeral this morning. That’s why the heap deserves another kick and a few more as it’s my late husband’s fault for changing me into a mouse. With his fists. And words. Barren skunk hurt the most.

But no more.

I leave His Lofty Highness on his wall and bop to the hallway to revel with my ally in the mirror. I’m so engrossed in my jubilation; I don’t hear the bell until the music stops. My reflection winks with agreement to ignore whoever is at the gate. We go back to our celebration.

With the song next reload, the ring drills different. Shit, now it’s the doorbell.

I tip-toe to a front window and peek through the shades. A young and gorgeous woman looks back directly at me. I don’t know her, and I’m not interested in meeting new people. Can’t she hear I’m busy with digging up my old self?

I go back to dancing Macarena.

When the woman appears behind me in the mirror, I almost join my late husband—God forbid.

I whirled at her. “How did you get here? Who are you?”

She doesn’t answer, busy with checking me out. I’m only in my undies and bra, but even in my finest dress, I’d be far from her gorgeousness, approximately a foot taller and a decade younger than me. I keep my head high to her scrutiny, reminding myself I buried my timidity with the man who forced it on me. I wish I still wear my high heels.

“Go get dress,” she says. “We need to talk.”

I could also call the police and report her trespassing, but something tells me to wait for her say. Back in the parlor, I glare at the terrace door open wide. Before I snatch my dress from the floor, the woman enters the room, holding Blake’s bathrobe for me. Suddenly I’m afraid to ask how she knew where to find it. I put it on, but his cologne is still alive in the terry, and I gag.

“My name is Giselle,” she says. No handshake. Perhaps she’s afraid I may puke on it.

I walk to the window to inhale fresh air through my mouth. “Ewa Robbins.”

“I know. I’m pregnant, Ewa.” She pronounces my name as Ava while it should be like the first part of evacuation.

Pondering the language nuances helps my eyes avert from her belly, but soon I can’t help myself and peek. She doesn’t show at all. Why would I care anyway?

She clears her throat. “It’s Blake’s.”

For a second, I think she means the portrait. Then it hits me. The breathing exercise ceases its help at once, and I vomit on the floor I scrubbed on my four only a week ago. Just a day before Blake crashed his plane.

I wiped my mouth with the robe. “Get out of here.”

Despite taking three steps away from the stench, she ignores my request. “Blake promised me to take the baby and pay me a handsome fee for the trouble.”

My stomach clenches.

“I need the money,” her voice raises over my dry-heaves.

“You’re too late,” I croak. “Your sugar-daddy is six feet under. Now get out.”

“You have to honor his wish.”

“No.” No need to elaborate he’s never honored mine.

“If you don’t, I’ll go to the press, destroy his name, and—”

“Honey, if you bring the pom-poms, I’ll be cheering in your corner.” My laugh dies the moment she slams the door.

I drop Blake’s bathrobe on my puke puddle and seize the fire poker. I aim where his heart should have been but got his eye instead.

“You motherfucker,” I cried. “Couldn’t you give me just one fucking day to breathe?”

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