2nd Place Winner – Flash 405, April 2022: “Escape”
Vivien streams her dress of cascade and applegreen. She turns into a shooting star tonight. There are candles in the sky. She sails toward them in a violin case that opens like a scallop shell and once held music and treasure. Her spoon overflows with ants and fish teeth that twinkle. Her oar, a plastic shovel, spills a line of sand as old as the world. There are even diamonds in it, a trail back to somewhere unremembered but not forgotten. For a moment she sees the whole universe, before blinking. She holds suns by the billions in each iris. Vivien wears her dress of water and leaves, the color of planets when she spins. Vivien turns into a shooting star tonight—not five—her hair already a starpart curling upwards in flames rolling on ocean, bowing and lifting like horses as they stomp and whinny in the wind. Her lips melt in a starsparkle so fizzy it doesn’t hurt her, her mouth a beam of lipstick smeared in the starlight from the tail of her paintbrush, dripping at the troth. Vivien turns into a star tonight and you have never seen a shooting start like this one. You have never seen a shooting star like this one. She is going off in a shower of sparklers because a star is actually a tree and honey tastes like flowers, not bees. Vivien plants a seed in the galaxy and blows out wishes. And she knows. She will not grow up to be just any field or forest.
The imagery in this story is absolutely breathtaking. As a reader, I felt I had “escaped” into this fantasy, given the starry descriptions presented throughout the piece. I specifically liked the part, “For a moment she sees the whole universe, before blinking. She holds suns by the billions in each iris.” I liked the macro versus micro imagery and how the author creates this majestic image. The author makes good use of diction and makes every word count, making it stand alone expertly as flash.
Allison A. deFreese is a poet and literary translator. Her work appears in The Bangalore Review, Hunger Mountain, Plainsongs, and Quick Fiction.
Photo Credit: Yash Raut