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Friday, 9 September 2016

Emily - Betrothed - Class of '89

Flash Fiction / Micro Fiction
Length - 100 words each

Three pieces written for the competition theme 'An Unwanted Birthday'.
* 'Emily' was 'Highly Commended' in the competition!



Back again, drawn from nowhere. Dad sits with his party hat on, Mum busy lighting the candles on my cake whilst I dance alone in the dress she bought me, all mauve with stencil flowers on it.
                The last candle won't light, the wick is wet with sorrow. Dad doesn't even bother to comfort her, a me-shaped chasm open between them since Mum miscarried all those years ago.
                Dead before I'd even lived, a special kind of ghost. I am an anomaly, though they'd have called me Emily, a conscience born of tragedy, on the day that hurts them most.


She pulled back from their secret moonlight embrace, resisting his questing fingers.
                'I'm betrothed to Count Valer, Sir Henry. Tomorrow when I come of age, Father will have his wish.' She went to kiss him again, but he stood firm, a dark expression staining his face.
                'Suppose Count Valer isn't around tomorrow.' Fingers danced atop his sword pommel.
                'Father has gambled our meagre lot arranging the ceremony, I have to marry someone.'
                'Marry me, instead.' She drank in the murder that spilled from his eyes, her breaths growing heavy.
                'There's not much time.' She said, quivering, 'bring me his head.'


Class of '89

All my friends are dead. I thumb through pages of an open yearbook, reading by mounted candlelight their signed, hopeful messages.
                'Something to drink, General?' She hands me a glass, looks from me to her departed brother, centre page, and raises her drink in silent toast. All the women do, clustered in solemn huddles about our old school hall.
                Turning point in the war. Emergency conscription. The class of '89, wiped out after one week of fighting.
                'Happy Birthday.' She whispers, and takes her leave.
                All my friends are dead. Born a week earlier, and I'd have shared their fate.



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