National Flash Fiction Anthology (Part 1 – The Scream)

The Scream Painting flash fictionA few weeks back, I came across the website for the National Flash Fiction Day that takes place on the 22nd June. Every year they run a competition for any flash fiction writers willing to give it a try. They decide on a theme and then it’s up to you to write one or two pieces of flash fiction that fit into that theme. The lucky few people chosen as winners would feature in this years anthology as well as get armfuls of books and e-books and things.

Well this year the theme was art, and it didn’t matter if the link was tenuous or obvious as long as it was there.

I wasn’t lucky enough to be chosen this year, but that’s no reason no not to share the entries with the world. Or at least the 13 or 14 people who may accidentally come across this blog over the course of several years.

The below is the first of two pieces of flash fiction, and if you do come across it I’d be interested to know what you think.

Flash Fiction – The Scream

“Ray! I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to…. I’m so…. sorry…! Ray?’

Lily knelt over the body of her husband, apologising to him as she had always done, still holding the knife that had painted her hands red. She knew she shouldn’t have made him angry, she shouldn’t have pushed him; she shouldn’t have been so selfish.

She could still hear the argument they’d had ringing in her ears. She was used to Ray’s temper, especially after a drink but it was different this time, she had gone too far. Lily had always wanted to make more of her life; she had been the perfect housewife and mother for eighteen years but now after a chance meeting with an old school friend she thought that maybe it was time she went back to College, so that night she had asked Ray for permission.

‘Did you get that stupid idea from that bitch, Charlotte?’ Ray had shouted back at her. ‘Your place is here looking after this house and being my wife, or is that not good enough for you anymore?’

Lily tore herself away from her dead husband’s eyes and looked up at the old and tattered poster of The Scream by Edvard Munch stuck to her faded and peeling living room wall. The screaming figure clutched its head in terror and screamed down at the still, bloodied corpse in front of her. It screamed for her and what she had done.

Lily rubbed her eyes instinctively but they weren’t wet, she wasn’t shedding any tears for her husband, in fact the longer she stared at his body the less she started to feel, until there was nothing just a dull numbness. She stood up, dropped the knife on the floor and walked over to the phone and rang the police.

‘I killed him. I’m at 245 Poldonis Street.’ was all she said to the operator before she put the phone down.

Minutes passed, just how many minutes she wasn’t sure but as she stared at the poster again, she saw it differently. She no longer saw the terrifying image of the screaming figure. She focused on the couple in the background; the couple who were walking away; the couple who were turning their backs on the fear and horror and walking into a different picture; a different life.

Now she knew why she wasn’t crying.

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