Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tears Like Ethanediol - The World in Miniature

by Jessica Bell

TEARS LIKE ETHANEDIOL

I was half awake when she opened my door. From a half-squinted eye I saw her dark silhouette, her breath a shadow on the floor. Framed in sunlight, a femme fatale lost in absence, bound in smoky decor. With her red hennaed hair, waving like a flag, she lifted her fag to her mouth. In slow motion she parted her deep bronze lips, her face enamored with smoke, cigarette pinched between forefinger and thumb like a bloke.

I watched, clutching my sheet to my chin, smoke floating above my bed, lethargy looming like lead. I only closed my eyes for a moment when I felt the pain in my head. Like freedom. Mind frozen. Numb. I dropped to the floor when she pulled my hair, flung my arm against her shin, crawled along the carpet, and out my bedroom door. I locked her in.

I heard an hysterical scream. Glass being smashed, booming sheets, words inexplicably abashed. Then silence traced my feet, like cold air through teeth. Tap, tap. Scratch, scratch. Knocking wood? A desperate groan. I held my breath. Will I ever be left alone? Crash.

Fingers trembling I pushed open the door. Perhaps she’s dead on the floor? No. In her hand, a mirror, a shattered edge, a reflection of cherry lace, blood smeared across her face, through her hair, negated grace.

She stood still, a possessed china doll, dried mascara-tinted tears like ethanediol. My mother, a breathing shell of hate, reached for me, her daughter, her bait. Has she come to claim me too?

I closed my eyes tight, but she only cupped my head in her hands. Her pulse throbbed through my temples, fingers wet, cold—dark with disgust. She lifted my lids. Dug her jagged nails into my skin. I whispered, “Empty”. She’d engraved it in the wooden frame of my bed. I began to cry. My tears stung. “Now you’re like me,’ she said. “You may live, but within … you’ll feel dead.”

24 comments:

Jessica Bell said...

Thanks so much for posting, Bryan! :o)

Matthew Rush said...

I would like to see this formatted into poem. I mean it works either way, and it's certainly beautiful writing for a haunting tale, but the rhythm was so strong, and the rhyming/not rhyming so awesome that it felt like a song, almost (see what I did there)?

And I had to look up ethanediol, but now I get it.

And yes Jess, I do recognize where this is from, but it's even more fun as flash fiction, you can get away with so much more when it just a single, disjointed scene, don't you think?

And thanks B!

Jessica Bell said...

I actually wrote it as an expansion of a poem. And I have tried making it into a longer prose poem too. I experimented with lots of different forms. But I don't want to leave too many different mixes out there. Right now, I'm sticking with it as a part of my novel, without all the rhyming. But, yeah, it's progressed A LOT from the original poem here. Thanks so much, Matt! Loved you little rhyme ;o)

Glynis said...

A wonderful crafted piece. Full of emotion. I enjoyed reading, thanks for sharing.

Candyland said...

I've read this before somewhere. I love it. Haunting.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

The visual imagery is breath-taking and evocative. The ending haunting. I like this very much. Roland

Paul Joseph said...

Nice job, Jessica. Loving your usage of sensory details, as well as your pacing. And like Matt, I also looked up ethanediol. Haha!

Em-Musing said...

Wow!

Jayme Stryker said...

I liked the haunting images that were reinforced by the repeated rhyme sounds. Nice! :)

Nate Wilson said...

This had a lyrical feel when I first read it, yet I didn't even catch the rhymes until I saw Matthew's comment. Such a well-crafted piece!

Make 'em sing, Jessica. Make 'em sing.

Kelly said...

Well written full of haunting imagery. Well done, Jess.

Okie said...

very nice. full of creepy imagery just hanging off each phrase. Unsettling fun.

Jeffrey Beesler said...

I can see how other people could see it become molded into a poem. But the piece works for me the way it is. It feels poetic, yet never loses the power of prose. Do what you, the author, will, but either way this piece packs a punch. Excellent work!

Jessica Bell said...

Thanks so much, everyone. I really appreciate you all taking the time to read!

M.A.Leslie said...

That was amazing. Beautifully written and melodically done.

Matthew Rush said...

I'm just coming back by to say that seeing Jessica and Bryan working together is like hops and yeast. I LOVE IT!

Okay, you're not actually working together, but you know what I mean.

M Pax said...

Poetic indeed. Powerful imagery.

LTM said...

very nice--rhythmic and poetic. Did you say it was originally a song? I can see that. Good stuff~ :o) <3

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Every time I read this, I get more out of it. Beautiful and haunting on so many levels. Bryan, thanks for promoting Jessica and her creative talent!

N. R. Williams said...

Beautifully written. Dark and edgy. Left you guessing to the end.
Nancy
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Wow, so very poetic. One of those pieces of fiction that should be read out loud. So lyrical and beautiful. But so tragic and sad, too! Well done, Jessica!

Donna Hole said...

This was almost poetic. It has a rhythm that pulls the reader in. Breaths a life of its own. Not angsty at all, but still breathtakingly painful.

.......dhole

Holly Ruggiero said...

Very powerful.

T C Mckee said...

This was so vivid and dark. I love it. Your writing is beautiful even for such a chilling account. Great job. I'm headed to the dictionary also. Looks like you've stumped us.