Friday, January 08, 2010

Entry #44

The Inevitable Loss of Burnt Sienna
by Linda Courtland


When the little girl made a mistake, her Dad took all her colors away.

"Mom would've let me keep the red," the little girl said, biting into a suddenly-beige strawberry.

"Your Mom's not coming back."

The little girl locked herself in a solid white bathroom and cried. She glanced at the mirror and watched her brown eyes fade to gray.

Her Dad returned each color with caution. Hunter green before bedtime. Cobalt blue with breakfast. He doled out the stolen hues with tight-fisted control; an angry miser of their emotional rainbow.

Two weeks later, a trivial misstep sent the girl back into that sinister noir universe. A month later, after failing to clean the house to her Dad's satisfaction, she abandoned her colors completely.

"Keep it," she said, throwing her yellow at him. It was one less thing that he could take.

"Maybe we'll see things the same way now," her Dad said. And together, they wandered through a black and white world, hiding their wounds in an ever-shifting landscape of shadows and shapes.

49 comments:

Bernita said...

A most excellent metaphor.

Bernita said...

Meant to add that this is very well done!

Loren Eaton said...

Beautiful bit of magical realism. Very nicely done.

Wavemancali said...

One of my favorites so far.

wrath999 said...

Beautifully written. Great tale.

Lena said...

Interesting take. Loved the metaphor. A very smart use of it here.

PEOPLE, PLACES, VOICES, FACES... said...

The loss of colour and the acquisiion of shades...
Well done!

Ranee

Leatherdykeuk said...

Fabulous premise.

Preeti said...

Oh my God.
The metaphors.
emotional rainbow, black and white world.
Surreal.
I loved it thoroughly. And I'm reading it again and again.

Four Dinners said...

Very powerful I think. Certainly the most novel take on the picture yet.

Absolutely excellent!

Kate said...

Oh now that's good! Loved it!

Sarah Laurenson said...

Love this take on the picture. Loved how colors were something that could be taken away, or throw away. Lots of possibilities for a longer piece here, too.

pjd said...

I love the writing, the simplicity and directness of how if flows and the words you chose. Nothing gets in the way, and the depth of the father's despair is laid bare in a really dramatic way. One of my favorites.

maybe genius said...

I really enjoy this interpretation of the photo. Emotional, well-written, and great characterization. Well done!

Aniket said...

I'd be real surprised if this doesn't make it to top 5.

On the other hand, I'll not be surprised at all if this wins.

A unique and superb take on the prompt.

Craig said...

An interesting take.

Nevine said...

Absolutely fantastic! One of the best entries I've read, if I may say so... Awesome job!

Nevine

SzélsőFa said...

very uniqe. thank you for the experience.

JaneyV said...

Linda, I am flummoxed, flabbergasted and gobsmacked - all in one. Such exquisite writing. As a parent it's almost painful to me to read.

Amazing.

Aimee Laine said...

That was really neat. So often we think of the colors of the world and how they affect us. To use that symbolically was fantastic!

Kartik said...

Maybe they'll see things more clearly now! Superb .. I'll need to read this again and again!

laughingwolf said...

bang on, linda...

Scattercat said...

A nicely surreal piece, though I think I could have done without the rest of the last paragraph; it would have ended quite nicely after "black and white world." The rest is so pleasantly simple in structure that the shift to poetic flight felt abrupt.

Kurt Hendricks said...

Beautiful. You could make a great short animated film out of this. Well done!

Chris Eldin said...

Ditto Janey... as a parent, it is painful to read. I love the part where she throws the color back, so it couldn't be something used against her. This one is definitely one of my favorites. I love your interpretation of the photo, the metaphor, and your masterful writing.

austere said...

fabulous.

kashers said...

A spectacularly good opening line followed by a story of great depth. Gripped me from start to finish.

foolishwriter said...

Great discriptions and a brilliant over all metaphor. Liked it lots!

Tim Remp said...

This was a wonderfully woven story.

I’ll hold onto the purple for a while ;)

catvibe said...

REally excellent. I just loved this one. The last paragraph just grabbed at my heart.

Laurel said...

This knocked me breathless. The power he has to steal her joy and make life colorless.

Gorgeous, beautiful, elegant and eloquent. The last paragraph is heartbreaking.

Outstanding. I'm muddling my way through all the entries but I bet this hits my personal top five.

Zombies-R-Us said...

This is but one example of Linda's mastery of flash fiction. Another in a sereies of her works that show her genius for this literary form. If you think this is outstanding, wait until you read her new book of flash fiction stories. Knocked my socks off. And that's not easy to do. This is another superb piece from Linda's pen. Remember her name. She's going places.

illyriataylor said...

this was amazing on many levels. Great job

Sharon Poppen said...

So much said in so few words. The reader can 'see' both characters through your technique of showing, not telling, so adeptly. Great writing,

Terri said...

Vivid, and cleverly drawn :-)

Jimmie Vee said...

I loved the surreality and perspective of this, the way it portrays the fading of the world as we move from the innocence of childhood to the rigors and stresses of adulthood that strip the lustre away from the surface, revealing the raw. Kudos.

Jean Ann Williams said...

Good job, indeed!

Another honest story.

Jean Ann

truevoid said...

linda, that was excellent, colorful. absolutely loved your style. this definitely goes in to my list.

James R. Tomlinson said...

I'm afraid I disagree with Scattercat; Without that last paragraph, this flash would not be relevant to the photograph.

Masterfully done, Linda. You've made a lasting impression on me; Two contests ago, I gave you my top vote (the woman with the hooved-feet). Once again, you'll get my vote.

McKoala said...

Great piece. Loved the use and the description of the colours. Almost edible. Hm, I feel slightly hungry now...

Beth Harar said...

One of my favorites, also.

Aerin said...

Dear Entrants #1-105,

I have read your pieces so that I can fairly participate in the Readers' Choice vote. (I read all of them through last week, before I started commenting.) I will be coming back around to offer my keep/tweak comment, but I didn't want anyone to snark.

Cheers,
Aerin (#236)

BTW, it's perfectly fine if you still want to snark, but this way you can choose a more appropriate subject, like the new Starbucks paninis or the people over 35 who are exclusively on MySpace

Kurt Hendricks said...

Congratulations - I *loved* your story, it was in my top three.

Lily Childs said...

I thought this was absolutely beautiful. Very different. Perfectly complete.

Well done.

Chris Eldin said...

This was in my top five. I simply LOVE your take on the photo!!! Congratulations!!
:-0

Chris Eldin said...

That was meant to be a :-)
:-)

Linda said...

Fabulous Linda! Congrats on placing -- loved this flash, one of your best... Peace, Linda

Linda Courtland said...

Everyone -- THANK YOU for your generous comments and kind words. I appreciate you all so much. Rock on, poets and flashers!!

Dottie (My Blog 2.0) said...

Excellent use of imagery to devoid the world of color, moving to a black and white existence!!

Congrats on placing!

Dottie :)