Saturday, May 26, 2012

Play Nice

I wrote the following bit of tiny fiction for this contest. The Pinterest board is packed with fun images, but for some reason this one spoke to me. As always, I try to spend no more than 90 minutes per flash. The first version was around 500 words, but I managed to cut it down to 299, one sneaky word below the limit. I hope you enjoy it!

“Line up!” Her hoarse voice was the result of screaming when she didn’t get her way. But now, she always got her way—although her voice would never return to that of a normal seven-year-old. She patted the yellow paper crown on her head. The animals, which had been scattered on the carpet, straightened up as if alive and formed a tidy line in front of her. She clenched her teeth and strained to open the rusty hedge clippers as she sat cross-legged on the floor, but they wouldn’t budge. She stood up and grunted as she forced the shears open. Victim number one was a blue bunny. The blades closed on its neck and the oblong head flopped over, hanging from its body by a few threads. Next, a hippo. A duck. A monkey. She panted. The line of toys looked straight ahead at her calves. “The rest of you are disss-misssed!” she spat. “That’s what happens to boring baby toys!” The toys fell over silently except for the Christmas bear, whose music box played two tinny notes. She glared at the offender. “Don’t talk back!” Her red face turned plum as she stood over the white bear. The shears opened and a smattering of rust dotted its fur. “Think you’re clever?” she asked just as the crown fell off her head and landed lightly on the bear. She gasped and dropped the shears, her face pale. The bear rose and straightened the crown on his head. It was a bit large, but it would do. He looked up at her and narrowed his buttons as the victims of her assault were reunited with their heads. The Christmas bear slowly played “Silent Night” as they closed in on her, but the tune was drowned out by her screams.

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