Rosewater - (150-word Flash Fiction; Entry for DHS 5SBD Contest)

in contest •  last year  (edited)


The ancient sage was wrong. Hell is not other people. It’s the absence of the right ones. Or the one. She sat on the edge of a colossal tortoise-shaped rock, staring at the reflections of vivid pinks and lilacs and deep, deep purples–the night’s last. The bright, the pretty of it was too much, yet somehow not enough. The colors danced, ethereal, a child’s painting of ghosts rendered in that beginner twelve-colour oil set she’d bought years ago. The smudged, oil-soaked shadow of it on the too-small fridge in the never-quite-finished kitchen; because Bobbie’s dying took all the time out of the three of them. Then just her.

And this last pilgrimage.

She unscrewed the top from the glass perfume bottle. For mommy–Bobbie’s clumsy handwriting. She smiled, and forced herself to watch as the ashes fell and swirled into the glittering water.

This post was written for the Die Hard flashfiction contest - 150 words based on the above image. here's a link to the contest

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Jeez.. I'm being blown away by the prose writers today. This is a starkly beautiful piece, tragic without being sentimental - despite the fact that the scene it sets, the act of returning a loved one's ashes to the Earth/water, could easily be described as a sentimental one.

"The smudged, oil-soaked shadow of it on the too-small fridge in the never-quite-finished kitchen; because Bobbie’s dying took all the time out of the three of them." Just this one sentence tells so many stories. And then: "Then just her" tells a whole new set. This writing is rich with implications and reverberations, hits fast and hard and draws you all the way in without warning or apology.


@bennettitalia - humbled that a poet would find beauty in this piece. Thank you, sir.

Oh Golly. Now I remember why I basically write non fiction. That is really good. Really.

Thanks for the beautiful words this morning.


Thanks for reading my words @bigtom13. :-)

I know those smudged, oil-soaked shadows from a twelve-colour oil set well. @authorofthings, you've created a work of art here for skipping stones of memory and heartbreak.


@eyedreemit - thanks for reading this.... I hope this didn't cause you any heartache. Truly.


Your words are not the cause of heartache at all, but have the effect of release, like massaging a sore muscle. That's a good thing.

My first taste of what you meant the other night about you having the corner on the down low. Will be reading you often I suspect, and sometimes, like in this contest we will be challenging each other.


Oh, good. I could always use a good friendly competition. Thanks much for dropping by:-)

I have no words - the images are so powerful - and I cannot bear to think overly long about this woman on the water, scattering what's left of -
Ahhhhh! if only you didn't write so well, I wouldn't torture myself reading these beautifully wrought tragedies!


Oh, shucks, @carolkean. I'm sorry, love. Truly, I am.

I love the way you twist words into meanings..


Thanks for reading. Though I never thought I was twisting words, as you say. Any meaning is likely purely incidental :-)

This was great! I was hooked in immediately.

Hell is not other people. It’s the absence of the right ones. Or the one.

That line just reeled me in so fast, which I suppose is crucial in a quite a short flash. I love the way you described the imagery, from the tortoise-like rock to the ethereal dancing of colours or paint. I'll be looking forward to seeing the results of this contests; I have already seen some interesting entries :)


Well- the opening line does indeed belong to a Sage. Sartre. I borrowed it. Thanks for reading this. I'd rather my brain produced cotton candy-like imagery that this, but we don't choose that, I don't think. Best


Ah, Sartre! For someone who has graduated in philosophy, I know nothing about him except for one thing or two. Seems like you have adapted it well into your story. And I'm not sure, cotton candy-like imagery can leave you a bit dizzy ;)

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