Thursday, August 6, 2015

January in Sunset

This is an entry for the Dark Fairy Queen Midsummer Night’s Dream flash fiction writing contest. Because I like a challenge, it comes in at precisely 400 words. This is my first ever flash fiction! I hope you enjoy it.

I could keep you, January thought, suddenly, fiercely. The mortal woman's innocence beat the air between them, vulnerable as a sparrow. I could take you, and you would create such beauty for me, and you would never dream of leaving.

The door before them drank golden light from the eternal evening of Sunset.

January had little knack for glamour, so when Joanna had chosen her as companion she'd been surprised; but she'd seen herself through Joanna's eyes, later. The artist's pencil had captured her honest desire, more seductive in its way--and more dangerous--than the most finely-honed enchantment. Art resisted artifice; but the artist was caught by truth.

January collected herself. They'd been speaking of names, dangerously intimate conversation the mortal woman entered into lightly. "My grandfather had the naming of me," January said, smiling as though nothing unspoken tangled her tongue. "He was from your world, though he forgot it in the end. Does it have some meaning there?"

Joanna smiled easily, her face gentler than a fairy's, without the familiar hidden threat of sharp teeth in the night. Even tinged with sorrow, she radiated delight. January felt herself drawn closer. Their hands touched, soft as a kiss, inevitable as sunlight.

"It's a month," Joanna said. "In winter."

"I've never been to Winter." We are echoes of her, January thought. She is solid where we are air and light. Hot blood ran just beneath Joanna's skin, singing of life and longing.

They spoke of debt and obligation, and temptation won. One kiss, she thought; one simple kiss, to take through the doorway and home. To repay a debt.

Joanna's lips were soft, her breath quick and too easily stolen. Her heart hammered music between them. One kiss became two, and the second was like drowning. They tasted each other's tears when breath came slowly back.

I could keep you, January thought again.

"I would stay," Joanna said.

But January knew that story: her grandfather, who forgot his mortality and lost her grandmother's love. Fairy would steal the art from the artist, rob her of her passion; she would die without death.

She gave up the dream of a thousand kisses, let it slip from her eyes with her tears. They breathed the same air a few moments more, and the door drank Joanna into its darkness.

Her scent lingered on the wind for a heartbeat and was gone.

You want more information on the contest?  Lucky for you, I have it!  Read on for the original contest text, and links to the other entries. I highly recommend you read them. And please do feel free to leave me a comment about this little snippet, if you'd like.


  1. Excellent! Very well done. Understated, immensely powerful. AND short.

    1. Thank you! You get part of the credit for anything I get right when it comes to brevity. :P