When Julia Wore Her Thorns

maslk of thorns

Photo credit: Enzzo Barrena

The mask of thorns was almost a part of her now, as if it were growing out of her skin instead of inexorably piercing it, boring through muscle and bone. Blood, thick as syrup, slowly described glacial paths across her face, then down her delicate throat and onto her chest and shoulders.

Julia’s body was paralyzed in a sea of stones. At first, they felt crushing, and she impotently thrashed and screamed in claustrophobic terror. Now she could barely feel them, just like the thorns, her nerves disconnecting from pain, or for that matter, from pleasure as well.

Was it irony that brought her the tiny, yellow bird, or was that Vaughn’s idea of a joke, like the parable of the Zen Monk, the Tiger, and the Strawberry? No, that’s not right. The real meaning of the parable was not to let yourself get distracted by pleasure when you need to save yourself from imminent danger.

But the bird was the only kindness in a world of horror, and trapped as she was, Julia had no hope of saving herself.

“Don’t be stupid,” chirped the bird. “Vaughn didn’t do this to you. You did.”

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Is That You Talking?

urns

© Dawn M. Miller

I bought the one that said “Corona Extra” on it because it looked cool. Now that I’ve got the place to myself, I decided I wanted to be able to make a small fire on the back patio for those cold evenings when I needed to be comforted.

“Ouch! That’s hot!”

It’s the first time I try lighting a fire in the urn.

“What did you say to me?”

“I said the fire’s hot.”

“But that’s what you’re for, to burn a fire in. Look, it’s a cool evening and I’d rather enjoy a warm fire while sitting on the patio.”

“Too bad”. The thing actually closes its mouth and smothers the flames. I toy with the idea of calling over my next door neighbor to witness this strangeness but decide against it.

“Oh don’t be surprised I can talk. You’re so lonely, you’ll believe anything can keep you company.”

“You mean…?”

“Call your son and his wife. I’ll bet they’ll be glad to bring the grandkids over.”

“But I thought…”

“Just because you’re divorced, doesn’t mean your kids don’t love you anymore. Go on. Make the call.”

I pick up my cell and the urn goes silent forever.

I wrote this for Sunday Photo Fiction – March 5th 2017 hosted by Al Forbes. The challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction no longer than 200 words based on the photo prompt above. My story is 199 words.

To read more stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.