Since the last time out was such fun, I’ve decided to keep trying flash fiction. Luckily, Chuck Wendig’s Terribleminds flash fiction challenges offer fantastic prompts, with the kind of insidious complications thrown in to make me take chances I might not normally consider.
Take this most recent one: the challenge is to rewrite a fairy tale, no more than 1,000 words. Piece of cake for a parent; bedtime often means practicing script-free re-tellings of classic tales. I had a couple I used to tell my son; surely one could be adapted to fit. I began thinking about one in particular, a Japanese tale about a boy who conquers demons with the help of his drawings of cats.
The twist in the challenge was to roll (or use a random number generator) to pick a number between 1 and 20, and write the story in the corresponding genre. I rolled three – erotica. Well fuck.
Still, the purpose of a challenge is to get out of one’s comfort zone, right? So I (sort of) kept the tale, flipping the hero’s gender, and making it a story about a woman drawing a different sort of cat to help her conquer a more personal demon.
As the night wore on, more and more couples drifted upstairs; Kira accepted she was the “extra” guest at the party, and resigned herself to a night in her room, alone.
Lying in bed, she wondered why she bothered to go in the first place. Her friend Cathy had said there’d be lots of guys, and even offered to introduce her to her fiancé’s roommate, Curtis.
“He’s right up your alley. You know, quiet. Like you are.”
Kira smiled. “Sure, like Sam was.”
“Sam was an asshole,” replied Cathy. “You were right to leave him.”
“He left me, remember?”
“The one time he did something good for you! Kira, he was a lousy boyfriend and-your words-‘a terrible fuck.’ Forget him. Move on.”
She hadn’t really been out with friends since the split, and as introverted as Kira sometimes felt, isolation was worse. “Fine, but please don’t push me on Curtis. I don’t like being rushed.”
“OK, move at your own pace. I’m warning you, though; I’m getting married next year, and no one under 15 is invited without a date-especially my oldest friend.”
“Whatever. Just help me find an outfit.”
She settled on a t-shirt with a barely too-low neck and form-fitting jeans. She wore her straight black hair pulled back and was more careful than usual to get her makeup just right. Kira went downstairs feeling every bit as attractive as she looked.
She might look pretty, but no-one approached her. None of the guys, and not even her friends. They had already paired off, aware enough of her presence to shift forward or back to avoid bumping her, but not enough to converse.
Eventually she stopped even trying to mingle. Kira found a seat, a pencil, and a napkin. Knowing no one would notice, she began to sketch a face using her favorite features from the men present. Warm brown eyes behind wire-framed glasses from one, soft lips and an easy smile from another. Tousled hair, strong chin; eventually she stopped glancing up for reference. When she realized the party was winding down she headed to bed, her sketch in her pocket.
Lying there, she wished things had gone better with Sam. Their one time together-her first time-had been terrible; she hadn’t known what to expect, and he hadn’t cared. Sam dumping her was inevitable, and her only regret was that she was left knowing what she didn’t like, but clueless as to what she did.
Cathy was right about Curtis; he was someone she could see being with. But he deserved better than someone looking for “Not Sam.” If she were going to be with him, she wanted it to be for a while.
Unable to sleep, she pulled the sketch from her pocket and imagined the man who could get her past Sam. She unfolded the napkin; smoothed it out on the bed next to her. She found another pencil and, eyes closed, sketched other parts of the man she’d started assembling in her mind. She drew broad, strong shoulders above a toned chest and powerful, athletic legs. Feeling warmer in her cheeks, she continued, adding defined arms and the hint of a cute, firm butt. With a lazy smile, she set the pencil down and rolled over, asleep almost immediately.
Later, under warm blankets, she felt a new weight on the mattress behind her, a welcome firmness against her back. A soft breath crossed her ear, whispered “Kira.” A strong hand rested on her bare belly. She didn’t tense; Kira somehow knew this was the man she’d envisioned, this was how she’d move on. She lifted her head and lowered it onto his bent arm, and allowed his other hand to pull her flush. She arched back to press against his hard, eager flesh.
His hand stirred from her belly and skilled fingers feathered over her breast, teased the nipple hard. She rocked her hips, her butt pressed against him, moaning as his tongue brought the lobe of her ear between his lips. Kira rolled over and pressed herself into his chest. His hands found her ass and drew her still closer. Their lips met, parted, then pressed harder together.
She didn’t need to look at him; she knew each contour of his body. He eased her to her back and moved his mouth from her lips, to her breast, to her belly. She opened her legs wider to allow him space between them, to let him continue down her body. His fingers, then his skilled tongue, found her center. She ran her hands through his hair as he tasted her, before flinging her arms wide as heat coursed throughout her body. He rose and, lithe and intent, entered her.
Kira wrapped arms and legs around him as he pulsed in tandem with her, whispering her name a breath above her lips. She kissed him, and wished she’d written a name beside her sketch that she could scream out, just before they both stiffened and she lost all knowledge of speech.
She slept soundly the rest of the night, first with her arm draped over his shoulder, then with a hand resting on her sketch. In the morning she dressed, made the bed, and set the napkin on her desk.
Cathy was downstairs, laughing at something her fiancé had said. Kira saw that her friend had made coffee before they tackled the party’s aftermath, and she helped herself to a cup.
“I was wondering if Curtis met anyone last night?”
David smiled. “He helped Jenna find a cab, then went home alone. Why?”
Kira pretended to ignore the knowing tone on that ‘why.’ “I was just thinking about Cathy’s suggestion…”
“Really? You’d let me set you up with him? That’s great, I really think you’d be good together!”
Now Kira let slip her own knowing smile. “Well, I certainly have some ideas…”