Thursday, January 14, 2010


If you read here regularly, you know I rarely post prose fiction. Suddenly, at the last minute, though, I caught the fever from Clarity of Night and entered this piece in Jason's 250 word flash fiction contest that uses the picture above as the prompt. I'm posting it here just because...


The search has gone on for days now. It’s a story made for the media – famous poet, lover of famous poet, disappears into thin air. At first, she used the cameras to plead for someone to come forth. Now, she avoids them as best she can. She’s a prisoner in her own home, fearful of coming outside lest they thrust a microphone in her face and shout for a quote to tell what she might or might not know.

And all along, she’s waiting for someone to just look up. Sometimes she wants to shout, “Can’t you see it? The damn thing’s right above your heads!” But they don’t test the sky for answers.

They think they’ll find him in the river. They suspect he wanted to imitate the one whose works he spent his life defining. Well, they burned his heart on a beach, and this black heart is swinging through the sky.

It’s funny they haven’t thought of the man she’s spent her life defining.

She thinks by now it resembles nothing so much as the silhouette of a huge bird, its large black form lifted on the breeze, swinging loose above her. And just at midnight when she feels her weakest, she thinks she hears it tap, tap, tapping.

She's grown weary of her demon lover, swinging through the sky above her, rapping on her chamber door, urging her to tell her story.

Quoth the lady, “Nevermore.”


  1. Quite the departure for you, but the poet is still lurking within. I liked it!

  2. nice story, I really like the perspective and the thoughts that are release here, it has a mysterious air about it

  3. Really well done--crisp &, as lissa said, mysterious in the right way.

  4. Karen. I felt a prick, but I don't know why. Famous poet? fiction indeed. I believe the river is a proper place to look. Lovely story, well done as I would have expected. ~rick

  5. I hope she lawyered up before she gave the quoth.

    I like this Karen, it is good to break back to prose every now and again, get the fingers a scoop of mud and pat a cake out.

  6. I enjoyed reading this. It inspired me at the last minute too and I wrote a short story, also uncharacteristically

  7. I also enjoyed your piece very much, Karen. You tell an intriguing story with few words. It has a poetic feel to it, especially in the stanza that begins "they think they'll find him in the river." I love those dark images and the lilting rhythm.

  8. Kat - Yeah, I really wanted to do a narrative poem in response to the prompt, but I didn't have the time. This was very last minute for the contest, but peer pressure got the better of me, and I wrote this.

    lissa - Thanks for your comments and for reading.

    John - Thanks. You know I don't do prose!

    Rick - Don't take it personally, my friend. ;-)

    Walking Man - You're funny! It was fun to not use lots of words for a change, though.

    Juliet - I haven't had much chance to read the entries yet, but I'll get over there and read yours for sure.

    Laughingwolf - Thank you. I've missed you!

    Julie - Well, you know it was just for fun! I thought to structure the last paragraph as poetry but ended up leaving it as is. Thanks.

  9. It's wonderful what one like you can do with a prompt like that. You have a sly sense of humor.

  10. But I still want Ever-so-more of prose from you. :(

  11. Absolutely impressive writing, Karen. I love to see this side of you emerge.

    Wow, I missed you and reading you!


  12. Glad you decided to enter. Very intriguing and, of course, well written!

  13. I enjoyed this piece, Karen. Sure it is poetic.
    It reminded me of a true story about a couple, but I can't put my finger on it exactly.

  14. Prose, but, oh, so poetic... I love it. I find it darkly charming, wrapped in layers of mystery into which we're only allowed a glimpse. And I want more...

  15. Karen, you sell yourself too short with this story. You "do" prose just beautifully! Without painting too clear a backstory, yet offering the psychological details and mystery that make us want more. And of course, I loved the re-interpretation of Poe's "The Raven." With a little bit of the "The Tell-Tale Heart" mixed in for good measure, as well. :)

    this black heart is swinging through the sky

    That sentence made me shiver. Wow.

    I hope we see more stories in the future!