This flash fiction piece was written last week, an entry in the October One Word Challenge over at Writer's Talkback, which didn't take long - I'm incredibly fussy about my writing, and most work takes an age - and is one of those stories that simply 'pour out'. Clara Smile did just that. For the challenge, the word in question was 'Silence' and this little tale popped into my head.
I must thank fellow writer Lily Childs (among others) for providing a lovely bit of feedback, and who's inspirational words I've cut out and stuck to my notice board. What a great motivator.
She sat staring at the light. In her head, there were flowers and fields, horses, stalagmite mountains and granite ledges, brushed blades of grass and swollen trees full with leaves reaching out for the embrace of the sun, while glazed colours soaked her face. They conspired to make Clara smile.
She would go to these places to escape the tinny hiss of her conscience, a respite to the clinical brightness that she sometimes sensed, but Clara loved the palliative silence. It reminded her of a warm blanket shielding her against the cold. The only sound she understood was the rhythmic drum of a heartbeat, constant yet comforting, always present.
‘Lights are on but no one is home,’ the doctor said, as he closed the door on Clara and locked it.
Clara stared at the imaginary scene in her mind. A thick silvery thread dribbled down her open mouth. Her blue eyes remained trapped behind a metallic sheen. Dulled blonde hair hung loosely by her face, lank and long and as waxy as her flesh.
‘Sits staring at nothing all day,’ the doctor said, peering through the grille into her sterile prison. ‘Poor bitch lost her mind, but she’s always smiling...’