4 Oct 2012

Behind the Curtain Flash Fiction Contest


I saw this on Twitter and thought I would join in. I am always nervous, even more so that I don't tend to write dark stories, but when I saw the pinterest board the image below sparked my imagination. 

annabrahms.com

Here is my story (339 words) and I hope you like it....

Update: I never won any prize or was picked as anyone's favourite story. But I have learnt so much by entering this contest and I know I still have more to learn. There were some great writers and people were generous with their comments and i appreciate that so very much. No more contests for me but this one was fun! :)
With a deep and raspy sigh the old crooked man picked up hisstrings and made the puppets dance.

For nigh on 80 years from morn until night he had been doingthis, for the last 40 years he had been the puppet master, for as long as hecould remember this had been his life. His memory was fading as fast as hisfuture.

On waking he had felt a sharp stabbing pain in his chestthat had snatched his breath away. If he had an option to return to his sleepand his dreams he would have taken it in a heartbeat. Never one to reminisce onpast times he was surprised that his mind wondered to that day when he hadarrived at this place. He had been a small boy with an ashen complexion,spindly arms and legs with a protruding belly from malnutrition, and brightblue eyes that shone out from under a dishevelled fringe. It was those brightblue eyes that had decided his fate on that day.  Would he be a puppet or a master? The mistress had looked himover, closely examining his face, as she reached his eyes she tutted and aspatter of spit fell upon his young skin making him recoil, and when shebreathed on him the stench was almost enough to cause him to fall back. Turningto the puppet master she had screwed up her face, pursed her lips and snarled ‘theeyes, the eyes will distract the crowd from the story….be rid of him, be rid ofhim this instant’. But the puppet master had pleaded with the woman that theyneeded an heir and he was as good as any. As good as any.

He had longed for the day when he would join the stars andreturn to his mothers bosom, no more hollowing, stringing, or varnishing of thepuppets. No more.

And with a deep and raspy sigh the old crooked man picked uphis strings and made the puppets dance. 

And here are the details and be sure to check out the other entries.

34 comments:

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    1. I read your comment and it dawned on me that I had missed a line out, I had cut it and forgot to paste it back! So, thanks for inadvertently doing that, it is much appreciated.

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  2. I love it Kate... once again... the description is amazing... I'm imagining the life the old man/boy had... and the detail of the blue eyes... to make him "different"... LOVED it... I haven't read the others but I truly hope you win :D

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    1. haha! thanks Sara, I just thought I would take part and maybe get some feedback that way. :D

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  3. Oh such sadness lurking behind the curtain, and no heir of his own to pass it along to. Nicely done!!

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    1. Thanks, I seem to have failed with this and in translating the idea in my head into this story - but I know that now and its just one of many things to work on! Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

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  4. Love the way you've opened and closed with the same sentence, I've done this in my WIP, ties it in nicely! Lovely story.

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    1. Thanks, it worked in my head and with my interpretation but I am glad that you think it also works. Thanks again.

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  5. There is real poetic economy with language in here... lines like this: "His memory was fading as fast as his future" - just so elegantly phrased. Love it.

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    1. Thanks Meg, I liked that line too :) Maybe next time I will take some time and make the most of it and throw in some editing too. I guess writing poetry helps a bit with my writing style. That's what I keep telling myself! lol!

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  6. Something about puppet masters, they're generally quite creepy, but this one was just sad. Lovely story.

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    1. My implication that puppets are made from hollowed out, stringed, and varnished children has been sorely missed from everyone who has read this! lol But it is something for me to work on. The getting the message across of course as opposed to making puppets! ugh!

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  7. I loved the last line especially!

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  8. "Would he be a puppet or a master?" - such a haunting question, haunting story. Lovely work.

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  9. Very creative story! Didn't see that coming. Good work.

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  10. It was certainly implied that the puppets were children but you never made a big deal out of it. If you wrote a longer piece you could bring that element out. Maybe also think about how the man feels now he is puppet master, because where do his puppets come from? He must be carrying on the tradition but he obviously doesn't care for it.
    Just some thoughts - hope they are helpful.
    It's a good story and I agree with Lisa, the use of the same line beginning and end works well.

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    1. Yeah, I agree with what you are saying, it was longer and then obviously I had to reduce it. All feedback is useful and I definitely appreciate it. Thank you.

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  11. Such a beautiful fairy tale quality, and I really felt for this man. Lovely!

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  12. Very nice. Don't we all wonder if we are the puppet or the master, at times?

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  13. I would have loved to know more about the puppets being the children. That is just the most shiver-inducing thought. That being said, I think you did a great job with the amount of information you had to squish into such a small space and I love the sentiment behind the story!

    Jessica
    Visions of Other Worlds

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    1. I did originally write more and then remembered that it was 400 words only. I might expand on it at some point. Thank you for such positive comments, I have learnt a lot from this piece and I appreciate you stopping by.

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  14. The richness is in the details. A beautifully written piece.

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  15. The whole idea of this story is very clever. I think I'll be pondering it for some time! Thank you for the intriguing read.

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    1. Thank you for such a kind comment, I am involved in a Halloween blog hop and am considering extending this piece.

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  16. This definitely had a fairytale quality to it. You did some great characterization. It had a sad feel to it. Great story!

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  17. Wonderful! I loved your line, "would he be a puppet or a master" You really captured my emotions.

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I really appreciate you taking the time to comment. Spill the beans...

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