My First—and Possibly Only—Attempt at Flash Fiction: The Fold
I recently entered the Editor Unleashed/Smashwords Flash Fiction 40 contest. I didn't place; no real surprise since it was my first attempt at flash fiction...ever. I only got 41 votes which put me in 50th place (out of 280) by popular vote. Somehow, I think the popular vote thing was not accurate. At all. No offense to those few who actually did enjoy my piece. I sincerely thank you. :o)
The winner deserved to win, although there were two other stories I thought deserved it more. But that's where personal preference comes in. The story that won caused too many past memories to surface that I didn't care for at all. My dislike was instinctual. It was self-preservation.
All that aside, my story wasn't the best. I recognize that fact and knew from day 1 that it wouldn't win. I had thought it was rather good, especially for a first attempt. I was hoping for some constructive criticism to help me see where I went wrong but that may not happen. My story seems to have fallen under the radar.
I'll let you be the judges. I'm all for constructive criticism. Praise is all very well and good. I want to know what I could have done to improve my story. I want to know the exact moment I lost the judges. I want to know if it was my opening line, my first line of dialogue, or the dialogue as a whole. I want to know if my descriptions were too wordy or not wordy enough. I want to know if I erred in my chosen genre (horror-ish) or if the real error was in the attempt at all.
Without further ado: The Fold
The evidence was false. But who cared about that when the results would convict a hated man? A cop was dead, the villain was Avery and the only one who believed he was innocent was...Avery.
“Where were you at the time of the murder?”
“I was not there,” Avery said.
The detective questioning him moved closer to the single pool of light, his disbelief palpable. Half of him remained in shadow, his reflection in the one-way mirror half man, half darkness. Avery felt a smile threaten.
“Where were you?”
Even Avery thought it was a lame alibi.
“Were you alone?”
“Yes.” It was a lie. Avery was never alone.
“Can anyone verify your presence at home?”
“Can you verify I wasn't?”
Detective Quaid smashed his fist onto the table, an action meant to intimidate, to startle a telling response from the suspect. Avery looked at his accuser, one dark blond brow quirked in silent inquiry. Avery could feel his eyes changing, the irises turning black, heralding trouble. Angry whispers arose from within, a telltale twitch rippling the hairs on the back of his neck.
A whisper shivered over the room's occupants.
'He was theeeeerrrrre.'
The detective stepped back, frowning.
“What the hell was that?”
Avery didn't need to struggle for calm. He was adept at hiding what was inside. His innocent, confused expression was in place without conscious thought.
“What was what?”
Hatred flashed in Quaid's eyes. Curiously, he smirked, showing no fear.
“Did you bring your imps with you, Devil?”
Avery closed his eyes, debating internally in an attempt to bring the situation back under control. Opening them, he knew they were black; knew the possibility of control had passed; knew Quaid was going to die if he didn't stop.
“I don't kill,” said Avery.
“No,” Quaid sneered, leaning close. “It's your demons who kill. I know all about you, Devil.”
“Deville,” Avery corrected, a ripple of awareness coursing his spine. His stomach clenched. “Avery Deville.”
“Devil, Deville. It's all the same. You're possessed.”
The man was resistant to Avery's persuasion. Several present drew in unheard anticipatory breaths, anxiously awaiting Avery's inevitable capitulation.
Avery shook his head. “Not possession, Detective Quaid. That implies we can separate.”
He'd managed to surprise his interrogator.
Not many knew his secret, preferring to believe he was under the power of Satan—or that he was the dark lord himself. For some reason, demon possession was a much more comfortable belief than the alternative.
“What are you?” asked Quaid, puzzled.
Avery smiled, his pleasant features completely at odds with the evil that seemed to emanate from him.
“I'm a collector.”
Avery left the bullpen, his steps unhurried. It would be a few days before they missed Quaid.
His persuasion techniques were far more effective on the weaker minds of the other officers in the precinct.
A smile tugged at his lips, a sense of satisfaction filling his mind. They always liked having a new person to torture.Quaid would give them years of enjoyment. The man's mind was impossible to manipulate. The challenge was irresistible.
Avery was only their catalyst. It was his job to find the strong minds and absorb them.
“You can't do this to me! Let me out!” sounded within.
Avery felt Quaid's reaction as a tensing of his shoulders.
“Welcome to the Fold.”
*The preceding is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are fictitious or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, to factual events or businesses is coincidental and unintentional.
(c) 2009 Laura J Miller aka Jaimey Grant. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be reproduced in print or electronically without the written permission of the author.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. Comments are welcome and encouraged.