I wrote a flash fiction story yesterday, for a writing prompt that was shared on my writing group.
I wanted to experiment with a new style of writing. As an editor, I hear a lot about how less is more, and descriptions are overdone, but I love words.
The way they twist, and twine and draw you into their weave with sounds and shapes.
I really wanted to evoke a strong sense of emotion and the feel of the world that I saw in my head with this story. So I was deliberately descriptive. I pulled synonyms for every possible word, and played with symbolism and metaphors.
And then I analysed and edited the heck out of it.
This is the result. I would love to know your thoughts on it.
His heart raced in time with the beat, skipping each time lightning flashed through the window, illuminating the depths of his room with stark brilliance.
His fingers, old and gnarled, fumbled with his greatest creation, waiting for the after image of the glare to abate before continuing their work by the softer glow of candlelight.
The broken wings were tussah, shimmering with a lustre that left powder on his thin skin as he worked.
The fragile insect fluttered forlornly and he cooed gentle reassurances to keep it still while he hunched over it as though to protect it from the wrath of the storm.
Finally, the thunder calmed, the rain slowed, and a smoky dawn crept through the window.
The wizened man creaked from his chair, hands cupped carefully round his prize.
Slowly, painfully, he hobbled down the stairs, chimes and tinkles from hundreds of clocks greeting him exactly on the hour.
His door eased open onto a city laid bare, beggars raised weary eyes and empty hands, while children, old before their time, wandered aimlessly past.
The horologist beckoned, and a small crowd gathered, half-remembered curiosity sparking in their eyes.
“In another life,” his voice tremulous, “before the age of mechanical invention led to destruction and decay, I was a lepidopterist.”
He shook his head to still their question.
“I studied the most delicate, magnificent creature you could envision, and I never dreamed I would see another one live in my time.
“Today, I set free, possibly the last surviving member of its kind, blown to me in the storm last night.
“Today, I set free hope for our world.”
Its repaired wings quivered, testing their strength.
Minute wheels gyred, it danced through the air; and the old man smiled as the gaping mouths of the crowd around him expressed their wonder in watching a butterfly take wing.