I have been following and voting in WRITE CLUB 2019 and voting on the excellent final 30 entries in the Preliminary rounds. I plan to continue voting in subsequent rounds hoping my favourites win.
I submitted an entry – under a pen-name – but did not reach the standard of other entries. Re-reading my submission, I know why.
But what do you think? Should I have used this for the April WEP/IWSG Challenge, Jewel Box? All critiques and comments welcome.
by Zilarrezko Ezpata
Supercilious servants seldom deserve attention when they thrust a drab packet into my hands. Howsoever, this maid is incessantly thus. Why her mistress accepts her insolence vexes me. I accept the delivery but offer no acknowledgement and send the servant on her way, back to my sister-in-law’s house on Harrison Boulevard. My man can convey my response.
Locking out the oppressive heat behind the front door, I walk across the tiled hallway. The package is lighter than expected. Dreary plays my brother intends for his conjectured theater, or native artifacts I will capitalize? My throat constricts but my mind exalts.
I discard the brown paper as I carry the tawdry ivory-inlaid box contained within to the maple desk in my tranquil sanctuary.
Placed inside the ruby-red interior are ten jewelry cases that flush my body in warmth. A sealed message lies on top. The wax has an imprint, but somehow blurred.
Intentional? Never. Made in haste.
My heart beat rises. Profit beckons. My stomach flutters.
Fingers caress the soft vellum envelope. I falter at the unusual leopard-spotted variety but dismiss an irrational image. The perfume pervading the room banishes the remembrance. I break the seal.
Only my love, Arantxa dabs Angel’s Trumpet on her missives.
A precious and profitable attachment.
My spirit soars on pounding beats, body burning.
I return the gifts you used to seduce me, without success. Unlike base men such as you, I am neither a heart-cheater nor a soul-thief.
Herewith, the moonstone pendant. You promised a diamond as in the book, but that was beyond you. Why didn’t I take heed then?
The crude cameo locket that will never be me. Not even an old-fashioned eye portrait. My eyes are blue not black.
The Art nouveau enameled barrette affronted me.
One pearl earring shed like a tear, the other dust. You are the dream-crusher.
Did you intend the amethyst bracelet to enslave me?
The faux emerald and sapphire choker? Tighter than a scoundrel’s purse. My breeding detects peridot and topaz so as paltry as you.
The rough-cut ruby brooch that drew more than my blood. Why the deceit with a mere red garnet?
Perchance, the diamond necklace you locked around my neck meant aught. But never was I gulled by your growing falsehoods.
Can a lie-weaver ever repent? No, thus I spurned this silver band stolen from some naïve conquest.
Only overreached by the gold ring that never engaged my soul or eyes.
I am smothered by her two-faced words.
My head whirls, and my mouth burns. Confused, I stagger to my armchair. I read her last lines.
This blood-lined box that holds your cheap baubles, unfit to grace this lady.
Finally, the Palouse colt. Or what remains of him—the vellum produced from his skin.
And his gore spilled in your name.
Hark the Devil’s Trumpet as you perish.
Let me know what you like and dislike about this flawed piece of flash fiction, please.
Ouch! That last line…
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Ouch indeed, Sue. In retrospect, I could have trimmed the list of jewels to make more of the story.
I thought it was very chilling!
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I intended chilling, Alex but editing would add to that.
The feedback is in, and purple prose is the verdict. A flashback to my terrible twenties? I’m ashamed of writing such rubbish. Grrr.