Before I post my little story snippet, I’d better explain what it is that I’m up to! I’ve been rewriting the same novel for about two years, now, and while it’s definitely improving, I find that I’m aching to write something completely new. So I’ve decided to write and post short stories and short short stories (flash fiction) on my website every other week, or so.
My goal is to try new things, so this first “story” is written in the Second Person point of view, and it contains written dialect. I started with the first sentence and just let the story go where it wanted to go. I was surprised by where it ended up and that it felt complete at 500 words.
Let me know what you think!
A Flash Fiction Story by Kim Harris Thacker
My brother’s deaths are a mighty inconvenience to me. ‘Tain’t that I don’t miss him when he’s gone, but there are pigs what need sloppin’ ‘n weeds what need pullin’, ‘n he slops ‘n pulls right well, when he ain’t laid out, gray as ash. But you’ll miss him even more’n me, I expect—and in that wifely way I ain’t supposed to know aught about ‘n you’ll soon know from pith to leaf.
‘Tain’t my aim to put fear in your heart—for you ‘n me always been like a pair o’ lambs runnin’ side-‘n-side—but it’ll be even worse when you’ve babes to feed. There’ll be aplenty, too, what with your ma bearin’ eight ‘n ourn a full dozen. You can’t count on the luck o’ the Bitter Man, neither. Folks say it ain’t but once a century he spreads his cloak as wide as he done o’er your kin ‘n ourn ‘n all them others, these parts.
There’ll be gobs to fill, mark me.
No, there ain’t no warnin’. First time, he done dropped headfirst from the south corner crabapple. But he were dead afore he hit the ground, plain as muslin. Ain’t nobody but them as the Bitter Man’s kissed what look so hollowed-out.
Were only him ‘n me livin’, ‘til that first time. Then it were just me.
I warshed him like you do that butter o’ yourn, what you sell up the market—‘til the water run off him clear—‘n then I dressed him in Pa’s wake shift. Now, don’t you give me them wide eyes. All his life, Pa taught us to never waste nothin’. Said it after his soul done left him, too, for there it was, writ in fancy stitch on the breast o’ his wake shift: his own pa’s name. I would’ve let my brother’s corpse wear the tatty ol’ rag even after it ‘n the casket he were buried in turned to worm fodder. I were too young for my own babes, ‘n blamed if I’d have wedded a man then or would wed a man now who weren’t in possession o’ his own wake shift—or at least one bearin’ his family name.
Right there. Right there, on that burnt patch o’ quilt, he done come lively all at once, like lightnin’ strikin’ a tree ‘n sendin’ it into a blaze of alive, ‘stead of a char o’ dead. Hotter than pig cracklin’s, he was, ‘n hungry. Never you mind your babes when he gets up, for his body got to be full o’ somethin’ ‘til his soul fills all the cracks again, else you’ll run, scared, ‘n runnin’ ain’t never a good idea. Bread ‘n potatoes—salt pork, if you got it—them things is what he’s after, not you. Mightn’t look that way, but you just got to trust me.
Maybe get a meal ready right after his breath leaves him, just to be certain.