Posted by: Jamie Hahn | January 13, 2011

Stained Glass: A bit of Flash Fiction

The brick connects with glass somewhere between Jesus’ hand and a kneeling Mary Magdalene. Colored shards spray inward and away, tinkling as the destruction moves from the air to the ground. Margaret never had thrown like a girl.

She uses her pant leg to brush the dust from her throwing hand. Jane steps toward her partner in crime and throws her arm around her shoulder.  The night bugs resume their summer songs, and the honeysuckle quietly comes out of hiding.

“That’ll show those bastards,” Jane says.

“I guess,” Margaret responds absently. She’s suddenly intent on locating Orion, which happens to be in the opposite direction of the hole she just created.

Margaret closes her eyes and searches for a calm place in her mind, her hand still tingling from the grit of the brick. The thrill of destruction still flutters in her throat. She thinks of the Church service that morning.

Two girls – young women, really – sit between their mothers, ankles crossed beneath linen skirts, backs straight as they support the weight of their Baptist faith. They listen as their necks sweat delicately under their Sunday curls. Pastor Stanley’s voice bounces off the wood of the exposed rafters.

“Today we pray for the sinners. Those that use drugs or alcohol, those that sell their bodies for money, those that are practicing the sin of homosexuality. Pray that they may be freed of their sins by the mighty power of Jesus Christ…”

Like a reflex, Margaret’s eyes find Jesus in the window. The colors of his glass sparkle with possibility in the late morning sun. But his eyes are sad and offer no comfort. Mary Magdalene does not look up, her strength of grief reserved for only one. Though Margaret wonders how Mary’s story might change if freed from the yellowing pages and stained glass of History. The discreet brush of a finger across her knee reminds her that Jane is there. Jane with her plans. Jane with her anger. Jane with her crooked smile and dangerous charm. Jane who could set it right — all of this that is wrong.

That same finger brushes Margaret’s cheek now, bringing her back to the darkness.

“That was some toss,” Jane muses with a smile.

Jane’s fingers tighten around Margaret’s collar when her enthusiasm is met with silence. Her free hand reaches around and pulls Margaret’s gaze to hers.  Margaret makes a weak attempt to resist, to stay in her solitary world and feel her own feelings. Jane inches closer, a tease in her eyes. The church stands like a blind and deaf sentry in the shadows. Jane’s lips find Margaret’s. Hard at first. Then more tender as the tension subsides into their usual desire. Jane’s tongue tastes like freedom, sweet and dangerous in the aftermath of destruction. A shiver runs like quicksilver down Margaret’s spine.

“You OK?” Jane asks.

Margaret looks to the sky and nods. Jane flashes that crooked smile as she grabs Margaret’s hand and pulls her toward the car. Over her shoulder, Margaret steals one last glance at the broken window that had always been her favorite. She whispers good bye, but her words are lost on the breeze.

_______________

To read Flash Fiction by other talented writers, check out the #FridayFlash hashtag on Twitter or visit J.M. Strother’s Friday Flash Collector.

A definition of Flash Fiction for the uninitiated.

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Responses

  1. It’s a tough thing to reconcile faith and feeling. Sometimes people forget that the homosexuals they are railing against aren’t freaks or monsters, they’re children and sisters and brothers and parents and cousins and… Good central conceit, well told.

  2. Wow, Jamie, this is powerful stuff. Such vivid imagery and emotion. Well done!

  3. Very touching. I love that the story presents no judgement on either the characters or the church. The interpretation is left up to the reader.

  4. I liked how poetic you were in the description of the violence of breaking the window. I also agree with MrsMica about digging how there was no judgment in the piece. Very well done.

  5. Wow! Wonderfully written, great visual language. I especially love the dissonance of tinkling…destruction. “her strength of grief reserved for only one”…beautiful. I’m especially thinking of the multiple meanings one could find in “the church stands like a blind and deaf sentry…”, something to chew on. Well done!!

  6. Nice title for this piece. I like the way you capture the emotions.

  7. Thanks to all of you for your wonderful comments. You helped make my Friday Flash debut a lot of fun. Looking forward to reading your pieces!

  8. This is beautiful, Jamie! Lit crit is not my forte, but I’m amazed with what you were able to convey with 1000 words.

  9. Well done, Jaime! I hope you will write more. You have an incredible voice. The more you write, the more I love to read.

    @AugustReed

  10. Love this. I’m an editor at Indieink.org now. I want you to submit this! K?

    xo

    • Thanks, Cab! Yes, I will definitely submit it to Indieink.org. Expect it soon.


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