After the Flames…Friday Fictioneers

Her studio guttered, Pixie peeled the charcoaled canvas off the concrete.

She’d been burned to death.

That painting was the culmination of every single heartbeat, every flicker of shadow and light. Her soul pulled inside out, spurted in thick acrylic, bleeding and raw.

Art was her voice. Her only exit from the labyrinth.

Pixie covered her ears and started to scream…a scream without end.

Axel wrapped a blanket around the shattered nymph. He’d seen her waft in and out of the warehouse before, lost like a leaf in the wind.

That,” he beamed, “Is how I met your Grandmother.”

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll



15 thoughts on “After the Flames…Friday Fictioneers

  1. Claire Fuller

    Nice story, but I admit I’m a little confused. Is Pixie dead? (Burned to death) Or is she Grandma? And who is Axel speaking to? Perhaps I’m being too literal… (And tiny typo – I think you mean gutted, not guttered?)

  2. Sandra

    I wasn’t sure about the last line. If there was a then, and a now, maybe a change of tense might have helped. Or maybe I’m just being dense here.

  3. Life Lessons of a Dog Lover

    I love the line “lost like a leaf in the wind.” You captured the artist angst beautifully and of course the last line was a brilliant touch in these dark times.

  4. Rowena Post author

    Thank you very much. I was pleased with how this one came together and I really felt I’d stepped inside those characters. They felt very real. I am quite extroverted but I’ve experienced a sense of this through my health issues.
    Hope you have a great weekend.
    xx Rowena

  5. Rowena Post author

    Thanks for that, Neel. I re-read the last line and realized I’d cut it back too much to fit the word count. I like to have that dramatic twist in the last line but it still needs to connect.

  6. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Christine. I have clarified the last line a little. Yes, Axel married Pixie and Axel is telling their story to their grandchildren. That concept came up as I wrote the story and initially I had her telling the story at the end. However, bearing in mind how introverted she was in the past, I thought it was better for Axel to tell it. That opposites attract.

  7. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Sandra. I have changed the last line as I’d cut it back a bit too much. I will review the tense as you suggested. Good idea.

  8. sarahsouthwest

    I thought he’d set the fire – maybe to trap her? Then I read your explanation and realised it was a happier ending than that. Maybe I’ve been reading too many painful stories…

  9. Rowena Post author

    Thanks very much. That last line was quite unplanned, but I wanted to show Pixie surviving without it being an instant getting over it, which clearly wasn’t applicable.

  10. Rowena Post author

    Thanks for popping by and your comments, Sarah. Nothing sinister here.
    One of the things that’s always terrified me as a creative person, is having your life’s work destroyed, especially through fire, which is so brutal. That you put so much of yourself into your work, that it becomes you…and also a way for those stuck in that inner labyrinth of trying to connect perhaps with the outside world.
    Having her immediately recover when it’s clear she wasn’t doing great before the fire, wasn’t realistic.She’s fragile and he is compassionate, loving and probably has much in common with her to be able to nurture her.
    Initially, I had her telling the story but thought about her reserve and sensitivity, and thought I’d make him the more outgoing storyteller.
    My grandfather was always telling stories and after my grandmother died kept telling the story of how they met in the days which followed. It’s such an important part of our relationship and family stories.

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