Flash Fiction: Over My Dead Body!
I love writing flash fiction because anything goes. Flash fiction is a double-edged sword in that the writer can't build characters for lack of word space. On the other hand, a feel for the character must allow the reader to resonate or the story will be lost. For this reason it can be most difficult to write.
This story has been tumbling around in my head for a couple of years and actually started out to be literally a piece of poetic justice. But as I've admitted before, I'm not a poet and I know it, so ended up as a short story. I've had little success with short stories on HubPages, but I am very pleased with the acceptance of my flash fiction. I cut it down for this publication despite the fact that my muse is having conniptions. So be it.
I hope you enjoy this little piece of irony.
The Bride Wore Black
Selma Bunch shivered. Pulling her coat tightly around her midsection, she stared woodenly at the last shovel full of clay dirt being dropped onto the grave. Her hand felt lost in the big hand of Dylan Welch, who held it tightly. After Reverend Hobbs finished saying the final Amen over the deceased, the body was lowered gently into the grave and the pallbearers packed the soil tightly. Regrets? Selma had none especially not for what she was about to do.
The Reverend nodded complicitly at Selma, who, still holding tightly onto Dylan’s hand, with a determined expression stood upon the grave. Dylan stepped up beside her and centered the couple over the newly buried coffin. The Reverend began:
We are gathered here today not only to bury Sarah Bunch, but to celebrate the union of Dylan and Selma. If any man objects to this marriage, let him speak or forever hold his peace.”
The already curious crowd huffed a gasp in unison, but the spectacle had their full attention. A few knowing smiles and even a couple of snickers went around. Not one person exited, nor was there a dry eye when he finished with: “Dylan, you may kiss your bride.”
No Tulle Veil, just Lace with Irony
No person in the community was unaware of the story of Dylan Welch and Selma Bunch. The gossips likened them unto Romeo and Juliet, except for the surprise ending.
The high school sweethearts had wanted to marry; had even waited years. Dylan’s parents had given their blessings and so did Selma’s father, but Sarah, Selma’s emotionally unstable mother, flew into a rage. “Absolutely not!” she had screamed. Selma's gentle father gave his blessings as long as they waited until they turned 18 and graduated from school.
But ah, fickle fate, Selma’s father died the next year, and her acerbic mother turned even more bitter. Sarah tightened her grip on Selma. For, you see, the comfortable Bunches lived on Nob Hill, while the Welches lived on the side of the little town with common laborers and a few ill reputes.
Upon turning 18, Selma reminded her mother of her father’s approval. Sarah replied that no self respectin’ daughter of hers was going to marry that old reprobate’s pup! The rumor that Tom Welch was the biggest bootlegger and crook in the county rang true, but there was no evidence that Mrs. Welch was anything but a beleaguered loving mother of eight kids. Sarah immediately went into her “I’m so sick and if you marry him you’ll kill me” mode.
You’re sick in the head, Selma thought, but she held her tongue, “You have Lena. She takes good care of you when I’m not here.” Lena was their housekeeper and only servant.
“I cannot spare you. You are not marryin' that White Trash!”
It didn’t matter that Dylan was becoming a success. He was the first in his family to graduate high school, as valedictorian no less, and had acquired a position as bookkeeper at the bank. He had a promising future ahead. No reason to object, but obstinance pure and simple.
Sarah had Selma somewhat in her grip, but Selma continued to sneak out to see Dylan, who reluctantly accepted the situation. Strangely, the arrangement continued for years. Sometimes Selma wished that she would become pregnant, which would force her to make a choice between a family of her own and her mother. However, Dylan was a considerate lover and a very careful one.
A number of similar arguments ensued as the years went by. Selma was terrified of losing Dylan, but not enough to overcome Sarah's guilt trip. You might say that Selma was the perfect enabler until one day when a particularly heated argument ended in a louder than usual screaming match.
"You will NOT marry Dylan Welch!"
“Yes, I will, Mama, I’m tired of waiting. Dylan’s tired of waiting. I’ve let you dominate me too many years! I’m going to tell him to get the license. We will be married immediately at the courthouse. You can't stop us!"
“You will marry him over my DEAD BODY!"
“OK, Mama, if that’s what your li'l ole heart desires!” A determined Selma turned her back on her mother and stalked out the door.
“Selma, you come back here! You can’t do this! Come baaack…," Sarah gasped.
The last sound Sarah made was the “whump” when her body hit the floor.
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© 2017 Doris James-MizBejabbers