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Friday, March 18, 2011

Flash Fiction Friday 3-18-11: "Broken, Beaten, Scarred"

(Source image: "I Am So Hidden" by China Hamilton)

The tile was cool and smooth against her bare feet. Her eyes were hopeless, lost, through the eyelets of the mask. Her breasts heaved with suppressed emotions, her whole body shivering as if in a high wind.

The door swung wide and he entered. She twisted to face him, arms crossed protectively before her. Shock skirled across his face and was gone in an instant.

"My God," he whispered. "What have they done to you, my darling?"

Trembling, she reached up and removed the mask.

And he smiled, the sun bursting through clouds. "Is that all?" he murmured, reaching up to caress her scarred visage. “You had me worried there for a minute.”

And he kissed her passionately, hands moving over her body, and she responded ardently, though the tears still trickled down the ruins of her face.

Your challenge for today was to use the picture above and write a flash fiction of 85-135 words. Additionally, I provided a key phrase I wanted to see used somewhere in the submission:

" and smooth..."

Nobody's checking word counts, or for the key phrase, but you're only cheating yourself if you break the rules. Unless you're doing it to earn a spanking (in which case, see me after class).

Special Bonus Director's Commentary Track:

This picture fascinated me. At first I had planned a sort of Phantom of the Opera tie-in, with the Phantom taking a lover from among the dancers and musicians of the Opera House, but with a twist -- that he would require her to hide her own face while they made love. I decided against that one because it seemed there'd be very little intimacy with the faces of the participants hidden, but it's still given me ideas for some semi-anonymous fantasies that may yet see life here (I understand that semi-anonymity can be a powerful turn-on, at least in some of the stories I've read). We'll see.

In any case, the approach I wound up going with actually came over me when I happened to see a woman on TV whose husband had left her after a horrific burn accident left her scarred. I'm one of those old-fashioned people who thinks that love does conquer all, so I promptly wrote this sort of fairy-tale approach (fairy tales AGAIN; I really do need to stop that) where our heroine had been the victim of horrible torture that left her face scarred but her body intact. Naturally, she is terrified that her lover won't want her anymore. Most men, I think, would look only at the body and still be titillated, but would they react well if and when she removed the mask? Our heroine's lover isn't at all fazed by it, but (as seen by the TV show I watched) real life is not always so forgiving.

So, after last week's lighthearted take I go right back to the introspective darker stuff. What's my mind coming to? I don't know. Let's see what you all come up with.

Please note that for the past few weeks I have been trying something different with the participants list. If you are playing along this week, please leave your link below. It will appear in the text of the post itself, not in the comments, so everyone that's playing will be listed here. This frees me from having to chase people down to find out if they're playing or update the Friday post several times for late entries.

In any case, the participants list is below. Go check them out, and thanks to all who played along.

Check back here on Monday for the next challenge! And if you have any photos or artwork you'd like to see in a future challenge, please send them my way. 

-- PB


Naughty Lexi said...

Until I read the director's commentary, I assumed that you were being even more quixotic and saying that he loved her for who she was, not what she looked like. Perhaps you were. I'm afraid that people who are likely to care probably would care whether her body had remained intact or not. And don't stop with the fairy tales, darn it; I like fairy tales :)

Anonymous said...

Sweet. He loves her no matter what.

I love this art: the shading; the golden, sepia tone.

This woman's body is delicious!


Curvaceous Dee said...

It was a great choice of image this week - and I liked your story very much.

Regarding the commentary, I take mild disagreement to 'it seemed there'd be very little intimacy with the faces of the participants hidden'. Over the last eighteen months with Hylas, where masks (be they gas, rubber, or other) are often used, has shown me that there without facial expressions to go on you can still have incredible intimacy together. You just need to learn different ways to read and experience it.

xx Dee

France said...

Fairy tales is what keeps us dreaming, so keep them coming!! :)

nilla said...

thanks for the director's commentary...i like to know the behind the scenes inspiration too!

it was beautiful, poignant, intense, and hopeful.

Thanks for a great pic, and i say...let your mind wander as it will...


Anonymous said...

real life story for me actually...I went through a windshield when I was 16 and had 50-100 stitches in my face (doc lost count) and now have 13 scars on my face. Master says His favorite is the one the runs from inside my nose all the way down my top lip, it has completely split my lip. The doctor had to reconstruct my top lip as it was torn in 4 places all the way through. Master says that scar gives me a crooked, mischievous smile that is all my own :) I smile first with the right side and if its a big enough smile, the left side gets dragged with it lol

Anonymous said...

It wasn't bad, at all, to him. I love it!

~ Sweets (who loves fairy tales)

Anonymous said...

@Curvaceous Dee:

What you describes as your experiences with masks would definitely be intimate and perhaps more deeply because you must fully employ your other senses. Your senses are heightened, which has got to bring about greater pleasure. Your partner, in turn, must be much more intuitive in reading your body, sounds, movements etc because your face cannot be read, your eyes cannot be seen, and at time you cannot make vocal sounds.

Thoughtful feedback Dee.


Anonymous said...

I'm a fan of masks and fairy tales, so I liked your story very much.
"And he smiled, the sun bursting through clouds" this line made me smile... So sweet, the way he accepts her.

Oh, and don't stop with the fairy tales : )

Cheeky Minx said...

He is something of a dream man for many of us it would seem.

Sexy, dark and touchingly heartfelt, PB... xx

The Panserbjørne said...

Lexi: Actually, that was indeed what I was trying for -- the idea that he loved her regardless of what she looked like. Perhaps I shouldn't have added the bit about "but her body was unaffected", since it was clear the model was about as perfect as you can get.

Hedone: Yes! That was my idea, anyway. I'm glad you liked the artwork so much; it became one of my favorite pics as soon as I found it.

Dee: Thanks for the nice words on both the artwork and the story too. Glad you liked. As far as "lack of intimacy" goes, I can only go with my own experience in those regards, which is sadly limited. :) Glad to hear I was wrong!

France: Oh, I probably will. I love fairy tales and fantasy too much to give 'em up entirely. Thanks!

Nilla: Such kind words! Thanks so much for saying so.

Sephani: Then I'm glad this pic and story spoke to you so much. Truly I had no idea, but good for you for rising above!

Sweets: I'm very glad you did love it so much. Thanks!

R.: Apparently many of you do like my fantastical/fantasy takes, so I will probably keep right on doing them. Thanks for saying so!

Minx: Maybe he isn't a dream, exactly, but an idealization. Still, we should all be so lucky as to find a partner this accepting. Thanks for the nice words.

-- PB

Naughty Lexi said...

Then it worked just fine :)

Anonymous said...

After a long weekend away, I am finally getting a chance to read everyone's stories. This was beautifully done Panser. I love the tack you took.

Advizor54 said...

It's strange how we react to words and phrases we see in other people's writings, "my darling" is probably my least favorite phrase ever. Well, "I need to see you in my office, and bring your ID Badge" comes in pretty close.

I liked your take on the picture, I like seeing different things through the eyes of others, but I wondered what he meant by "Is that all?" when she was so obviously traumatized. Now I understand the point that he lovers her anyway, in spite of, or because of, her suffering, but I grew up in a home with a loving, but condescending father, and he drove my mom crazy, she was a closet feminist and had poetry and clues about her feeling all over the house, yet he missed them all.

The piece rebounds on "she responded ardently," as he had brought her what she needed, not what other would impose on her.

And PS, I liked that she wasn't a skinny-minnie. :-)