Still-Life with Snowflake (FF)

This is in response to Haley Whitehall’s September Flash Fiction Challenge: Superpowers.

I walked around her again, slowly, admiring. The way the pale, mid-winter light caught her cheekbones. Or the tiny snowflake that was less than a second from landing on her hair where it would melt and join hundreds of it’s kin in her golden locks. Or the way her pose, launching forward with her fist pulled back to strike, accentuated the lines of lean muscles in her calves, her tight abdomen. That was quite visible in the skin-tight spandex supersuit she wore. Red, with a golden falcon on the chest.

With a suit like that, you would think that her name would be Phoenix, or maybe Firebird. But no, it was Yellow Falcon. Some heroes really need better PR teams. In truth, a better PR team was the least of the things she needed right now. Needed? Needs? Would need? The language is somewhat lacking in this regard.

Most people only knew her as Yellow Falcon. I knew her as Josie Wheatherly. She lived up the street from me when we were teenagers. We went to the same high school together, although I don’t think she would recognized me if we met on the street. After all, it was a few weeks after graduation that I first discovered I had the Power.

Obviously, she had powers also. Thus the costume, the heroic pose. But her power was Light. Not the same as mine. She used hers to fight crime. I used mine to…

Well, at first I used it to overcome my laziness, or at least to make others think I had. Slept in late? No problem. I’d just stop the world while I had breakfast and calmly strolled to work. No one ever noticed.

Then later, I began to realize that I could use it to study whatever I wanted. I got PhDs in three sciences in the space of as many years. After a while I began to notice that time quite literally didn’t stop for me during these interludes. I was getting older. Not too noticeable yet, but it was happening.

I would see her sometimes on TV, Josie. She was always out there, fighting crime, keeping the world safe. In the space of two years, she accounted for the capture and arrest of over twenty-five members of the Golina family. I learned to play the piano between ticks of the second hand in order to impress some girl I had just met.

This situation now is because of that Golina thing. They must have hired someone to kill Josie. The robbery at the jewelry store was a diversion, obviously.

I was walking home, passing the frozen people and cars around me when I saw it. The fight. There she was, launching herself at a masked man holding a bag full of diamond bracelets. And there it was, less than a millimeter from the back of her head: the bullet.

I have long since taken care of the sniper, but there is nothing I can do about the bullet. It’s too close, too large, travelling too fast. Trust me, I have read up on ballistics in the weeks since. All I can do is keep her here, frozen in this moment, until I finally die.

——————

I wrote a longer version of this story, because I just felt that 500 words didnt’ do it justice. You can find that longer version here.

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4 Comments

Filed under Flash, Seed, Words words words - Writing and books

4 responses to “Still-Life with Snowflake (FF)

  1. Interesting. I though that the narrator was a villain out to defeat the heroine but instead it was an act of self-sacrifice.

    Well done!

  2. BabylonMike

    There is also a longer version of this (I just couldn’t leave it alone, it demanded a full-length story treatment) here:
    https://therebycandlelight.wordpress.com/2011/09/04/still-life-with-snowflake-full/

  3. I couldn’t predict where this was going as I read it. I like the way the cheeky, sometimes flawed, narrator comes good in the end; and your final paragraph got me right where it should. Powerful and compassionate. A lovely story – thank you.

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