My story The Reflection received a 2nd runner-up nod this week at Flash Friday. Our task was to include the character trope of “the girl next door” and our photo prompt showed a view of The White House and fountain through a wrought iron gate. I chose to ignore the significance of the White House and to twist the notion of the girl the door.
She sits beside the fountain, the kind of girl everyone likes, fresh-faced, milk-fed, sun-kissed. She wears a checked gingham dress. Delicate freckles splash her nose and cheeks.
She never moves from her perch beside the fountain. A large house rises behind her, complete with columns and manicured shrubberies. No one has ever seen her enter the house.
The neighborhood boys peer through the gate to watch her, mesmerized by her tanned sleek thighs and full breasts. They make a bet about who might win the favors of the girl next door.
A bold youth climbs the wrought-iron fence. “Why do you never leave the fountain?” he asks.
Ancient sorrows tinge the girl’s eyes. “I cannot leave until my true love comes.”
“I’ll love you,” he offers like a true gallant. “I’ve been watching you so long I already do.”
“Look at my reflection,” she says. “Then tell me you love me.”
The youth casts his gaze into the fountain’s murky waters.
A deathly queen leers back at him. She wears a crown of burned love-letters, a corset made of flesh, and a necklace of skulls. Red rage swells in her eyesockets. She wields a vicious blade.
“Give me your heart,” the reflection hisses. “I have been starving so long.”