The Eternals

Photo courtesy of Dave Peticolas
Photo courtesy of Dave Peticolas

This week tried something different and entered into the 500 word flash fiction held by the incredible talents at Luminous Creatures Press. The photo prompt supplied was one of those that initially seemed to deny any sense of narrative or character, yet thankfully a tale finally emerged!

Hope you enjoy

IR

The Eternals

‘They are quite beautiful aren’t they father? I mean … I always knew how pretty they were, but seeing them here … I …’

Her father’s fingers closed around Amelia’s hand, his eyes brimming with pride. Stood at the crossroads of The Avenues of The Nation the ivory compositions on their ornate plinths stretched outwards: North, South, East and West. They had spent most of the morning ambling down the immaculate avenues, examining each composition, seeking respite from the sun under the dark span of ancient trees. Until they found themselves before The Trinity, commissioned to mark the end of the War of Suffering. Stephen knelt in submission, Francesca and Ann looking off towards the future. It seemed slightly unreal to see it in the flesh, an image that had been in every textbook Amelia had studied at school. A hundred years, yet their beauty, their youthfulness was untarnished by time.

‘Yes my darling, beautiful, ah …’ father’s fingers delved into his waistcoat pocket, retrieving his chirruping pocket watch, ‘it seems time has caught up with us, curtain calls.’

Backstage, the pandemonium of the arena was in stark contrast to the serenity outside. Amelia pulled on the elegant ivory dress adorned with lilies, a sequined covered parasol instead of a hat. Her schoolmistress, Mrs Fotheringham, had chosen the outfit for her, as she had chosen Amelia to represent the school. Her class had accompanied her home that afternoon, the bright crimson envelope clasped tight in her hand.

That evening, when father had returned from work she had watched the tears roll down his face as he read the letter by the waning light of the whale oil lantern. Later, when his emotions were in check, he had sat beside her bed, telling her how her mother had always dreamed of being chosen, of visiting the capital, of standing in the Arena of the Immortals.

Yet she hadn’t been chosen, too plain they had told her, uninteresting of face and mind.

If only she was here to see her little girl now.

The backstage organiser ushered Amelia to the wings, in time to watch the girl before her, emeralds in her hair. The theme this year was The Sirens, another trinity composition. They had walked past the pedestal, located towards the end of the Northern Avenue. Her father had told her that he didn’t mind if she was overlooked, yet if she was chosen he would visit her every year, with a bunch of lilies. That she would know he was there, that it didn’t hurt, that she would be beautiful forever.

The light blinded her eyes as Amelia, smiling broadly, stepping with confidence and poise, walked forward. Weeks spent pacing the scarred wood of the school hall, books stacked on head, the lick of Mrs Fotheringham’s riding crop as motivation. All that work and pain, it was worth it just for this moment.

Amelia spun, gracefully twirling amongst the spotlights that sparkled across her glittering parasol.

Dreaming of becoming eternal.

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