Saturday, 6 June 2020

'Between Things' by Lavanya Vasudevan

He was either Helen's suitor, or mine. Either he won me fairly in a foot race, or bartered for my hand behind closed doors. My father ran after our chariot, either calling out his blessings, or begging me not to go with my new husband. The husband who would either stand, unfaltering, by his promise, or rather plow our infant son into the fields than go to war. A leader of men, who either butchered innocents, broke his oaths, and betrayed his friends, or employed strategies with a brilliance matched only by his bravery. Afterwards, he either hastened home, thwarted at every turn by vengeful gods and seductive goddesses, or took every detour, sampled every forbidden pleasure that would allow him to delay our meeting. When I saw him after a span of twenty years, I was either instantly alive to his identity, or utterly duped by his disguise. When he revealed himself, I set him a test of strength, either one that I knew he had won before, or one that I hoped he could no longer win. After he strung his bow and shot an arrow through all twelve axes, either he showed us all the force of a warrior’s fury, or went mad, and slaughtered every one of my suitors, the servants who had aided them, the slaves who had bedded them, until all of Ithaca came forth to challenge him.

Now he stands, rubbing at the scar on his thigh, at the threshold of our home, neither coming in nor going out, but gazing at the sea to the east, at the stars in the sky, while I watch him from behind my loom, weaving his shroud by day, unraveling it by night, neither one of us entirely able, or entirely willing to decide.

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'Between Things' was first published in Pidgeonholes on 18 March 2019.

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And the Flood abates....

That's it for this year's FlashFlood!  Huge thanks again to our writers, our readers, our editors , and everyone who submitted work....