While I was at the Internet Summit last week I learned that my short story “Who Am I?” placed second in the WOW! Women on Writing Summer Flash Fiction Contest. The contest was judged by literary agent Stephanie Fretwell-Hill with Red Fox Literary.
The story was inspired by a work injury that my love experienced years ago. His eye had been bothering him for a few days. When he went to the doctor he learned a piece of metal was in his eye! He had even slept with it in there. Gross! I felt that concept would work well in a story.
I wrote the entire story on a visit to Asheville. Last year I hosted a Write In for Asheville Writers and we all got together at Pack Memorial Library and wrote for an hour uninterrupted. I had just come across a short story writing contest through the University of Virginia and the deadline was that week. The story had to be about something in the medical field and deal with identity. So I twisted the metal-in-the-eye idea with the contest requirements, and voila: “Who Am I?” It did not win that contest, so I decided to enter it into WOW’s open prompt Flash Fiction Contest (which, by the way, runs every season – you can view writing contest details here).
Intro to the story:
“How long has the metal been in your eye?” I asked the patient. At least the welder’s injury was not fatal. I had just delivered three stillbirths. Death generally does not bother me, but the multiple deaths compounded with travel exhaustion had taken its toll. I thought I was ready to leave the ER and move on after the last mother’s tragedy, but then one of the nurses had pulled me behind a curtain where the welder waited.
He sat with perfect posture on the edge of the ER bed. If it hadn’t been for the rusty tears involuntarily streaming from the corner of his right eye, he looked like he could be perched on a dock waiting for a fish to tap a line. “Eh, tree, maybe faw owahs,” he said. “I feel fine, doc. M’boss wanted me to come here. I gotta lotta woyk to do.”
“Eyes are delicate,” I said and pressed his cheek down with one hand and his eyebrow up with the other. “We don’t want to rush, and we don’t want to take our time either.” I squinted at his sclera, the white part of his eye. A small spot about half the size of a flea appeared hooked in the flesh.
You can read the story here.
If you’d like to hear me read it, I shared it last month on Writers Words Radio.