the writer is a lonely hunter

writing by Gail Aldwin and other authors

#fridayflash: shedding skin

on July 13, 2012

Like running a comb through her hair to make a parting, she slices her scalp with the blade.  Peeling back three maybe four layers, she finds a silken sheen of hair grown underneath in the darkness. Stripping the skin from her face, she looks in the mirror, waiting for the milky shadows to turn sharp. Her cheeks are pale and her chin bone juts beneath the translucent covering.  She tugs the collar of flesh and the seam over her ribs springs open. Her arms escape from the sleeves and she inspects the pads of her fingertips, pink and furrowed as if she’s been in a hot bath. She wriggles her hips, pulls up her knees and steps from the skin left crumpled on the floor like dirty clothing. By shedding her skin she’s released from shame and the anchors of regret. She’s freed from all the things she wished she’d never done. Today her name is Hope.

18 responses to “#fridayflash: shedding skin

  1. This is an interesting descriptive piece of prose. I could see this action very clearly in all it’s gruesomely beautiful detail.

    • gailaldwin says:

      Does it work as a complete story, do you think?

      • It hints at a story which has already occured whilst suggesting a future. It terms of plot it doesn’t really qualify as a story, and I’d like to know what motivates her, but the purpose of these short, shorts isn’t always to satisfy the need for a complete story. I often see them as an opportunity to flex those writing muscles and try something new. You certainly flexed your descriptive muscle here to great effect.

      • gailaldwin says:

        I take your point – there’s room for more work!

  2. Gosh! Shocking, but somehow beautiful as well. Thought-provoking.

  3. Laura says:

    Extremely descriptive, short, but yet with a whole story behind it. Brilliant!

  4. I would like to know what she is? Very descriptive and imaginative in such a compact space. Well done!

  5. Steve Green says:

    A nicely written short piece, the first line is such a very sharp hook to draw the reader into the rest of the flash.

    I can’t help but wish a little that we could shed our own problems and shortcomings in this way.

  6. Oh, I liked this. Reminds of a snake that sheds its skin. Great work Gail.

    • gailaldwin says:

      My mum kept a snake’s skin on top of her wardrobe when I was growing up (a momento from a trip to London Zoo). I hated it and never liked going into her bedroom because of it. That memory gave me the idea for this piece of flash.

  7. Nice piece of prose – I was totally caught up in it from the first sentence to the last. Good work.

  8. Now this is my type of imagistic writing. Excellent! The power of the internal to shred and strip our bodies.

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