Saturday, 19 May 2012

Flash fiction challenge

Chuck Wendig runs a site called Terrible minds. He has a lot of info about writing and sometimes, fun flash fiction challenges. This week's one appealed to me.
Paint colour titles. 1k words, with colour prominent in the story somewhere. The title had to be a paint colour name, from the following list.

Grasshopper Wing
Bone China
Timeless Lilac
Pageant Song
Burnt Tile
Fuchsia Kiss
Flamingo Dream
Glorious Gold
Mermaid Song
Flint Smoke

This is what I came up with. 785 words, so way under the word limit.

Timeless lilac

by AMGray

She loved that house the second she saw it. She tried desperately hard not to let the realtor see her glee. She knew it might drive the price up. She picked faults with it. It had no garage. The wooden sidings would need frequent repainting. Brick was so much more practical. Who needed a porch that wide anymore? No one sits on their front porch and watches the world go by. Secretly, she imagined that she had already found the perfect swing to go just… there.

And the yard? She stood there shaking her head eloquently. It was a cottage garden gone wild; overgrown and almost hiding the house from the street. It will cost a fortune to have this all landscaped and those large trees removed; they might fall on the house, she opined.

The realtor agreed that the old lady, who had owned it, had been somewhat of a recluse.

She announced, after they trailed through the undergrowth to the front door, that she really didn’t need to see the inside. It was not what she was looking for. The realtor let out a sigh that strongly indicated that she thought she was never going to be able to sell this dump.

She waited two days in a fever of worry and then put in an extremely low offer. It was a deceased estate and the executors took it. She did the Snoopy happy dance silently whilst clutching the phone.

The executors asked if she wanted the furniture and she said yes. She moved her few possessions in by herself. She had no friends to ask to help her and she didn’t have enough stuff, or enough money, to pay a removalist. She hit a charity shop and found a working fridge. They delivered for a small fee.

She spent days cleaning and exploring.

The house was one of a kind all right. Every room was painted a different colour. Mostly shades of purple. Clearly that was the previous owner’s favourite colour. It made her feel like royalty.

She saw her in the hallway one day. She knew immediately that she was not real. An old lady, all dressed in grey and leaning on a carved cane. She had her hair up in a practical bun like Katharine Hepburn had always worn. She didn’t look happy and then she had turned and walked away; leaning heavily on the cane. She hoped it was not because she had bought her house.

The memory of that encounter stayed with her. She didn’t seem malevolent, just sad. She wanted to help her but she didn’t know how. As she tidied up and explored more of the house, she realised something; the apparition had been all dressed in grey. If it was the previous owner, she seemed oddly colourless. She made an excursion into the small town centre and found the local library. She explained that she had bought that house and the librarian helped her find any references to the owner in the local newspaper.

Evelyn Goodbody. Even her name sounded old fashioned. She had donated a large sum to the library and there was a photo accompanying the article. She must have died shortly after, as it was recognisably her, cane and all. She looked displeased to have her photo taken.

The next time she was shopping she found herself picking up a scarf. It was a light shade of purple. Lilac, she supposed. She looked for another one, but they were all brown or black. She bought it.

When she got back to the house she now considered her home, she stood awkwardly in the hallway. “I know it’s not the right colour,” she told the empty corridor. She felt like a fool. “But it was all they had in purple.” She folded it and placed it nervously on the corner of the massive built-in bureau. “It’s here… if you want it.” She patted it again and then left the room.

It was days later when she noticed that the scarf had gone. She thought she was going nuts.

She saw Evelyn again some weeks later. She was wearing the scarf. She nodded and smiled at her. The addition of the scarf had energised her; brought back her colour. She was all in purple now.

The old lady nodded and smiled at her.

She smiled back. She somehow knew it was the last time she would see her.

“I’ll look after the house,” she promised the spirit.

The old lady faded with another smile and she was left alone, with the benevolent feeling that she had felt the first time she saw the house. It was really hers, now.


  1. That left me with a really good feeling. Nice story.

  2. Well written and touching. Nice.

    1. thanks. This was fun, I might do another one depending on the prompt, of course.