A flash fiction experiment

Cast Member as Snow White in Disneyland Paris

Not the actual Snow White photo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I have taken part in a few flash fiction competitions lately. I’ve used them to experiment a little and challenge myself. This week the competition was to incorporate a photo of Snow White into a story of less than six hundred words and finish the story with the phrase ‘Once upon a time.’ I immediately had the idea to start the story with ‘Happily ever after’ and that ended up the title. I gave myself three goals of the story: Use only pronouns, use minimal dialogue, and keep the secret of the scene as long as possible without confusion. The story follows. How did I do?


Happily Ever After


She straightened his tie, pulling it until the knot came to his Adam’s apple, neither too loose, nor too tight. Her hands smoothed the lapels of his jacket, then she leaned in to grant him a small boon. She sighed and closed her eyes, her forehead touching his. As she drew back, she pushed his hair back into place.


“I love you,” she said.


A handkerchief appeared in her left hand as she dug in her pocket with the right. She pulled out a note and placed it in his hands as she dabbed her eyes. A forced, tight smile and a soft sob, followed by a nod to the two men that had waited silently outside the door, waiting for her signal without watching. The smaller of the two men took her hand and led her from the room while the tall, lanky man went to pull down the lid.




She paused and took a final look back. She closed her eyes again, remembering a moment, then let herself be led toward the car. The tall man went back to his work while the small one opened the door to the car.


After a slow, short drive unbroken by traffic or lights, she exited the car and took her seat of honor. A man clad in dark cloth spoke unheard. The moment she had remembered crystallized in her mind. The decades between that first moment and the last one melted until the two moments, the two kisses, overlapped, merged, fused.


When it was time she rose and turned to the silent crowd. She smoothed the yellow fabric of her skirt, the same skirt she had worn so long ago. She took a deep breath, exhaled into a smile.


She said, “Once upon a time…”




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