Flash Fiction: Character

Every two weeks writers have the chance to take part in Soliloquies Anthology’s Flash Fiction contest. We publish a new single-word writing prompt as a starting point, and you write a story in 300 words or less. This winning story uses the prompt delivery


“Delivery!” I heard from the door. Cara dropped a cat in my arms.

All my life I have been a collection basket for things no longer wanted. I’ve even taken pity on a broken lamp. If I hadn't moved so many times I would probably be on that TV show “Hoarders”. Even I get a bit of a rush from watching those shows—Oh, good, I’m not that bad! But when you are that bad do you know it? Does a fish know it's in water? Excuse the cliché.

So they drop off their cats, their mouldy bread, their broken toasters, and I try to make use of them. Character, isn't that the word for it? It isn’t broken, it has Character.

When Daddy joined a cult and I ripped holes in my jeans I learned that Character wasn't something good, it was a way of putting a spin on something that was bad.

The cult told Daddy that he couldn't talk to us because we had too much Character. We were the wrong colour, like this dumb cat. He jumps on the secondhand couch and purrs as if knowing I’m the only one left who might want him. He plays at my sucker tendencies, my weak heart.

Daddy traded in one cult for another and called to make amends. I dare ask, "Why?"

"Honey sometimes there are just times in your life when you wake up and realize you're stuck in someone else’s plot and it starts to build around you like you don't know who you are and everything around you has Character and all you have is your attachment to it, you know what I mean?"

“I got a new cat. His name is Character. He just peed on the cactus. Is that what you mean?”

Jill Talbot was born in Vancouver, BC. She attended Simon Fraser University for psychology. Since then, Jill has pursued her passion for writing, winning third place for the Aspiring Canadian Poets contest, runner up for the Little Bird Anthology short story contest and first place for the Passion Poetry contest. She lives on Gabriola Island, British Columbia.

For more Flash Fiction prompts and winners, visit www.soliloquies.ca/flash-fiction