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Nathan Ramsden, 22 Jul '12

"The game," he said, "is Petals Around the Rose."
He took five dice from the jar.
"There is one answer to each roll of the dice."
They rattled in his loose fist. Takatakatak.
"The answer is never an odd number."
Fingers unfurled; five dice tripped across the table.
"Two, one, four, four, five." He brought them closer. "The answer is four. Again."
Scoop, rattle, roll.
Six, three, two, three, five.
"The answer is eight. Now you."
She peered at the dice as they spilled between their glasses, as if by peering she could govern them.
One, four, two, four, one.
She waited.
"I don't know," she said, and slid off a sock.
Again. One, three, five, five, two.
Again she did not know. The second sock.
Again. Two five two five six.
T-shirt.
Again, again, again. Onetwothreefourfive and six, and over and over --

She knelt naked at last by the low table, arms folded across her breast. He smiled because he thought he had won.
She swept the glasses to the floor. Wine spread darkly. She scooped up the dice and rolled them around in a loose fist.
"The game," she said, unravelling herself to stand, "is Thorns upon the Rose."
She moved slowly, takataktak, and sat astride his frozen lap. "Open," she said, takataktak.
He bared his tongue; she fingered a die from her palm, pushed it into that dark wet hole. "There are five rounds," she said, "and no answers."

Comments · 6

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  • Nathan Ramsden said...

    My first attempt at flash fiction. The game is real, but this is not a true story. Not all of it.

    • Posted 6 years ago
  • Anthony Blackshaw said...

    Welcome to Burrst @Nathan Ramsden. A racy debut :)

    • Posted 6 years ago
  • Shirley Golden said...

    Hi Nathan, I thought this was a well written piece but I didn't I understand it - sorry, feel a bit dippy! I'd really like to know what was going on - was she going to cut him with the broken glass and why?

    • Posted 6 years ago
  • Nathan Ramsden said...

    Thanks Shirley. It's deliberately ambiguous; but no, she feeds him the dice. I've left it up to the reader to decide exactly what the context of their little interplay is :)

    Also, the Petals Around the Rose game is genuine - I just didn't want to give away the solution.

    • Posted 6 years ago
  • Shirley Golden said...

    Thanks Nathan - that helps and I don't feel so dippy now :) I think I would have liked at least a hint at the context - but that is just my preference. Still, an interesting flash-fiction.

    • Posted 6 years ago
  • Nathan Ramsden said...

    Well, it's the first time I've written something this short that I'm happy with! I've decided to do one a week, see if I can get used to the form. I don't normally qualify for these low word counts... take some getting used to.

    • Posted 6 years ago