A new Flash Fiction challenge at Dude Write is open.
This is my submission.
As always, 500 words maximum.
This month’s prompt:
She ran through the forest, ignoring the scrapes left on her exposed arms by the tree branches, the chilling air that sneaked through her thin dress and under her skin, the pain in her tired legs. She ran to get away as far as she could, to find a place to hide, to be by herself and try to make sense of it all.
How could this have happened? Was she not looking forward to this day? Was this not the most important event in her life so far?
She slowed her pace, trying to rein in the fleeting thoughts that flashed through her head. She recalled the disappointed faces of her family, the shock of her friends, the sight of him standing there without knowing how to react. She recalled the exact moment she felt nervous and weak in her knees, the moment she knew she couldn’t go through with it, the moment she simply said “I cannot do this!” and sprinted out of there without looking back.
She had failed them all. Each and every one of them had expected better of her: her mother, who went shopping with her for the dress; her friends, who prepared together with her and rehearsed this day to make sure it would be just perfect. Most importantly, she had failed him, who stood there ready to say the words, if only she could do the same. She knew this meant as much to him as it meant to her, if not more. Yes, she’d let him down the most.
She let bitter tears stream freely down her face as she sat down on the cold ground.
Maybe it wasn’t too late? Maybe she could still return? She’d tell them all it was just cold feet, that she’d had a moment of panic, that it was nothing. Surely they’d understand?
She knew that the real answer was a lot simpler, yet a lot more painful to admit. In truth, she really wasn’t ready for this. She had only thought she was…
This realization somehow made her calmer, more determined. She got up and started walking further and further away from it all.
Perhaps one day, in the future, she would be ready to take the plunge. One day, she’d have the courage to follow through. One day…but not today.
Today, she would not be coming back.
Today, she would leave them all behind.
Today, her high school drama class would have to find someone else to play Juliet.