Friday, January 17, 2014

"Cinderella Shoes" by Nicolas Wilson (Flash Fiction)

Genre:  Science Fiction, Fantasy

Type of Short Story:  Flash fiction collection

Summary:  Cinderella Shoes contains 15 short stories, including the titular story.

Stiletto: An exotic dancer struggles to make a living after encountering a murder-in-progress on the job.

Cast: The world is increasingly run by robots, which grow increasingly human.

Analog: An ex-Air Force pilot subsists after a weapon disables all modern technology.

Weakness: Sergeant Ruocco hanged himself.

My Beloved's Eyes: We leave pieces of ourselves with our loved ones- sometimes literally.

Reformatory: A juvenile delinquent and her roommate mature in the aftermath of a devastating assault.

Capricorn: A man wrecks his life and chases fairy tales, while dealing with his young daughter's impending illness.

Behav: Future terrorists recruit a past terrorist.

Death Echoes: A detective communes with the dead to close their unsolved cases.

Traveled Time: A man examines his life and choices, with the advent of time travel.

Genetic Memory: A dog confronts his owner after gaining the ability to speak and reason.

Darling, Wendy, M.A.: A girl saves her brothers from their abusive father by masquerading as a gang leader. From a 2009 series of shorts reexamining classic heroines.

Eponine: Following her near-death in the streets of Paris, a young woman witnesses the birth of feminism and the industrialization of Europe. From a 2009 series of shorts reexamining classic heroines.

Dorothy: Her fantasy was undoubtedly much happier than the reality of her injuries. From a 2009 series of shorts reexamining classic heroines.

Cinderella Shoes: A man discovers a new side of himself after acquiring women's clothing.

Sample story from collection:

"My Beloved's Eyes"

We were in love at a strange time. It was the kind of fad I always laughed at when we were kids, that I teased my brother for falling into. But- I don’t know- I just got caught up in the burgeoning body-mod movement, and it seemed like maybe this was important, that it was changing and updating something in our culture that was stale and even hollow by comparison. I was even the one who talked Laren into it (he’s named for the Nederland town where his mother was born- and I know it’s silly, but his dad rallied to have him named t’ Gooi after the region instead).

For years, DeBeers had held a grip on the diamond industry, and it came out that even its best attempts to eliminate the trade in conflict diamonds weren’t wholly successful, but I think most of us were just using it as a cop out (the way most of us used our politics those days). The surgery started as a medical necessity, but after a few years, it became so safe it became elective and fashionable.

Of course, I made sure he drank a little wine, and I sexed him up real good, then I popped the question: “I think we should exchange eyes.” We’d been engaged for three months already, so it wasn’t completely from left field; he was so sex-comatose he lifted his head from the pillow just enough to smile and look in my eyes and tell me we should.

The ceremony was strange. We had the surgery weeks before, because we wanted the eyes ready when we said our vows. But they weren’t official yet, either, so we each kept an eye patch over our one new eye. I whispered that it made him look like a pirate, and how hot that was, and he pulled me closer to hide how much that, um, amused him.

As the ceremony ended, the priest (I know- his mother would have completely freaked out if it hadn’t been one, but he stayed “off book” the entire time- marriage is compromise), he told us we could remove our patches, and kiss. We did, and looking at each other through a new eye and an old, at a piece of ourselves given away, said, “wow,” and kissed.

But young love has a way of wilting, like flowers as their blooming season comes to a close. He didn’t cheat on me, but when he found himself drifting closer to that eventuality he told me, and told me that if he was looking at other women that way it meant what we both had been afraid of admitting for quite some time by then. And there are days I wished I’d had some argument or excuse or reasons to debate, but I didn’t.

Several years passed by without words between us. I wasn’t even in the same area any longer, but he found me. He was going to remarry, and his wife, or fiancé, I suppose, at that time, didn’t like looking in my eye when she kissed him. It was a wounding reminder to her of his life before they met. He tried to reason with her; my eye had been his now almost as long as his had been, but she wanted him to ask anyway. He asked about me, if there was anyone else, someone I might want to marry someday- who might want to look in both my beautiful sapphire eyes. “Marriage is a young man’s game,” I told him, and he didn’t seem to understand what I meant. But I told him I’d consider it.

I didn’t.

Buy this collection on Amazon.

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