It starts here. A hairline crack, a heave, a bursting open. Peeping fanfare and a sudden crown. New life hatching in the palm of your hand. Fragile. Miraculous. Possible. A puff of gold.
Maybe it began before. An upturned basket, smash of yolk over flagstones, a fist. Another door walked into. Practised make-up covering a sunset face. A brittle mask hardening.
Perhaps as long ago as this. The shiny ring too tight, the arm too close around your waist, the hissed instruction. ‘Smile’. That shiver of doubt icing your spine. That starched white eggshell of a dress.
Sharon Telfer has won the Reflex and Bath Flash Fiction prizes. Two of her stories were selected for the 2019 BIFFY50 list. She lives near York and was the New Writing North/Word Factory Northern Short Story Apprentice in 2018. She is an editor at @flashbackfic and tweets @sharontelfer.
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