Thank you to those who entered our very first flash in a flash contest on the Ides of March. The challenge was to write a flash fiction piece and submit it within 24 hours. The prompt was to find a work of art that could be interpreted as an omen, and create a story under 1000 words on that theme.
I was once again bowled over by the imagination and creativity that I read while going through the entries. The Ekphrastic Review has been privileged to read and publish an array of outstanding talent, from emerging writers and world renowned authors alike. The contest generated many inventive and beautifully told stories. Truth be told, I enjoyed every single entry and it was extremely difficult to choose.
Please join me in welcoming Nicole Ravas to the pages of The Ekphrastic Review, and in congratulating her on the winning story. She is our first Flash in a Flash contest winner, and takes home $100. Bravo, Nicole!
Without further adieu, Nicole's story.
The angel peers down at the moving river below. He can barely see the rippling surface through the fog, thick as the loss of memory. A sudden breeze lifts the edge of a wing. This is his chance. His feat is impossible. He can no longer see the outline under the surface. It’s been too long, and the distance is too far.
He’d had a dream; a lion told him he could redeem his soul if he saved just one human. A life for a life.
Was it true? How would a lion know? he asked himself, brushing away the vision. He strained to see anything in the shadowed water.
He had flung himself into this river centuries ago. He’d asked to fall to Earth, to save the one he loved, a woman with flowing dark hair, and a lush smile, a body languishing on a bed. His wish was granted; he gained feet and flesh. Sitting next to her ancient bed, the air sulphuric, watching her pull in a last ragged breath that barely exhaled, left a pain so sharp that eternity lost meaning. He ran shoeless to this bridge, barely breathing, and plunged. He could have raised himself to the surface, fought for air, but he needed to feel unsalvageable.
Damned to these black wings. Caught between worlds. The man below could be a way back. But he was too hard to see, the risk of a fall too great.
The angel watched souls rising and falling every day, like mirrored rains.
Was the man below still looking up? What did he see? Demise foretold. Not solace, not peace. Afraid, much as the angel once was.
He remembered the pain of losing her, the agonizing last night. But her appearance now was blurry. He couldn’t remember—were her eyes brown or green? Her face oval or round?
The loss remained. The feeling of stark emptiness, that something once there was now gone. A hollowed vessel with no recognizable shape to fill it.
He looks up. What is it really that he will gain?
He looks down at his reflection, a raven shadow, his only companion in this separate life. It’s a reminder of his soul, his return to the heavens, just out of reach.
The moment teeters on irredeemable. He remembers her face now, a near perfect oval, eyes deep set and probing. She watches him now. Humans aren’t meant to outlast their mortal vessels, he thinks. The image under the water turns away, resigned to its fate.
Nicole Ravas has a BA in English from Marymount University and an MA in Interdisciplinary Education from Santa Clara University. Originally from the Washington, D.C. area, she lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, her son, and their two dogs. She is an executive assistant and adjunct instructor at Carlow University, where she received her MFA in Creative Writing with a fiction concentration in December 2020. Prior to working at Carlow, she was a K-12 English teacher for 13 years. She is a fiction reader for the Northern Appalachia Review. In her free time, she is a freelance editor, board game player, and cheesy joke teller.