The Bereaved Boy’s Manipulation by Elias Blondeau is the winner of the Greenleaf Review Flash Fiction Contest. Our editors were delighted with the deep characterization, ambiguity, and emotion that Elias Blondeau conveyed, all in under 400 words.
The story is published in the October 26th Guilfordian (you can see it here in print; it’s on page 4). The story will also be published in the 2013 issue of the Greenleaf Review. The story is also below:
The Bereaved Boy’s Manipulation
By Elias Blondeau
The papers portrayed me as a bereaved young lover, an object of pity. It made sense. When they found her body, displayed in immaculate condition in the forest, it looked like the work of a serial killer. Somebody who cared enough about killing to make it look pretty. A showoff with a penchant for theatrics.
It would have never crossed their minds that the killer might have made the body look pretty out of compassion. They wouldn’t have begun to think he wanted her to go out with some dignity. The idea of the murderer having an attachment to her wasn’t even discussed.
I wasn’t asked about her emotional issues, her outbursts, her bouts with depression. Nobody cared to ask when she was alive or dead.
They didn’t know Mary had called me out to that forest for a talk that evening. Nobody knew of her love for Shakespearean tragedy and her desire to kill herself along with the one she loved, a la “Romeo and Juliet.”There was no way they could have guessed that an argument ensued as I begged her not to plunge the knife into her throat, telling her we had so much to live for.
I couldn’t have described the terror I felt as I watched the blood drain from her throat, followed by the life draining from her eyes. There she was, a lifeless corpse, covered in blood, spit and tears. I knew she wouldn’t have wanted to go that way. So I spent several hours cleaning her, posing her, dressing her in the red satin dress she wore to prom.
I made her look beautiful, as beautiful as I thought she was when we first met. Instead of turning her into a statistic for teenage suicide, I gave her death some sort of elegance. It was the least I could do for the only girl I ever loved.
To the papers, her death made a great headline. But to me, her death stabbed a final punctuation mark into my life. To the same media that made her death seem dramatic, I was going to go out as a statistic. Just another depressed teenager, probably bullied or failing in school. Another hopeless suicide.
Which is exactly how I wanted it to be.