I’ve been following “The Novelist” on Facebook and noticed they had this thing called a “flash fiction” contest, where they offered you a photo, and you had to write 500 words on it. So I entered. And I won! Now I can quit my day job and tell all my clients to… I’m sorry, what’s that? There is no actual prize? Just the pride of saying you were the winner? Oh. Heh. Nevermind.
The Challenge: Write 500 words about this picture.
Julie thanked the housekeeper and stepped into the hotel room, dragging the large luggage bag behind her. Once in, she got right to work.
Unzipping the bag, Julie tugged on a box of dry ice, pulling it and a small plastic tarp from the tightly packed case. She unfurled the tarp, placing it on the floor on the far side of the bed. Shaking the dry ice on top of the plastic mat, she used the pen from the hotel desk to spread the ice, keeping it from burning her fingers.
Julie went to the bathroom and filled one of the hotel glasses with water. She placed the water on the far edge of the bed.
The leggy brunette returned to her open luggage and dragged from it string after string of white Christmas lights in various sizes and shapes. Gathering a small zip-lock bag of hardware, she stood on the bed and screwed small white hooks into the ceiling, hanging a few choice lights from them. Two thin cords of spaced lights soon dangled just above the bed, and after stepping back to survey her progress, Julie deemed them sufficient. Interconnecting the other strings of lights by their plugs, she spread the rest across the bed in an artful mess.
Julie slipped back into the hallway. Holding the door open with her foot, she grabbed the long, low bench she’d left there. Julie looked up and down the hall, finding no one. She sighed with relief. There was still time.
Back in the room, Julie put the bench in the center of the bed. From the nearly empty bag, she plucked several sheets of diaphanous fabric and removed her shoes, jeans, top and undergarments. Naked, she hid her clothes in the closet.
Julie turned off the room lights and waited a moment for her eyes to adjust to the dark. Plugging in the Christmas lights, the room came alive with a twinkling glow. She smiled. The effect was even more magical than she had imagined.
Thin fabric draped over her arm, Julie lay lengthwise on the small bench, the wood cold on her bare back. She spent ten minutes carefully draping the netting over her naked form, using it to hide the view of the bench.
Julie heard the sound of the card key being passed through the hotel door. Shaking with nervous anticipation, she leaned aside to pour the glass of water across the dry ice on the floor. A billow of smoke rose from behind the bed, and she quickly struck the most graceful pose she could imagine, her head tilted back, her lithe neck exposed.
Jeff opened the door to his hotel room. His mouth fell agape at the fairy-like form stretched across his bed, seemingly floating in space, lights and smoke surrounding her form, creating a mystical visage of beauty.
“Julie,” Jeff whispered.
The figure on the bed turned her gaze upon him.
“Seriously, Julie, you have GOT to stop stalking me.”
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