Today, Neil Gaiman released his twist on Norse myths in Norse Mythology. So, I thought it was fitting to showcase my retelling of a myth, too. Just with Greek mythology. My flash fiction story was inspired by the Greek goddess, Artemis. In the story, however, I used her Roman name, Diana. It was a quick write, which I used to enter into Writer’s Digest‘s “Your Story #79” writing contest. It wasn’t selected for the voting round, but I’m still immensely proud of how quickly I pieced this story together in one day. Happy reading!
Her mother’s crying was slightly audible beneath the murderous clanking and clashing of dishes being washed in the sink. One of her mother’s favorite comedy television shows played in the background as second padding to mask the sobs. Diana tiptoed, fearing she would upset her mother from a secretive distance, to the kitchen, and slightly peered around the kitchen entrance when her mother was not looking. She held her breath so that her mother’s sharp hearing did not catch her. She did not know how to comfort her mother. She barely knew how to cope with the news herself. All she could do was stare at her mother’s back. She contemplated about saying what she heard adults always say, “It’s going to be okay.” But, she could not keep that promise. Her father already betrayed her. Before she could make a decision, her mother started cursing.
“Fuck him! Fuck her!” Her mother smashed a dish in the sink. Then, more cursing continued.
Startled, Diana left her mother to be with her broken heart and broken dishes. She slowly walked backwards toward the living room when in the middle of her trek, she nearly stepped on her dog, Pollo, and awkwardly fell onto the floor. Pollo came to her side, nudging her to play with him.
“Come on, Pollo, let’s watch some nature TV,” Diana solemnly said, as she helped ushered Pollo toward the chaise in front of the larger than life living room window.
Her family lived in a small mountain town, and their home was perfectly situated in the middle of nature’s backyard. She loved to sit with Pollo on the weekends, and watch for the array of animals to dance across her view. She envied their freedom and their less complicated lives. Witnessing her mother’s and father’s sudden separation made her realize she would rather spend a lifetime with animals than fall in love. Adults seemed dishonest regarding their intentions with one another. Animals were at least forthright with their intentions, and more honest than most humans.
She looked at Pollo, who turned to look at her with immense innocence. She clasped him tight as she let out the longest sigh. Within moments, he wriggled free from her deathly love grip, loudly barking. Outside, far yet near enough to clearly see, was a stag. With its pearly black eyes, it looked at Diana for a few seconds, and, surprisingly, slightly bowed its head. With no hesitation, Diana bowed her head with her highest respect. In seconds, the stag vanished. Pollo was still barking, and Diana was still stunned.
“Diana A.P. Theron! Why are you daydreaming again in front of that damn window? I believe you have a school report to finish before Monday,” her mother said, with her fists clenched tight at her sides and her red eyes trying to hold back the tears.
“Yes,” Diana meekly responded, as she did her best not to stare at her mother’s disheveled state.
“Then, get to it. Do not let me repeat myself,” her mother said, as she pointed the way to Diana’s bedroom. She waited for Diana to walk to her bedroom, and forced Pollo stay in the living room. Diana could feel her mother’s eyes imprint on her back as she walked to her bedroom. She did not dare turn around.
Settled at her desk, she stared at her school report assignment: “What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up?” A gut feeling stirred inside of her and, with her finger, she pretended to write the following: “Goddess.”