Writer Unboxed runs flash fiction contests. I entered the piece below that was inspired by the visual prompt of a woman in a cape.I am the Dark Maiden, and I live in the forest amongst the great oaks. Animals are my only friends. I have compassion and tenderness for those wounded by the World. I am chaste and I am the avenger. I deliver justice—tempered, when I choose, with mercy. And, when the spell fades, I live in Brooklyn. I am walking at the moment through the snow, three blocks from the coffee shop where I shall meet my agent for the very first time. His name is Julien.
I clutch my contract, newly signed, and I know that I must impress him. It is a fine line, the line between dressing as a writer and dressing as some crazy woman from the inner city. I must impress him with intelligence, wit, evidence of marketability. I must impress him that I have the mystique to match my web presence, that the woman who has written The Dark Maiden, Revenge of the Dark Maiden, and my masterpiece, Darker Still, not only dresses like the Dark Maiden but thinks like the Dark Maiden—can be the Dark Maiden. I cried writing from the beginning to the end of every book of my sad and wonderful and, as yet, unpublished trilogy. ‘Three darks for muster mark!’ I will say to Julien. A literary joke if ever I heard one. I hope he gets it.
He doesn’t have to laugh at my jokes, of course. He has one single, valiant quest: To seek publishers and to find one for me. I am the Dark Maiden and I am, as yet, unpublished.