It’s time to announce the Cursed Love Flash Fiction Writing Contest results.
Congratulations #2 Love Bugs by M. Lopes da Silva!
By: M. Lopes da Silva
“I love you,” she said.
It was so sudden. They’d only met the other day, but now the cold shock of her feelings was thrown upon him and he dripped in it, prickling.
Eve shrugged. “It’s O.K. if you don’t love me back, but I had to let you know. I only have a week.”
“A week in town? Are you going somewhere?” Colin blinked, thinking about her – what he knew about her – all the scant details. She liked insects; they’d admired a praying mantis together once. Her endearing smile.
“No. Do you want to get a coffee and discuss this?”
Colin wasn’t sure, but his heart was racing.
Colin had never fallen in love before. He’d gotten close to it a couple times, but his feelings had never grown very intense, and when someone had wanted to move on, he’d never stopped them. Colin was still friends with a lot of his past partners.
But Eve – he thought maybe he could fall in love with Eve.
Eve’s resin ring was designed to resemble a ladybug. She wore a massive peach flower barrette, with a glittering black spider at its center. Her fingers fidgeted nervously at the edges of her coffee cup.
He smiled. “It’s O.K. – we have plenty of time. I like you, I do, you just took me by surprise.”
But she shook her head, “No, we only have seven days. It’s a family curse.”
And she explained about the curse; her grandfather’s carelessness with the heart of a beautiful witch. The long-dead patriarch had left her not long after promising eternity, so the witch gave him something truly eternal – a curse upon his whole bloodline. Each family member was condemned to love for no longer than a week. At the end of the seventh day, the love was undone, and only memories remained.
Colin listened, thinking that she was trouble – already outfitted with an escape plan. He asked: “How do you break the curse?”
Eve blinked, then laughed. “If I knew that, I’d have broken it a long time ago. So, are you interested?”
Afraid of the end already in sight, he still said yes.
Monday was full of conversation and questions, the gentle, giggling poke and prod of introduction. Colin was an intern at the gallery showing Eve’s latest work, a series of paintings that juxtaposed insectile elements with odd, flat abstraction. His favorite of hers was a painting of a solitary fly wing in the center of a red-rimmed square, surrounded by a kind of lacy red pattern against pale grey.
Their day ended with the lightest of touches, willingly given but spare.
Tuesday, Colin didn’t see Eve until that evening, but the hours were filled with their prattling texts. They discussed nothing and anything immediately before them. There was even some flirting, and an exchange of naughty pictures, which Colin promptly deleted after burning into his memory. He was relieved that she didn’t mention the curse anymore.
Wednesday the texts grew more insistent, more carnal, until both moments with words and without words were heavy with longing. That evening pure lust threw them into each other’s arms. Physical contact seemed only to temporarily abate their mutual hunger, and yet simultaneously fuel the desire for further physical contact.
On Thursday Colin called in sick for work, and kept pleasantly distracting Eve from her email and easels.
On Friday they got in a fight.
It wasn’t even over anything important – the smallest thing – but then Colin said: “You’re just trying to sabotage this! You’re trying to make the curse happen!”
And it was like he’d broken something precious, unfixable no matter how late he stayed up, sobbing, holding onto the jagged pieces.
On Saturday Eve was distant. She texted on her phone a lot.
She looked at him.
“I love you. Even if you don’t love me after tomorrow.”
Sunday ended with the lightest of touches, willingly given but spare. Her eyes asked a question Colin answered without hesitation.
“I’d still say yes.”
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