Shakespearean Tragedy

Flash Fiction by Susan Cornford

Butterflies jumped through hoops in her stomach. Her velvet bodice expanded and contracted rhythmically with an actor’s breathing routine. Darkness surrounded her. Just ahead, the light would soon blind all.

“Hum, hum, hum,” her mind cleared, and spirit settled. “Not long now.”

Butterflies jumped through hoops in his stomach. His black, hooded parka stretched tight across his overly large chest. Darkness surrounded him, but soon his efforts would light up the world.

“Allah, Allah, Allah,” his mind was now clear, and spirit settled. “Not long now.”

The newsreader’s tone grew funereal, “Tonight, just at the curtain lifted in the National Playhouse, a suicide bomber detonated explosives. The building collapsed, killing all. As yet, the audience and cast members are still unaccounted for. Extremists have claimed responsibility, claiming ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was a decadent, Western blight on the country.”

Susan Cornford is a retired public servant, living in Perth, Western Australia. She/her has had pieces published or forthcoming in various publications and anthologies.

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