Plotto: The Door that Locks

February 15th, 2012

So… I thought it was about time I posted a little ditty of mine up here. Most of what I’m writing at present is tied up in projects and what-have-you, but this was a quick one off from a weekly contest on the Tin House blog. Didn’t win, but I loved the piece enough to share it!

It’s a flash fiction piece, under 500 words.

Female protagonist finds that the knob and lock on the door of a hotel bedroom are in disrepair; the lock apparently locks itself, and the knob will not turn.

Time. I’m running out of time.

Bolted. Locked. No matter what I do, the door remains firmly stuck and there’s nothing I can do to open it. Believe me, my torn fingernails are a testament to my efforts. So much for the manicure I finally indulged in.

Outside my small prison masquerading as a hotel room, the scent of freesias wafts through the open window on the tropical breeze. In the distance, the soft sound of bird calls reach my ears and somewhere beyond that are the legions of guests who have come to witness this day. Unfortunately for me, those people known as my friends and family are on the far side of the resort and I could scream myself hoarse and no one would come running. On what should be the biggest day of my life, I’m utterly alone and not by choice.

Why hasn’t anyone come for me? Hasn’t anyone noticed I’m missing? Or is everyone so busy that not even the bride’s absence is noted?

My hair is in disarray and I don’t want to think of the three foot rip in my dress — the one that took me six months to save up enough money to even put a down payment on the damn thing. The faux-diamond tiara I coveted is now in pieces, thrown across the room in a fit of anger. Countless bobby pins litter the floor in a semi-circle around the door, bent in every direction when they failed to provide escape. One end of the metal prong that once belonged to the tiara is bent into an unrecognizable shape after being used, with no success, to jimmy the lock.

The fairy tale princess has been transformed back into Cinderella long before her time was set to expire.

My hand is bleeding from pounding on the door, trying to catch the attention of someone who may happen to walk outside my door. I’m still in this cursed room with a blood stain marring the pure white dress. Maybe it’s a good thing no one can see me now. I look like a zombie bride from hell, not the pristine woman everyone expects. I wonder what the guests will think… what Kevin will think. Will he come running for me or will he accept my absence with silent resignation? I don’t bother to wipe the tears from my face as the drip from my chin and onto my dress. It’s already ruined.

And somewhere, in the distance, a clock chimes one.

2 Responses to “Plotto: The Door that Locks”

  1. Melissa says:

    I’m intrigued! First and foremost whether someone has actually locked her in or of it’s merely bad luck that the lock is stuck. Who knows?

    I like the use of sentence fragments at the beginning (not enough people recognise the joys of a well-placed fragment, IMO) and I find your sentence lengths and rhythms snappy and tension-building. Often with punchy, suspenseful pieces there’s a tendency to dissipate the tension with too many run-on and multi-clause sentences, but here you have something clean, guttural, and completely fitting for the tone of the piece.

    Well done!

  2. Carole says:

    I love the pacing of this. It makes a possible innocent happenstance take on a sinister feeling, making me wonder if it was just an accident. But, I want to know more, like why would her family, friends, groom not even look for her. Definitely intrigued.

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