i) How quickly time flies on a council estate and I tell you it’s a kind of freedom because you can have a fight and a baby sleeping in a crib in the same scene, or a polar bear and a sinking ship. It can all be both ethereal and real. The heroine grows up pretty. I wish the director would hurry and juxtapose her, in this chilly, crisp, almost scene, with a boa or a fox. Woman, fox, woman, fox. The audience thinks: Aha, woman! Therefore foxy.
ii) The waitress in the diner, burger and fries. Someone has lived this moment before, a million times in this scene and the ketchup has dried at the edge of the table. Can I take your order? Your order is here. She hates being told, a sudden quagmire, she’s nervous in her mini skirt. Close-up of a wolf whistle. Wolf whistle, spot of ketchup, wolf whistle, spot of ketchup. The implication is: He kills her. The blood, the blood of it, the bloodiness of it.
iii) A fairy-tale forest. Mushrooms, leaves, a quizzical silence. A bushy tail the colour of henna, dream, dream, a sort of dream. A bushy tail, a leaf, a bushy tail. There is a house, a grandmother, police. But when she left the house she was a girl, says the grandmother. The mouth of the wood where she lives is pursed and stubborn and silent. Were there any witnesses? ask the police. Question, silence, question, silence.
iv) Over and over in the story the girl was a fox, was a creature, was a colour, was wild, was devious. When the man stroked her she bit his hand, when he tried again, she bit it again. The blood was courageous and the girl was relieved when he walked out pressing his hand to stop the gash of it. The owner of the diner sacks her: Too fierce for my liking.
v) The girl gets home and the grandmother says: The police said you’d gone missing. The grandmother cries and hugs her with relief, her chest rising and falling. With her high cheeks and pointed chin, the white patch under it on her glossy thick fur, the girls looks almost different, the girl looks almost the same.
*The Kuleshov Effect is a film editing effect invented by Soviet filmmaker, Lev Kuleshov. It is a mental phenomenon where the audience derives more meaning from the interaction of two back-to-back shots than from one shot in isolation.
Nora Nadjarian is a poet and writer from Cyprus. She has been commended or placed in numerous competitions, most recently in the Mslexia Poetry Competition 2021 and Live Canon International Poetry Competition 2022. She was chosen to represent Cyprus in the Hay Festival’s Europa28: Visions for the Future in 2020. Her short fiction has appeared, among others, in the National Flash Fiction Day anthology 2020, Reflex Fiction, FRiGG, MoonPark Review, Ellipsis Zine and was selected by Kathy Fish for Wigleaf‘s Top 50 Very Short Fictions of 2022.