I am delighted that my 250 word entry, Clocking In, has won the University of Alabama Birmingham’s SPARK Festival Flash Fiction contest. The contest was sponsored by Bham Now.SPARK Festival is a literary festival run each summer by the university, and features two weeks of the best of Alabama fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. To be included in their ranks is an honor.
This year’s prompt came from the UAB Art Studio Lab Supervisor, Heather Holmes. Heather’s design team at Mesh Collective made the giant steampunk safety glass sculpture installed at Red Mountain Park. In theory, these glasses are large enough for Vulcan himself to wear. The prompt was to write a story based on the these glasses.
A little background first; the 56 foot tall iron statue of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and forge, watches down over the city of Birmingham, Alabama from atop Red Mountain. He is the world’s largest statue made of iron, and one of the United State’s tallest statues of any kind.You can visit the statue of Vulcan and look across the city to the glinting golden statue of Electra on top of the Alabama Power building.
As a fiction author whose books average 115,000 words, writing story 2% of that size was a challenge. Thank you to Halley Cotton, the director of the SPARK Writing Festival, and Angela Mitchell, teacher of the immersive fiction workshop, for you encouragement and support.
by Marina Reznor
Darn kids. Where were his safety glasses?
Vulcan stomped around while The Hound of Hades slept on the floor by the forge, two heads snoring while the other followed his movements with perfunctory interest. The wife insisted he wear the googles in the forge, but it irked his image as the almighty God of Fire. He might as well be using asbestos gloves. She was right, though, and that rankled the worst.
Cecrops had brought the granddaughters over for supper yesterday. Venus loved seeing them, the imps. They’d been playing around the forge, now his glasses had gone missing and he had an order.
Dad had called that morning needing ten lightning bolts in time for Arletta Johnson’s wedding on Saturday at the First Baptist Church of McCalla. Evidently Arletta’s mother’s prayer chain for clement weather had been somewhat lacking, and Dad was pissed. He’d gotten fussy in his old age—it used to be a sacrificed goat and a few dancing vestal virgins would get you clear skies and a dew point in the 40’s.
The granddaughters had taken the dog for a walk in Red Mountain Park after supper, Vulcan remembered. He climbed down and retraced the path they would have taken along the summit and sure enough, there were his spectacles where the girls had dropped them.
He climbed back onto his pedestal as the sun rose over Birmingham, the rays glinting off Electra down in the city.
She winked at Vulcan. Vulcan winked back.