Flash Fiction 1st Place: The Truth About Snowflakes by Louise Mangos
She focuses on the splendid symmetry of a single crystal. Head moving rhythmically, the snowflake appears bigger and smaller, bigger and smaller in front of her face.
She recalls the darkness of the bar, the pounding music and the musky bodies. She was on her way home when she was yanked from the steps to the woodshed and slammed against the rough wooden planks. Now she’s pinned by his body. He tries to kiss her, but she twists her head away from his fetid beery breath.
In the distance the bar door opens. Voices and music flood the night. She opens her mouth to call out, but he presses his hand over her face. The smell of nicotine on his fingers replaces the creosote stink of the shed wall.
She concentrates harder on the microscopic crystal with six fragile arms and a multitude of delicate thorns. She knows this thing of beauty has an infinitesimal flaw at its nucleus, a nanoparticle of dust around which water condensed in the troposphere, before freezing and falling to his shoulder.
Somewhere deep within her she is unaware of nature’s violent survival. The fusion of a miniscule seed of dust burrowing inside a tiny drop of moisture. A snowflake in a storm. The potential for perfect beauty, extending its limbs like icy crystals. Clinging to the warmth in the darkness.
A miracle of creation existing only because of one filthy piece of dirt.