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Flash fiction: A perfect dress


The perfect dress would be light and feathery, silky to the touch, a shimmering, subtle shade of green or blue to set off her eyes. Freya had searched the usual stores last week without success, so with only a few days until the big event and her sense of desperation growing, she was taking a different tack and hitting the exclusive end of town.

Her mother's scathing words rang in her ears, "No one ever made a silk purse from a sow's ear." But Freya would not give up hope. This was a life-changer, and the right gown was a must, no matter the cost.

This end of town always inspired a sense of wonder with its ubiquitous manicured hedges, brightly painted front doors and finely polished cars. She peered in windows when she felt brave enough, not quite daring to go in, building up the courage. Eventually settling on an impressive heritage facade, she had gulped down her nerves and began her approach when a woman in a tailored suit appeared out of nowhere, "May I help you?" Freya went to reply, to spit out her over-rehearsed speech, but instead she felt her cheeks flush, felt the crushing weight of being so obviously out of place. "Not at the moment thanks," she muttered, dropping her head and walking quickly away, trying to look less awkward than she felt.

A walk through the park helped her to gather her resolve, and shutting out her mother's voice again, she returned. This time she would go in with confidence and find what she wanted.

At the first place, Freya found a whole rack of long evening dresses made from fine material but matronly, made for a much older woman. The second had less on offer but with growing confidence she took her time, browsing through the array of designer suits and all the while slowly inhaling, absorbing the smell of luxury, of newly cut fabric, drawer liners and expensive perfume.

At the third place Freya knew she had found what she was looking for. As soon as she laid eyes on the beautiful gowns she could tell they were just what she had imagined. Intricate detail on shimmery, fine silk that floated over the skin, its immaculate shine slipping through her fingers. Her eyes darted across them, settling quickly on the colour she wanted and when she pulled it out on its fancy wooden hanger her smile broadened. Perfect. "I'll take it," she declared.

Finally, triumphantly, ready to return home, Freya heard an unexpected voice. Instantly alert, she skipped lightly down the hall and manoeuvred with practiced precision out of the kitchen window, still hanging open from where she had come in. Footsteps quickened behind her, "Stop!" a woman called urgently, "Thief!" but Freya was already rounding the distant corner of the block of suburban mansions, long silky wings of perfect teal streaming behind her as she ran.


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