Map Making

A few weeks ago I wrote a short story. My friend sent me a link to a short story contest. At first I disregarded her email. I am not a creative writer. The contest called for a short story in 100 words or less. If you have never done that before, this kind of economy of words is extremely difficult. I was bored one evening and played around with the idea. It didn’t work, so I decided to just forget it. Then a few days later an image I play with often came to me in a different way, and I wrote it down. In its entirety it was well over 100 words, but I liked the idea so I started editing it down. I sent it in. I didn’t post it here because the contest strictly prohibited it. The contest just closed. The winners haven’t been announced, but I have absolutely no doubt that I didn’t win, so I see no reason not to post it now.

Instead of a short story I wrote a vignette. In exactly a hundred words, an image.

My index finger like a compass guides my hands, mapping his anatomy from memory as I rebuild it in my head, each night outlining a perfect form, retracing it until I have no prints left.
 
Compass points of teeth and nails, pinching skin, feverishly taunting unforgotten topography. The slight valley of his throat, descending latitude into his collar bone of smooth slate. A warm contour line of shoulders, ascending for soft alidades to trace.

 

An indelible snapshot of surface area prompting me to write him in the predawn hours. Then wash away the legend with tears and continue my cartography.
 
I titled it “True North.”
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