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Still Life

Polished, white teeth reflected the flash like tiny mirrors. Miss Verna fixated on the impartial black lens facing her. She had labored for hours on perfecting the glow of her rouge-covered cheeks; all aspects of her appearance had been carefully considered.
"Four minutes."
The words seared her skin. "Just a few more," she whispered. Verna changed poses and looked to the photographer. "Should I try for confident or whimsical?"
"Three minutes."
"Oh quiet, you," she responded with a laugh. "You know, I used to dress like this every day. When I was young--"
"Two minutes."
"Reginald and I would hold these fantastic banquets. Imagine nearly a hundred socialites all in this very room, eating hors-d'oeuvres and making polite conversation..."
"One minute."
"...and in the center of it all, I stood in my evening gown. Truth be told, the world was very different then. People were well mannered. People used to call me beautiful."
"Last photograph."
Miss Verna managed to smile before collapsing to the floor in another flash of light. Incredible, she thought, how accurate doctors are in this day and age....
"Excellent portrait," screeched the silver box behind the camera. "You will be well-remembered."
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, April 21st, 2016
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