April's competition was inspired by this African mask (rather like the ones I have on my walls at home!). You can read my story on Michael's site - and yes, I won!
I took the idea from the background to these masks. Various African tribes use them in funerals and they are usually created by special funerary societies that prepare them with great care and wear them in the funeral celebrations.
Despite the image we have of these things being 'evil' they always strike me as beautiful. The one Michael chose for the competition looks very feminine: look at the pouting lips, the almond-like eyes, the slim chin and high forehead. I thought, 'What if this was created for a dead woman by the man who loved her, for her funeral?'
The title Bride of Quietness is a nod to John Keats who uses it as a line in Ode on a Grecian Urn. Keats suggests that"beauty is truth, truth beauty" and depicts the urn as a time traveller, divorced from is original context and now passing through history, inspiring anyone who comes across it. A bit like this mask. But within my story, the narrator is creating the mask for his dead bride who, in life, was a teasing, scolding, laughing woman, so she's a 'bride of quietness' now too.
Hope you enjoy the story and Michael's wonderful site.