Servitude or death

d’Verse prosery

Maria looked down at her little finger, as Boss Rossi leered at her lithe body and handed her the small, obsidian blade. “So, what’s it going to be, little girl? You wanna live? C’mon… the tip of your pinky is a small price to pay, ain’t it?”

The beaten woman clenched her teeth and took the knife; servitude or death – those were her only options.

Ignoring the blood and pain, Maria swiftly pushed the blade through her finger, cursing her foolish idiocy. Damn it… why couldn’t she have been satisfied with what she’d had?

It sliced away.

Leaving a scar, this permanent reminder, now rendered her Boss Rossi’s property, to do with as he pleased. Losing her finger wasn’t the punishment, per se. Rather, it was the plea bargain. The bloodied knife dropped to the floor as Maria slumped forward and sobbed softly.


d’Verse prosery is flash fiction with a beginning, a middle and an end, in any genre of the author’s choice, no longer than 144 words. This very short piece of prose must include an assigned line from a poem, within the 144 word limit. Writers may change the punctuation of the assigned line, but they may not insert words within the quotation.

The assigned quotation was:

she’d had it sliced away
leaving a scar

–Michael Donaghy, from ‘Liverpool’

58 thoughts on “Servitude or death”

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