Lamentation of Icarus–Kitra Skene

As part of our Superhero Week event, we ran a flash fiction contest. The contest guidelines were: submit a story of 1,000 words or less on the subject of superheroes or superpowers. We received seven fantastic entries, and we’d like to share some of them will all of you!

Lamentation of Icarus was the winner of our random drawing, submitted by Kitra Skene. Kitra  is a teacher and aspiring novelist with no present intentions of taking over the world.  When not hopelessly distracted by clouds, she enjoys celery, playing hymns on her ocarina, and watching My Little Pony.  So far, she has never been stung by a bee, but was stung by a hydra in the ninth grade.

Lamentation of Icarus is a superhero re-imagining of a Greek myth, but it carries several more layers of meaning than that. It has the feel of a scene from a larger work, but as a standalone it works perfectly. The world building is excellent, down to the slight dialect in the conversation. The dialogue is clever, and very real. The ending came as a complete surprise.

My only critique for this piece is that it could benefit from some extra proofreading. Given that it was submitted on a tight deadline we’re not going to quibble about that. Read it for yourself!


“What kind of an idiot gets magical wings, and goes off calling himself Icarus?” Leonard sat up from the flowerbed, wiped the sweat from his brow with his mulch-covered arm, and adjusted his hat.

Dominic glanced up from his sketchbook. “The kind with internet access and no patience. Show some respect for the dead, Lenny, even if they do live up to their namesakes.” He sharpened the curves of the winged man’s elbow as he copied down the shape of the memorial statue before him.

Leonard stood and straightened his back. “I’m paid to show ’em respect, Dom. Don’t you like them impatiens with the white stone? Thought I’d do justice to the kid’s memory.”

“You could complain to the management, if you’re dissatisfied.” Dominic focused on scaling the mechanical feathers to the size of the man’s body.

“And tell ’em what? I’m not gonna do my job if they keep spending so much tax money on Darwin Award trophies?” He took off his work gloves and tossed them into his wheelbarrow as he surveyed The Orion Memorial Gallery.

[missing sentence here?]

“Medusa’s lair, if we’re to keep with the Grecian theme, and we have since Orion.” Dom indulged Leonard with a smile.

“’Least Orion had a head on his shoulders. Well, up ’til the end anyway. Thetis and Calchus might make it, but Dom, I’ve done the beds for five of these statues already this year. Three of ’em were students, and none of them were heroes. Heroes used to be people doing their part and being good citizens. Now folks are thinking heroism is going and getting yourself vaporized because you were in over your head. It ain’t right to be teaching kids to be victims in the sky instead of heroes on the street. That’s what really caused that spider bite epidemic after Arachne got the spotlight.”

Dom tisked as he sketched. “You really should talk to the management. Now, if you could move to your right, please.”

Leonard approached the bench. “Aw, I’m not gonna be in your painting?”

Dom gave a dry laugh. “Wouldn’t that be ironic. No, these are architectural scrawlings. However… I could find room if you suffered a tragedy, chose a trendy name, and died a death worthy of channel five. Sound fair? I’ll even let you choose your epitaph.”

Leonard scoffed and collected his tools. “Just put Cerberus at the gate with the inscription ‘I told you so.’”

Dominic laughed again and put away his book and pencil. “Maybe you’re better suited for the villain. You complain more about the heroes, and you have monologuing to an art form. The Greeks would be thrilled!”

“Yeah, yeah.” Leonard turned his wheelbarrow back toward the custodian’s shed. “Good night, Dom.”

“Night, Lenny.” Dominic called as he left.

Boy, he can soliloquize. A voice crackled in Dominic’s ear.

“Excellent timing, Panoptes. What do you have for me?” Dominic’s pupils narrowed into slits and turquoise scales began to creep up his neck.

You’ll like this one, Proteus. We’re still making repairs after the explosion, but the vapor rays are back up and running.

About Master Class

Interested in submitting something of your own in exchange for feedback? We’ve launched a Master Class program intended to help you do just that. Your submission, along with our honest opinion, will be published for you to share with others. While the idea of public critique sounds terrifying, it is often beneficial to see the flaws in others work analysed, and participating in the program helps us provide that.

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