Flash Fiction Challenge: Five Random Words

From Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds

I have chosen ten random words.

Your goal: to choose five of these and incorporate them into a single piece of flash fiction.

The words:

Whalebone

Foxglove

Djinn

Orphan

Lollipop

Casket

Hermit

Hound

Acid

Topaz

There’s your list.

Choose five.

Write 1000-word short story.

Post at your blog or online space.

Give us a link to the story in the comments below.

Any genre will do.

Due by April 4th, noon, EST.

*********

“Goodnight dear,” I push his red hair away from his forehead and gently kiss him. I tuck his favorite hound dog stuffed animal under his little arms.

“Mommy, can I have a story?”

“Of course. What would you like to hear a story about?”

“Ummm….” the four-year-old thought process begins, “A lion, a superhero, a crab, a racecar, a firefighter, a flower, and a dragon….. Oh, and a butterfly, and a blade of grass.”  He digs deeper under the covers and smiles smugly, beat that! His big eyes glow and watch me with intensity.

“Well, okay then,” my mind races. What happened to the stories with one character? This is BS!  The room was lit only by the baseball nightlight in the corner. Silence hung all around us. I took a deep breath, and then my voice started quiet and low… 

Once upon a time, there was a GREAT, BIG LION…. ROAR…. who loved to run in the meadows with the beautiful butterflies and flowers. The lion was very hungry with nothing to eat, so he started eating the flowers.

“Why would the lion eat flowers mommy?”

“It’s my story honey. He can eat whatever he wants…”

But the flowers were foxgloves and were very poisonous. The lion became very sick.

 “What kind of flower is a foxglove mommy?”

“It’s some sort of poisonous flower honey. I had to google it. Shhh… this is my story…”

The lion became so sick that he went and lay down in a casket saying his last prayers. BUT THEN, the superhero and the firefighter came to help the lion! The superhero was a rich business man who grew up as an orphan, but went to medical school at the age of 13. So, the firefighter resuscitated the lion and the superhero gave him a lollipop with a magical medicine that made him better….. or, so they thought!

 “Mommy, why do I have to take yucky cough medicine when I’m sick and the lion gets a lollipop?”

“Because only rich, business men who go to med school have those kinds of powers. We don’t have friends like that honey. Shhh…. Mommy’s story.” I gently pat his back.

 A humongous dragon with bright red wings flew above them and dropped a magical hermit crab. The old hermit crab was the wisest crab in the whole world and when he spoke all the earth would listen…. even little 4 year old boys…. can you hear the wisest crab?

 I cup my ear and pretend to listen. My son’s hand slowly does the same. His eyes wander around the room. He concentrates hard to listen. “I don’t hear anything mommy….”

“Shhhh…. listen closely…”

 The wise hermit crab spoke, “The lion is still very sick. He will need to go to sleep until 7:30 in the morning…. but the only way the lion will sleep is if all the 4 year old little boys will sleep with him.”

 “Did you hear that honey? You are four… you will have to sleep in order to save the lion! Can you do that?”

“Yyyy…es mommy. I can.” the look of concern for the lion was deep.

 Then, the wisest hermit crab levitated himself into a racecar and drove off into the night!

And everyone lived happily ever after. The End 

 My smile grows as if I had just spoken the greatest story ever told. Nailed that! “Now go to sleep. I love you.”

“Wait mommy. You forgot the blade of grass?”

I resist rolling my eyes and I paste a smile on my face. I take an even deeper breath…. I begin again…

 And the wisest hermit crab comes back and obliterates the world with a silent whisper and the only thing that remains is a single blade of grass.

 “Goodnight sweetie. I love you.” I kiss his forehead one last time.

 

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Flash Fiction Challenges: Ten Little Chapters

This week’s challenge is simple in description, but perhaps complex in execution.

It is about pacing and arrangement.

A piece of flash fiction is usually treated in a certain way — it’s short, so it uses the brevity of the form to often capture a snapshot in time.

We’re going to open that up a little bit.

You still have 1000 words.

But you’re going to break that up into 10 chapters.

Now, ostensibly that works out to about 100 words per chapter, though variation on that is fine. However you see fit to make it work. The goal here is to maintain brevity but increase scope. Can you tell a larger story in a smaller space? Does breaking it up make that easier — or harder?

Otherwise, standard rules apply.

Any genre will do.

Post at your blog, then drop a link in the comments here to that blog.

Due by next Friday, March 28th, noon EST.

1000 words, split into ten chapters. Now write it.

 

Chapter 1- The End

I heard the last words spoken to me “Thank you.” I saw my nurse. The next sounds I heard will echo with me forever- a bird, a baby’s cry, a crack of glass, and then the explosion. Silence. Darkness. Pain. My fingers trailed up my arm only to be met with warm blood. I tried to scoop it with my hand, to hold it, to keep it, to remember it. My breath became shallow. I tried to curl my body into a fetal position but something was restricting my legs- something heavy. This wasn’t my fault. He told me to do it. It is what I read. I felt guilt.

Chapter 2- The Beginning

Mom threw a plate against the wall. It shattered. My dad was yelling “It’s not her fault! Don’t blame her for this! It was an accident!” I sat on the bottom of the stairs listening. My mom still loves me- I tell myself quietly. I see the face of my little brother as he falls off the cliff- he just wanted the flower- I kept telling him it was too dangerous.

“She pushed him! She hated him!” why was my mom so angry with me.

I was six.

The next day I was sent to a new school.

Chapter 3

Crack. The ruler hit me hard across the knuckles. “You may not draw those pictures anymore” the nun scolded me. I only drew what was in my head. Why were these pictures in my head? Where did they come from? From the man? He left me notes. Everyday a new note. I would draw what I read. The nuns hated me. One tried to help me but she left. The other nuns told me I scared her away. I don’t understand.

I am alone.

I am eight.

Chapter 4

We are running faster than ever. I have friend. His name is Seth. Farther and farther away we flee with unbounded joy. He tells me he loves me. He rescues me from school. We lay in the leaves. He touches me and I don’t stop him. We fall asleep. The man hands me a note.  I awake and Seth is dead. He loved me.

I cry.

I am nine.

Chapter 5

I found a house. It was red. I called it home. I have a dog. I have new friends. I am happy here. The grass is green and I can play. The man still comes to me but he just sits quietly, he must like it here too. My new friends have a new friend. His name is Peter. He is older. He calls me beautiful. Tells me he loves me. He touches me and I do not stop him. We fall asleep. The man hands me a note. I look back the house is on fire. I don’t understand.

I walk away.

I am ten.

Chapter 6

The walls are white here. Everything is white. They say they are here to help. They have needles. I breathe in and the needles feel good. The needles take me to another place. The man is gone. I do not see him here. Where did he go? He was the only constant.

I like it here. I feel safe. I feel warm.

I have a nurse. His name is Walter. He gives me the injections. He is nice. He touches me and I do not want him too. No…. The man comes back. He is bigger than I remember. He looks mad. He hands me a note.

I am scared. 

I am twelve.

Chapter 7

I am free. Who is this woman? She has come to take me. She is with the state. She takes me to a new place. I do not like it. I leave. I am on the street. I meet a man. He gives me a job. A lot of people touch me. I do not care. I do not feel. They pay him. They do not hurt me. I have new needles. I control the needles. I learn to love the needles.

I feel nothing. 

I am thirteen.

Chapter 8

I am happy. I have friends. I have the needles. The man comes to see me. He is patient. He only sits and waits with me. I meet a teacher who teaches me. He teaches me about explosives. I learn enough. I ask him for supplies. I make something. It’s made of glass. It is beautiful.  I wrap a present. It feels good to put a bow on it.

It is my birthday.

I am fourteen.

Chapter 9

I see the house. It is white with a green roof. I knock on the door. She is pretty. She has a baby in her arms. The baby is beautiful. I ask her if this is Walter’s house. She said yes. I told her he used to take care of me and I brought this gift. She said the present was beautiful. She said “Thank you.”

I went to the side of the house. I waited. I saw a bird’s nest in the tree. I was sad. The man came. He sat with me. He comforted me.

Chapter 10

Now I sit here alone. I don’t know where I am. I think I am alone. I can’t tell. The air is cool but I feel the sun warm on my cheeks. I cannot hear. I cannot see. I imagine green grass and beautiful flowers. I feel his breath. I see him kneel before me. I thought he was gone. I feel comforted by his presence. For the first time he touches my face. I can hear. I can see. I feel different. More alive.

In the distance I see a girl. She is hurting inside. The man tells me to go to her. I write her a note. I write the same thing the man first wrote me. “Draw your feelings.”

I am an angel.