Flash Fiction: Untitled

All my life, I’ve had people tell me that I am a good writer. I’m not publishable, though. I hope to get there. I want to write stories that people choose to read. Part of the reason that I started this blog is to practice writing in a public forum. I aim to post at least a little something every day. Random mutterings, photos from my life, fiction, discussions. The idea of writing something, every day is mentioned in just about every writing textbook there is.

How does one get to Carnegie Hall?
Practice, practice, practice.

How does one get a book completed?
Practice, practice, practice.

It’s all part of the process.

To that end, I will be attempting flash fiction challenges from various places. I find flash fiction – stories of less than a thousand words (and usually far less) – more than a bit difficult. I like slathering on the words, extra butter and pass the nacho cheese. Paring a story down to it’s simplest form is torturous for me. But its a good pain. It forces me to choose my words with a bit more care. Flash fiction is prose’s version of poetry. You must say exactly what you mean.

Also, in my head flash fiction is, well…flash. Quickly written, barely edited. It is what pours out of you on a given subject. I suspect that that is my own bias and not necessarily true. But that is how I wrote the below piece. It actually took longer to choose the challenge than it did to write it.

Chuck Wendig of Terrible Minds puts out a fiction challenge on a very regular basis – so be prepared to see lots of fiction inspired by his insanity.  For this one, I chose something from a past challenge. The due date is long past, but I liked the story seed.

Chuck said:

“Revenge. Powerful topic, innit? To strike back. To give what they got comin’.

To pay a debt that burns deep in the heart like a smoldering coal.

So, that’s what I want you to write about.


Here’s the trick, though — it is such a potent subject, and yet I want you to increase its potency by compressing the story’s density like the aforementioned coal until a sharp and deadly diamond is formed.

You do not have 1000 words.

You only have 100.”


Here are my 100(ish) words:


Carmen shouldered the bag as she left the hospital. As she passed him, she offered a vague smile to the security attendant. She’d read that people remembered a too friendly person far more. At her car, the phone in her pocket buzzed once. A minute later, as she pulled out of the lot, it buzzed once more and fell silent. Her hands clenched and then relaxed on the wheel. Over. It was over. He was dead. Relief slammed up her spine. She stopped on the bridge to look at the dark river. From her hand, the syringe tumbled down. It flashed once in the moonlight and then it was gone.




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