Monday, 5 September 2011

First Campaigner Challenge!


Yes, I surely am! And it's time for the First Campaigner Challenge. Dude, sometimes it's not easy saying 'campaign' instead of 'crusade', but I'm doing my best to get used to it! Anyway, the challenge involves the following:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count)

For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!


Now, before anyone leaps upon my post accusing me of being a liar, my story is precisely 200 words...in Scrivener. I don't know what it is in your word processor, but I have no doubt at all it's either over or under 200 words. But I SWEAR to you that Scrivener tells me 200. So, without further ado, here's my little ditty, all glorious 200 words (and by glorious I mean forced and unpolished and all that stuff, yeah):


The door swung open and Elsie staggered through, crystal glass flying from her hand. Bennett's heart stuttered then swelled. Elsie hit the ground seconds before her glass. The crystal came apart as if in slow motion, glittering shards spraying out. Mother and father care more about the family crystal than they do a human life, he thought. But now wasn't the time for bitterness.

It was time for Elsie.

She was all he cared about. And she was here, alive. With him.

"Elsie! Oh God, I thought— I thought they'd…"

Bennett trailed off, staring at her still form. She hadn't stirred since landing, and she lay so still. Too still. Fighting back fear, he sank to his knees beside her and reached out a hand, scared but compelled to touch her. "Elsie?" He gripped her shoulder and shook her, first lightly, then harder. "Elsie?"

Then he saw the dark tide of crimson pooling beneath her, and he knew. They'd got to her after all.

"Oh, how sweet," came his mother's voice behind him. "You two, together at the end." He looked up into her haggard, bitter face, and knew it really was the end. Behind them, the door swung shut.

66 comments:

  1. Wow, harsh parents. I'm really enjoying the stories for the challenge. Great job!

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  2. Oh my....that is a chilling story. You will have to elaborate. Lots of questions whirling around in my head!!! Great first Challenge Trisha.

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  3. Chilling! I like the mystery to this with the shards of shattered crystal.

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  4. Great entry! I'm so glad I have the Labor Day holiday to blog hop. I love dark pieces and this one was wonderful.

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  5. Thanks everyone! I'm looking forward to seeing others' posts, but will have to wait till I've slept for 8 or so hours. hehe

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  6. Dark and delish....congrats on using all the challenge elements! ~ Nadja

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  7. Wow. (I'm having a hard time saying "campaign" and not "crusade", too!)

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  8. Creepy. So many questions, but that's the beauty of flash fiction isn't it? Just enough words to intrigue.

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  9. I'm confused, but in a good way. I want to know what's going on, and who these people are and why they're behaving this way. Nice job.

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  10. You did a great job with your flash story, quite the teaser. It introduced the characters, set up conflict and left the reader wanting more. Thanks for sharing!

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  11. Oh, I love the line about the crystal coming apart in slow motion!

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  12. This is very disturbing. It feels like part of a much longer work.

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  13. His mom killed his woman??? Dang, that's harsh. Great job!

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  14. You nailed this challenge. I'm left with lots of questions whirling around in my mind and hope you'll elaborate on this piece.

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  15. Super! I think the line "Mother and father care more about the family crystal than they do a human life" made me care about what was happening in the story. It intrigued me. Sarah xx

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  16. Oh that was good! I want to know the rest of the story! (Fellow campaigner here!)

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  17. ha, nice and creepy. Great job :)

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  18. Wow, some parents! Good job of portraying tension! First I thought she was okay, and then....way to jerk us around, Trisha!

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  19. Thanks everyone. Flash fiction is really interesting in that each word choice is so important! Actually, I think it should give us lessons on how to write larger works too. ;)

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  20. Wow Trisha! This is a brutal but beautiful piece! I love the imagery you evoke with 'glittering shards spraying out' and 'dark tide of crimson pooling beneath her'. Very well done.

    I agree with you about learning to make each word count in our writing. Also, how do you like Scrivener? I've thought about getting it but never have. :)

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  21. Sheery - Scrivener is awesome! Sure as hell beat paying $200 or so for Office for Mac. Yes, I have the Mac version of Scrivener on my laptop. I really do recommend it, not just 'cause it's cheaper but 'cause it gives me all I need and more. Okay, so Office has way more to it, i.e. spreadsheets etc., but as word processors go I'd recommend Scrivener for sure. It does take getting used to though... And I have no doubt I still haven't figured out most of what I could do with it.

    Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  22. The ending was fantastic! Chilling and tense. The mood was well set in only 200 words.

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  23. You know if you can over come horrible parents, you love was meant to be. Loved it Trisha :) I "liked" it even before I read it :)

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  24. @Christine - thank you! Glad you enjoyed it.

    @Angie - I totally agree! I haven't yet decided if these two will overcome his parents or not.

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  25. Omigod, this needs to be a vignette in Psycho Parents 101. Great job!

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  26. Wow, very tense and well written. I pictured everything, and I especially love the crystal shattering in slow motion.

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  27. That gives a whole new meaning to the term dysfuntional family! I'm #72

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  28. @Julie - I guess it could be a 'part' of something greater. Just not where where it would start or end. hehe

    @Cortney - thank you! Glad you enjoyed the read.

    @Bridget - they're certainly dysfunctional. Makes my family look like the Brady Bunch! Then again my family's pretty cool...

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  29. Very chilling stuff! Loved it!

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  30. OMG...that mother is psycho! (Great job! :-) )

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  31. Hi Trisha -- enjoyed this one a lot. Well done.

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  32. Chilling. Makes one wonder what was behind it all, and what happens next.

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  33. Very fun. Got a little confused in the first paragraph with the he/she's but really fantastic and gripping.

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  34. Ooh, I love the intrigue here. Nicely done!

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  35. Okay, wow creepy! Totally interesting. I'd read more for sure!

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  36. Wow. Bennett's mom is positively Susanic. Awesome story!
    -Michael

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  37. Dark and sadistic. Fantastic stuff, Trisha! :)

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  38. Wonderful job. Great tension and oh so creepy.

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  39. Very disturbing ... great write Trish !
    You can find my meagre offerings at no.#59

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  40. I had to re-read it (very sleepy right now); I have to say, it's a great, disturbing, chilling story, I want to know what happens next. -I'm a fellow campaigner (contemp/mainstream), lovely to meet you Trisha.

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  41. This is a fantastic entry. Dark and edgy, but excellent. I would love to know what's going on here. Well done!

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  42. @yikici - I tried to leave comments on your blog but got an error message each time. Sorry!! Thanks for stopping by.

    @everyone else - thank you for stopping by and commenting!

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  43. Intense! And here I thought my family was dysfunctional--clearly I was wrong!

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  44. Wow, who would have thought it was the parents. Great story! Denise

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  45. @Jes - yeah, you ain't seen nothin' till you've seen Bennett's family!

    @Denise - thank you!

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  46. Wow! I wrote about an awful parent too..

    http://www.doreenmcgettigan.com

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  47. I liked the slowly shattering crystal, and even more, his slow realization of what had happened. Good work!

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  48. Ah no, that's so sad. I hope he can live through it and that Elsie's wound can be stoppered soon!
    Loved your Australia post too :-)

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  49. @Doreen - thanks for stopping by. I read yours!

    @Paula - thank you!

    @Deniz - I like your use of the word 'stoppered' there, for some reason. hehe. Thanks!

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  50. Wow! You really piqued my interest there. I take it from of your follow-up comments that this is part of a larger story?

    Great job!

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  51. Hi Scott - nope, it's technically a stand-alone piece right now. It has potential to have more around it I guess, but I don't know that it ever will. ;)

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  52. I totally agree with Michael. You should so name the mother Susan!

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  53. "dark tide of crimson," chilling image!

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  54. @Brooke - she certainly deserves the name of other evil Susans out there. But she doesn't strike me as a Susan. She needs to be something snobbier than Susan I think.

    @Candy - thanks for commenting. :)

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  55. I almost couldn't breathe as I read, why would the parents be so evil? Great writing, Trisha.

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  56. Everyone's so morbid for this challenge! I kinda like it... :) Great job!

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  57. Nice- it was really good. Especially that last dialogue line.

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  58. wow, Trisha i loved this! My heart was pounding, you have done such a fantastic job in 200 words! awesome

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  59. Questions and emotions twirling about my head right now! I'm left wanting more. :) Great job!

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  60. Yeah, definitely want more...so many questions! Great story :) Thanks for visiting my blog.

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  61. So much action and drama in 200 words. Wonderfully executed. I especially love the line about the crystal shattering.

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  62. Wow, I am so happy my mother in law is kinda awesome. I like that it's possible to feel what he feels when you read this piece.

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  63. Thanks everyone, glad you enjoyed the read. :)

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  64. The story and the tension grew through the piece. A disturbing idea - truly bad parenting.

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  65. Thanks for commenting, Elaine! :)

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Thanks for your words, me hearties! and don't forget to leave a link to your blog somewhere I can find it!