Tuesday, February 21, 2012

First Campaigner Challenge: THE DECISION


It’s time for Rachel Harries’s First Campaigner Challenge:

According to Rachel, we are supposed to 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, “Shadows crept across the wall”. These five words will be included in the word count. 
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), do one or more of these:

  • end the story with the words: "everything faded." (also included in the word count)
  • include the word "orange" in the story
  • write in the same genre you normally write
  • make your story 200 words exactly!
I accomplished all five and in my very first piece of flash fiction ever!  I hope you enjoy it:
____________

THE DECISION

Shadows crept across the wall, nature’s chronograph of all the hours they’d spent entwined in the sheets, their eyes locked in a desperate tug-of-war.  The shimmering glow of twilight erupted in brilliant hues, saturating every surface in a blaze of blushing coral, flaming orange, and cool lavender.  He ran his thumb over the amethyst shadows beneath her eyes, a testament to the endless span of time they’d been stalling, waiting.
            “Are you ready?” he asked.
            She shook her head and looked away as tears pooled up.  She sighed and turned onto her back, staring up at the ceiling.  He swiped his fingers across the ribbons of sorrow cascading over her temple.
            “This is our chance to all be together again,” he reminded her.  “You still want that, don’t you?”
            Her chin quivered and she sniffled in a ragged breath, but she nodded, almost imperceptibly. 
            “Good,” he said.  “So do I.” 
            He reached over to the nightstand, emptied the bottle of pills into his hand, and grabbed the bottle of water.  They each swallowed half the pills and laid back, their hands clasped, fingers woven tight.
            “See you on the other side,” he said. 
Then the sun disappeared and everything faded.


____________

So, how’d I do?  If you liked it, click here on Rachel’s link and vote for #96.  There are plenty of others who are participating, as well.                

78 comments:

JeffO said...

Excellent job, Nancy. That was really well done. 'Nature's chronograph of all the hours..." I like that. A lot of emotion - love it. Didn't see the ending coming. Great work.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Oh, so sad! I admit I got the feeling they were going to kill themselves. Can anyone vote for campaign entries?

Richard said...

It's a sad tale that is too often true.

Chris Fries said...

It's very well-written, Nancy. I also loved the "nature's chronograph" line. Nice imagery and colorful descriptions.

But I must also confess that I absolutely HATE the ending: To me, there's just nothing romantic at all about suicide. "Oh, boo-hoo, we can't be together so we must kill ourselves," is a pointless, pathetic, self-absorbed, and juvenile attitude. Don't these people have friends and family that care for them? Love is something to live for, not to die for -- if they truly love each other, there's always a way to end up together. Yeah it may be messy, but it's a hell of a lot less messy than killing yourselves.

Sorry, but as the survivor of a family member who committed suicide, maybe I'm taking this on a much-too-personal level. But maybe that's a sign that your writing is powerful enough to elicit that emotional response from me.

Siv Maria said...

Well done, just loved the images you created. Seems we both had a overdose for this challenge...LOL!

Lisa L. Regan said...

Chilling!!!! Wow, that was great. I love how you start out with this really romantic type setting and end with that! Well done!

Jamie McHenry said...

Oh no, the tragedy. Well written.

J. A. Bennett said...

Star-crossed lovers, eh? That's the best kind :)

Jess said...

Oh how sad!! But beautiful, nevertheless! LOVED it!! You have my vote :)

I'm entry #19

Daisy Carter said...

Love 'their eyes locked in a desperate tug-of-war'. Great line. Such a sad ending, but so well written!

David P. King said...

Whoa! Didn't see that one coming. Moving, sad, and very well written. Nice one! :)

Alyssa said...

This was sad! But very well written! Nice job! :) New follower by the way! :)

I'm #37

Angela Orlowski-Peart said...

You got my vote, girlfriend! I love how seamlessly you incorporated all the required elements. The ending is so sad but maybe there could be a continuation of the story about what's "on the other side"?

Nancy Thompson said...

Sorry, Chris. Didn't mean to offend. The point wasn't actually the suicide, but rather the fact that she didn't want to do it, yet he talked her into it. My genre is rather dark.

Shirley Keefer Topeka said...

Ooh..What awaits them on the other side? Now I want to know. Well Done!

wchaser said...

Brilliant contrast between the start and the end, didn't see it coming. Loved it.

Chris Fries said...

Well, I re-read my comment, and I did come on a little strong. I apologize for venting on your blog.

I actually did like your entry (and voted for it). And I generally don't have a problem with dark -- my writing often tends to lean that way. I guess something just struck an emotional chord with me and pissed me off (and the point that she LET him talk her into it? That pisses me off even more! I just wanna slap some sense into her, LOL!!!!).

But like I said -- I think that's a sign of how well you wrote. You were able to stir a strong emotional response in me.

So, no worries.

And sorry again about my little tirade. ;^)

digillette said...

Oh wow, so sad and beautiful and unexpected. You wrote this in such a way as to not load us down with backstory, but gave us enough that we didn't question why they made their decision. Great job!

sue said...

Congrats on your first flash lol - your colours were stunning!! and sad perhaps but so well done.

Lynda R Young said...

Oh my, great job. Love the unexpected twist.

Joylene said...

Holy cow, this is great. You go, girl. Very dark. I love it! Voting...

Nancy Thompson said...

No reason to apologize. I guess I should be flattered that so few words could elicit such a response. Sorry to hear of your loss. I feel the same way about suicide. It's totally selfish.

Ann Cory said...

Deep and somber, but still touching as they die together. Well done!

Liza said...

Oh wow. Amazing take on the prompts. Well done! I'm number 112.

Laurie Buchanan said...

That came out of left field and hit me in the heart!

Laurie Buchanan (entry #92)

Jennifer Hillier said...

CHILLING! Well done! Wow!

Mark Koopmans said...

Good grief woman, I *didn't expect that!!!

Very cool, and shocking... all at once.... well done for bringing out the goose bumps :)

I go vote for #96.... come join me, people!

Komal said...

Wow. That was very unexpected. I loved it so much, I'm voting for you!

Jessica Therrien said...

Great story! Following you now :)

JEFritz said...

Very rich descriptions, which I loved. Up until the last few paragraphs I just thought, oh, it's sad, maybe they're parting. Then WHAM! Tragic. Nicely done.

Andrew said...

Very disturbing. Good job.

Nancy said...

sad but nice writing.

Carrie Butler said...

Ooo, Nancy! You gave me cold chills! :) Voting for you.

Fairview said...

nice job!

Morgan said...

Oh man... I was going to say "spicy" but it turned tragic! Chilling.

Nick Wilford said...

Very sad and very moving. I love your expressive phrasing - "amethyst shadows" and "ribbons of sorrow", wish I could come up with stuff like that.

I'm intrigued about the backstory - who are the "all"? It struck me as a cult thing... I could be totally off on that. Great job, I'll vote too!

Sally said...

A moving and emotive piece whether we agree with their way out of whatever troubles them or not and the question still remains whether it was the right decision for them.
P.S. thanks for your comment on me #91

Stuart Nager said...

Romeo and Juliet for today. Sad.

I'm #58

Megan said...

This is so heart-breaking! By which I mean, nice job! Well done bringing across the emotion and pain they are feeling.

Julie Musil said...

Holy cow, what a twist! I didn't see that coming at all! Awesome job.

Daniel R. Marvello said...

Nice work, Nancy. I've read that the primary goal of fiction is to give your reader an emotional experience. You get two big thumbs up from me! (And obviously from others, according to their comments.)

I'm just lurking this campaign, so I can't vote for you, but I would do so if I could! Going to follow you now...

Beylit said...

Very nicely done

Jodi Su said...

I actually made a sound at the ending when reading this! Who are they joining..oh dear. Great job!

Ashley Nixon said...

WOW. Did not expect that! Very well done!

Colleen Chen said...

Lovely writing...the part with all the colors I loved. Sad ending, but it makes the piece very solid on its own.

alexia said...

Nicely done! Love your descriptions. And shocker of an ending!

C.B. Wentworth said...

Wow - this is a daring piece! Great job! :-)

Sarah Pearson said...

Stupid, stupid girl! Her, not you :-)

Rachel Morgan said...

Hectic! (I wrote an essay similar to this when I was in school, except it was imaginary voices that convinced my character to take a ton of pills, not a real life person.) Tragic that he managed to convince her, even though she didn't want to do it.

Donna K. Weaver said...

With suicide being a companion of mine in relation to loved ones (one successful, three not--thank heavens), I'm not emotionally removed enough to be able to comment on this one.

Melissa said...

Oh, wow. We chose a nearly exact line. How weird is that. LOL I swear I did not read ANY entries before writing and posting mine. I did so on purpose, because I didn't want anyone's words in my head when I wrote. Anyhow, good writing, albeit dark. (...like I can talk. LOL)

Melissa Maygrove
Campaign Entry #149

Carrie-Anne said...

I definitely didn't see the end coming. I thought maybe they were talking about getting back together after a divorce or something. Very powerful story.

I'm #123.

Christy Farmer said...

Wow! You did a great job with this! :-) I'm #61.

bridget said...

Well I need to know who is on the other side. Go on, or go back, something! Mine is #71

mywithershins said...

What a twist! Tragic, but well written. :)

Thanks for dropping by my blog.

Deniz Bevan said...

Aww, that's so sad. But at least they're together!

S.P. Bowers said...

How sad. It's a nice piece, makes me wonder what's happened and who everyone is when he said they could all be together.

Della said...

sweet tragedy! nice work!

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

You did great! Bittersweet with a nice twist.

YelenaC said...

Chilling and sad. Beatufil descriptive language. I'm a new follower.

Empty Nest Insider said...

I can't think of a better word than the overwhelming response of " chilling!" I knew the ending would be sad, but I still was surprised. Best of luck Nancy, and I'm off to vote. Julie

Arlee Bird said...

Not sure what brought on that decision but that would be a tough choice to make. You portrayed it well.


Lee (#126 on the Campaign Challenge List)
An A to Z Co-Host
Tossing It Out
Twitter: @AprilA2Z
#atozchallenge

KSCollier said...

How bittersweet, but I loved the writing. You have a great voice.

PS. You have been tagged. Check out www.kscollier1.blogspot.com for your questions.

Cat said...

If you add an explanation on who they want to meet on the other side (their baby maybe?) it'd be a perfect story.

Patricia Marques said...

Wow, that was definitely sobering. Left me feeling off after I'd read it, considering the subject, I think you did what you set out to do. Nicely done :)

Samantha said...

Your descriptions are fantastic! And that ending...*gasp*

Thank you for stopping by my blog :)

Samantha

nutschell said...

Oh my! what a tough decision to make.

Anstice Potts said...

Wow, the imagery of the opening drew me in but I wasn't expecting the twist of the ending. Fantastic piece.

Traci Kenworth said...

Yes, a tough decision.

Stacey said...

You have a way with words, especially so few words! This is a very powerful and emotional flash.

RaeAnn said...

Totally unexpected! Great job!

The Golden Eagle said...

Wow. That was a striking, unexpected ending!

Amber Clites said...

I love your first line, "Shadows crept across the wall, nature’s chronograph of all the hours they’d spent entwined in the sheets, their eyes locked in a desperate tug-of-war." Beautiful writing. Great job!

The Desert Rocks said...

Hey Nancy, how have you been? Great story, but now I'm sad. Have a fabulous day!

Medeia Sharif said...

This was amazing, with a sad twist at the end. Great job, Nancy.

Nicole Pyles said...

It must be my own genre that I am putting into the story, but I didn't think AT ALL they were killing themselves. I took a fantasy twist to it and thought that the "other side" could mean another world they were entering into. I love the imagery in this and I can just see this happening and that is so important to me!

M Pax said...

That was fantastic, Nancy. You made me want to cry. I loved the imagery you painted.

C.M.Brown said...

Deep story, very moving!