Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Endless Hour competition

Endless hours indeed - mostly spent carving down to 250 words, but trying to leave enough meat on the bones to make a rounded, readable piece which I eventually submitted late last night.
I find the measly word count a huge discipline for me and I used to avoid 'flash fiction' like the plague. Hardly more than a paragraph, the story can be little more than a snapshot of carefully chosen words.

There are some great entries already and to my delight some very familiar names are entered this time. Thank you to Jason, for once again giving his blog over to this competition which is growing each time he does it.
Go HERE to have a gawp at some wonderful interpretations of a very manky sink!


Anyway, here it is......

Coming Home.

“Another one” I said putting the phone down.
“It will be just another wild goose chase, you know that.” Margaret said.
She found it hard to leave the house these days, preferring to sit by a phone that hardly ever rang, and certainly never rang with the words she wanted to hear.
“Where?” she asked.
Our conversation from here on was an exchange that ran on auto pilot. I left the house a few minutes later to chase the goose.

One crack house is much like another. I sent another prayer thanking God that Margaret had stayed at home. Coming alone was hard but we had long gone past that point where the police are still giving over manpower to a lost cause. As parents you never give up, never.

The smell always hits first. A stench that I doubt will ever leave my memory. One day I may recognise it as the smell of my own despair, but now it only confirms that there is life here – if you can call it that. My hand confirms my only protection, shifting the cricket bat into a ready position as I chase the goose up the stairs, once again.

Like hell on a cold day, I glance at my watch, my fingers never leaving that place on the neck that tells me that hope is being tempted, coaxed into reality.
He is here, the nightmare and the dream, and he’s breathing.
He is coming home.


.

13 comments:

Gorilla Bananas said...

Intially, I thought their child had been turned into a goose, but then I realised that serious writers are masters (and mistresses) of metaphor. I hope this isn't based on personal experience.

mutleythedog said...

You are very silly Mr Bananas - even I know that crack does not do that. To turn into a goose you need radioactive magic mushrooms and a Elvish chant at Mid night in January - on a gibbous moon....

I agree that 250 words is not many - especially when one is used to much more than that in a thoughtless blogpost!!

Cailleach said...

I love this minx, so much squeezed out of every word. I will have a go later on when the house gets quiet. I loved the picture to start with.

Minx said...

Mistress Minx of the Metaphor, hmm. It has a ring, don't you think? And yes GB, this is based on experience, although thankfully not my own. Friends of my parents searched for years for their daughter, in squats all over the country. They were not so lucky. She died in squalor aged 26.

Mutley, you forgot the Helsbane and getting nekkid.
250 words is like being squeezed into a teensy-weensy box. I am not good at restraining myself wordwise and it always feels like some horrific chinese torture. Not sure why I do it really.

Minx said...

Thank you, Cailleach. I thought that I had wrung this particular piece dry but in looking at it again I know that I could polish it up further. I think making every word count in a piece this short is unavoidable - there is nothing to play with.

Verilion said...

But you did good Minx, this is really moving, you've really got your reader emotionally involved. How the hell did you get from a 1000 to this? Amazing.

Minx said...

With a huge pair of shears and a ruthless glint in my eye!

Chop, chop!

The Wandering Author said...

Yes, this is a great story, told in so few words. I know I like to write very short stories like this because it forces me to think about every word, and perhaps that will have some effect on the rest of my writing.

Jan said...

This IS pretty well polished, I think in my 'umble opinion, , whatever you say.
I really felt the narrator's fear. And you certainly use the right vocab, which is 1/2 the battle in the modern short story, I guess..
Chilling.
I love writing shortshort stories..it's really weird but there's a funny kind of freedom IN the brevity...the initial flow, then the gentle stemming, the polishing, as you say. All very contradictory.

Minx said...

Jan, nothing is ever finished, is it? My eye has already spotted a couple things I would change and I would now make a small adjustment to the end.
I only started writing short stories about 18 months ago. They are still not my first love but they are a useful tool. These blog competitions are also a great way of getting your stuff out there and in turn meeting up with writers from around the world. As writing is rather a solitary occupation/hobby it is good to compare ideas and styles.

Atyllah said...

Wow! Brilliant Minx - a very potent piece of writing - and well done to getting that 250 word limit - no mean goose, I mean, feat.

DBA Lehane said...

Yours was the first entry I read when I got pointed to the competition just the other day. I almost gave up at that point, because I thought there's no way I was going to better it. I still don't think I have - but therein lies the beauty of these competitions, they drive you on and stop you from becoming lazy!

Minx said...

Twas a liddle mean skinny goose, Atyllah - thank you for yer lovely words.

DBA - that is very flattering, thank you, but there are some quality entries this time. I am always amazed at the different ideas people come up with just from one picture.