Thursday, October 3, 2013

Ready for Creepy Flash Fiction?

A couple of months ago an agent posted the following writing prompt: Construct a hundred-word story featuring the words hammer, full, claw, coop, back, and ratchet.

I considered passing. But I was at an impasse on my current story, dribbling words on the page at a frighteningly slow pace. The problem was I dreaded putting my hero through the hell I'd set up for him. He's a really good guy. In real life I'd hope he'd find peace and serenity and fulfillment and live happily ever after.

But in the story I've torn away everything he loves and forced him to confront his deepest fears. And that's tough to do to a person you genuinely like.

So I decided to jump in on the writing prompt. As an exercise, I challenged myself to spare my character no pain. Here's the result:

“Close your eyes, Evie,” the angel says. “I’m here.”

I turn my head. Blink away dripping blood. He’s dazzling, familiar. Blond hair. Dimples. Green eyes shining with love and untold jokes.

The haze clears and I’m on my back, alone. Moths dash against the fly-spotted bulb in our chicken coop.


My mouth is full of cloth. I gag. Ratchet a breath.

In the doorway, a human monster. Blond hair trails from the claw of his hammer like blood-soaked algae.

“I’m here, babe.” The angel’s breath is like cool water on my cheek.

The hammer lifts, and I close my eyes.

The exercise was fun (and damned hard, let me tell you. A hundred words...sheesh) and the piece received an honorable mention out of about sixty entries. But I'm not sure I met my challenge; even though I killed my character I still couldn't leave her without comfort.

Maybe I should write about people I don't like.

Cheers...and Happy Writing!



  1. I like it. It reminds me of haiku where few words stimulate the most vivid images.

  2. Glad you found it effective. It was strangely freeing to eliminate all but the most essential components.


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