There were three components to this week’s homework for my creative writing class. Three! We were to produce a fifty-five word or less short story, an ending to a published piece and our own short story. Time got the better of me and I wasn’t able to complete the third task but two out of three ain’t bad. I’m happy that I stepped out of my comfort zone and gave it a go!
FIRST TASK: FIFTY-FIVE WORDS OR LESS
The first task was deceptively simple. The example the teacher had us read was a piece by Jeffrey Whitmore called Bedtime Story. With few words, Jeff was able to encapsulate intrigue, sex, deceit, revenge and murder. There was a discernible plot with a beginning and an end. I love twisty endings and this one was quite clever in my opinion!
I found this task challenging in terms of creating a plot and the word limit. I felt my writing bordered on prose poetry. Maybe someone with expertise can enlighten me.
Here are my attempts. I know, I know… I only needed one so why did I do three?! The overachiever in me took hold, that’s why.
“Did you feel that?” he asked.
“Was it an earthquake or a tsunami?” he probed.
“It was an earthquake and a tsunami rolled into one.”
“On the Richter scale…” he began.
“A ten! Off the bloody scales!” she exclaimed.
“Didn’t happen, did it?”
“No,” she admits truthfully. “The Earth did not move.”
SON OF HELL
The marmalade sky battles with inky fingers.
Trees shed their coats.
Charred birds plummet to the ground.
Skeletal animals dance a hot tango.
Acrid smells of ash burn the nostrils.
Skin sizzles and bubbles with hellish fire.
The Son is home.
The warden mutters, “Spawn of the devil this one. Time of death 0300.”
A MOTHER’S MIRACLE
Sweat bathes the body.
Skin bruised and blue.
Sinew split and organs maimed.
Blood gushes through the broken dam.
Wailing screams pierced the air.
A hand is crushed.
The woman braces for pain.
A child is born.
SECOND TASK: CREATE AN ENDING FOR A STORY.
The second task involved coming up with an ending for a short story called ‘A Dip In The Poole‘ by Bill Pronzini. I assumed three things about the story: it was set in America, during early 1900s and it was a noir fiction. Knowing next to nothing of that genre and era, I did some google research in a bid to stay true with common tropes.
MY ALTERNATE ENDING
I bumped into the hotel manager and informed him of the incident with the thief, before heading towards reception to get Mr Stuyvesant’s room number. The victim would surely require his currencies for purchases as credit can only get one so far. I leaned against the cool marble counter as Margaret made a show of leaning forward while reading the log book, giving me a good gander at her bubs. Giving her a cheeky wink, I sauntered over to the elevators, the fat wallet and diamond stickpin secured in my pocket.
As I reached Mr Stuyvesant’s allotted room, I caught sight of the door ajar and felt the hair stand up on the back of my neck. There was an ominous silence hanging in the air, unpalatable and trepidatious. Pushing the door open, I called out, “Mr Stuyvesant? It’s Max from Hotel security. May I come in?”
My eyes scanned the room for anything out of the ordinary. The only anomaly was the two empty tumblers perched on the bedside table. It was upon stepping farther into the room that I noticed the leg protruding from the corner of the bed. It was Mr Stuyvesant, laying face down on the floor, arms and legs sprawled at odd angles, with a bloodied slug to his noggin. His coat pockets were turned inside out.
I had a dead body, recovered stolen wallet and diamond stick pin and an enchanting pickpocket on the loose. My detective mind surmised that there was no such thing as a coincidence.
“I’ve been waiting for you.”
I felt the bean shooter pressed cold and hard against the back of my head. Slowly, I raised my hands up into the air. I recognised that voice, it was the skirt from before.
“I need that wallet,” she said quietly, almost apologetically. “Nothing personal.”
That’s the last thing I remembered before she blackjacks me with her gun and everything went black.
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