Monday’s Challenge: Write a story around a compelling object in 100 words or less

I had two takers for last week’s challenge, about writing an atmospheric opening in 150 words or less. So I’ll start by talking about them. The first entry is by Chrissie Elmore. My comments are in BLOCK CAPS:

I look down at my hand holding the pen; the skin crinkles with every movement, only taut where the curving blue pencil lines of veins stand proud. (WONDERFUL DESCRIPTION THAT ECHOES THE WRITING INSTRUMENT HE IS HOLDING.) The hand that once she called elegant, the hand that has lain against her cheek; that would have drawn her to my side forever, but came away empty.

I prefer to regard my room; full of the words of greater men than me, their writings wrapped in luscious red, deepest blue, lizard green, titles gleaming in the firelight, warming the soul with the possibility of oblivion within their tooled leather. (ANOTHER WONDERFUL DESCRIPTION). A chair for her is set beside the fire in this, my favourite place. But she is not there, has never been.
And my pen scratches upon the cream parchment with it’s thick black border.

I love the setup with the lover/admirer starting a letter to his beloved, who may or may not exist (But she is not there, has never been) except in his imagination. Wonderful writing by Chrissie Elmore, done in 135 words. I have one question:  Chrissie, are you British? I only ask because of your spelling of “favourite” with a “u”.

Next entry by Jennifer Norris. Again my comments are in BLOCK CAPS:

Light shone under the bedroom door; a closed door, and I did not know if I ever wanted it to open. For not only would the brightness enter my room but he would too and I needed him to stay the other side, to pick up his bag from the hallway and to leave. (SOUNDS SUITABLY SINISTER). If he hesitates, if you believe that his hands are empty do not be deceived for they will always be full. “Busy carrying part of you with me wherever I go,” is what he will say. However, I wish that he would fumble, would drop that perfect image of me upon the ground so that in front of his eyes I would crack and break. Then as I came tumbling out in my imperfection he would realise that after what I had done to him I was in the place I deserved to be; the dark. (NICE TWIST).

This is very noir-ish. Sounds like a great beginning to a mystery, or possibly a horror novel. But what a great twist. And aren’t you dying to find out what she’s done, that she thinks she deserves to be in the dark? Jennifer, I suspect you are British too, with your spelling of “realise” with an “s”. Am I right?

Congratulations to Chrissie and Jennifer on their wonderful writing!

Now for next week’s challenge. In one hundred words or less, write a story around a compelling object. Here is my effort. It’s called THE RED BOTTLE:

It gleamed through the window of the apothecary’s shop, one cold drizzly night. The red bottle stood erect and tall, beckoning. He paused. He had sixpence in his pocket. Should he buy that tincture his wife needed for the cough that kept her up all night? The doorbell tinkled as he walked in. A bespectacled man appeared.

“The red bottle―”

“Not for sale, sir.”

“I’ll give you one hundred guineas.”

“Begging your pardon, sir. But you don’t look as if you’re made of that kind of money.”

He put the sixpence down, grabbed the bottle, and fled.

As before, feel free to post your own efforts in the comment box below. Or you can critique my effort. You have until midnight EST Sunday, June 5. Have a wonderful Memorial Day week!

–Cynthia Haggard writes historical novels.  She has two completed manuscripts that will be published in the coming year. THWARTED QUEEN  is a portrait of a woman trapped by power, a marriage undone by betrayal, and a King brought down by fear.FAMILY SPLINTERS is  a novel about identity, forbidden love and family secrets. For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories. (c) 2011. All rights reserved.


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