Run Rabbit run (98 words)
Rabbit ran as hard as he could, running for his life. Muddy swamp water filled his sneakers and sucked malevolently at his feet, slowing him down. His breath steamed in the frosty night, coming in great gasps, but he pumped his arms harder, forcing more air into his tortured lungs. Behind him, the baying dogs sounded closer. The ground hindered them less than it did him. Underfoot, the squelching stopped suddenly and his feet gained traction. Ahead, through the thinning trees, a swath of silvery grass ended in a lighted ribbon of asphalt.
There was no going back.
Jumper (90 words)
Lewis felt strangely peaceful, almost blissful in the final moments. In eerie silence the wind wrapped his body in her invisible blanket; peeling his lips back in an intimate kiss and folding his cheeks like a Shar-Pei’s face. He surrendered willingly, exulting as he spread his arms to embrace her. Below, the upturned gawking cartoon faces, a voyeur’s gallery of fools, expanded in his vision field like an image zoomed in a telephoto lens. In the grand scheme of things, Lewis had just one regret. He should have jumped sooner.
KIDNAPPED (92 words)
In the other room, a wheezing cough grew in intensity, then stopped abruptly. Robert hoped the sufferer had died. He was lying on his side in complete darkness, his hands and feet bound.
Stay quiet, they’d warned. He complied. There was no arguing with the two armed men who pushed him into the back seat of his Chevy at the gas station. Hours later, the soft-spoken one left, leaving behind the fat wheezing one who seemed on the permanent verge of violence.
Robert hoped it wouldn’t come to that. He wasn’t rich.
RIVER RUNS DEEP (95 words)
On day three hundred of a fruitless job search, Andrew Manzes paused on the corner of Fifth and Main, staring at the river of traffic rushing by him. The red lights dwindling into the distance seemed to mock his fading hopes, highlighting the ephemeral nature of his dreams; dreams that once lighted his path, but now served only to illuminate the concrete bank of this surging river.
The river beckoned him, urging him to lose himself in its seductive flow. The pull was irresistible. Smiling, he closed his eyes and stepped out into the traffic.
Commitment (99 words)
“I’ve been thinking about us,” she said.
“We’ve been seeing each other for a while now and we have great times together. Maybe we should get married.”
“Why? We do everything a married couple does. How would getting married change anything?”
“It’s not the same thing.” She shifted her stance.
He knew the pose. She was digging in.
“Tell you what,” he said. “Let’s talk about it after dinner.”
“What’s wrong with now?”
“Okay,” he said. “You go first. But why now?”
“I just want to know whether you’re okay with the idea.”
He sensed a trap.
Read a post somewhere about microfiction and twitfic, and I wanted to try my hand at the form. For me, Twitfic, being limited to 140 characters, felt extremely restrictive and I found it difficult to convey a discrete emotional event adequately. Of course, that’s just me and others have tried it with varying degrees of success.
I much preferred the slightly longer forms with word limits rather than character limits. I set myself an arbitrary goal of one hundred words or less, and took a stab at it. It seems possible to convey the sense of a scene (though not the details) within this framework.
I found the task invigorating. It’s extremely easy to write 150 to 200 words off the top of your head in a few minutes, but editing and polishing to meet the requirement is much harder. I get the feeling that these little vignettes could be ideal starting points for fresh plots and other story ideas.
I’m going to try and post two or three items a week on this blog, calling them microfiction items. If you find them interesting, let me know. If you find them boring, let me know also. I’m curious to know find out many of these you can produce before running into a wall. I can’t believe there are endless possibilities within a 100 word framework.
MicroFiction # 01 DARKTIME (100 words)
In the strange half light before darktime, shadows play tricks on the mind. In spite of her mind shield, Merith stayed in the middle of the path, which seemed to get steeper as she walked downhill. Her two mile trek from Tarryn to Commune had started in the bright of middle lighttime, but a hidden root and a twisted ankle meant she was still hobbling homewards with a half mile left to go. It was nearly darktime, and darktime belonged to the Aenids. The Aenids were a complete mystery to Merith’s kind because no-one had survived an encounter with them.