Monday, September 5, 2011

First Campaign Challenge: A Short Story

Okay, I so don't do this. I either write short, or I write long. And let's face it, my "short" stuff turns into 90,000 words.

But I signed up for this Campaign, and well, yeah. I signed up. (Click here for details on this challenge, and to vote for mine! I'm #110.)

So here's the challenge: Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count)


Fine.

The door swung open, releasing so many molecules of our precious oxygen. I blinked, but with heavy eyelids that took too long to open again.

Footsteps landed. Someone spoke. The pressure across my chest intensified as the room grew brighter and brighter.

“Help—Owen,” I managed, somehow remembering my brother had curled into the corner and gone to sleep while I futilely searched for a way out of the room.

“We've got him.” The voice floated around me, seared inside me, sliced through me. “We’ll be back for you.”

You,
      you,
           you,
echoed through the room. I sucked down one last breath as the door swung shut.


One of my greatest fears is dying by suffocation. Can you tell? (Ha!) What's one of your greatest fears?

82 comments:

Christine Fonseca said...

It's official...YOU ARE BRILLIANT! Love it.

Miranda Hardy said...

Eerie! I like it. Well done. My biggest fear is worms. Lol good luck with the challenge.

Abby said...

AH! I would hate to die that way too. Honestly one of my biggest fears is having one of my children die. Uh. But on a less dramatic level I am scared of spiders and the ocean - not necessarily the "ocean" but what is waiting just below the surface to eat me!

Love your short story! Awesome.

Dustin Hansen said...

Gasp! Very nice Elana. I wanna play. Do we post our 200 words here?

My biggest fear is missing out on all the fun. Can you tell?

Oh, that and being forced to watch The Smurfs movie on never-ending repeat!

Julie Hedlund said...

Wow! I so want to read more!

Theresa Milstein said...

Excellent job! This had a Possession feel to it.

What's my worst fear? I have so many. Where do I start? ; )

I'm glad you joined the campaign too. You never do these challenges. I rarely do challenges, but I've done two different challenges in a row on my blog.

We're growing...

AveryMarsh said...

*bites nails* I want to know what happens next!

My biggest fear... dying instantly. I don't want to be deprived of those precious last words.

TirzahLaughs said...

Mine is drowning.

It's cool.

:)

Tirz

TirzahLaughs said...

Mine is drowning.

It's cool.

:)

Tirz

Christine Rains said...

Wonderfully done! You created a lot of tension for such a short piece. My greatest fear is something happening to my son.

Rachele Alpine said...

I love how in just 200 words, you made me want to hear this person's whole story! FTW! I'm in the campaign too, but not sure if I'll be able to find time for this challenge.

Angela Brown said...

Okay, please say they come back to get the MC.

*tapping fingers nervously*

By the way, this was a wonderful piece of flash fiction.

As for one of my fears:
It slithers upon its belly, made for sneaking, scaly and quick as a flash. Never back it into a corner or you'll be the one to regret it.
*shudder*
Snakes, EEEK!

Erin L. Schneider said...

Fab post, Elana - great intensity and your fear definitely shines through (that's supposed to be a good thing, I promise!).

Cheree said...

Ooh, fantastic. What a great piece of flash fiction.

Carrie Butler said...

Oh my goodness, Elana! I'm sitting here gulping for air now. Haha! Nice work! :)

Patricia T. said...

Disturbing, but very creative and different. Liked it a lot.

Fear: Snakes!!!!!!

Chantele Sedgwick said...

What a great short story! And you said you couldn't write anything short :P You did awesome! And I'm totally scared of suffocating to death. Sort of have a problem with being claustrophobic. :P

Kimberly said...

This is so great. I really like it and can feel her struggle for air!

Angie Cothran said...

I'm totally freaked out, so you must have done your job. I loved it :)

storyqueen said...

Elana, you are taking chances on your blog and I have to say, I love that about you.

Feeling the need to breath very deeply.....

Shelley

Kerri Cuev said...

Yup, like it LOTS! So glad you joined the Campaign! Get out the bacon to celebrate!

Babydoll said...

I like that a lot! Very nice!

Alleged Author said...

Loving this. Good job!

Jill Campbell said...

Great job Elana, but then I expected nothing less. My biggest fear. . rejection, the ocean, losing my mind and knowing that I lost it.

elizabethanne said...

Very intense... the reader is there with you/the main character, trying to catch another breath, and another. Impressive.

Fear? certain scuttling bugs that I'm not even willing to name

Gretchen said...

So creepy, and I agree suffocation. It takes like 20 minutes to die but at least you pass out quickly. Love the intensity.

Danyelle L. said...

Captured this perfectly, Elana! :) *wishes there were more* O:)

Slamdunk said...

I like your take with this one Elana. I just read Julie Fedderson's try with this and you all are very creative.

And, I can relate to the need for 90,000 words to hit the mark on a topic.

Heather said...

That gave me the shivers! Great short! The fear definitely comes through strong. One of my fears is tight areas where I can't move. I might have to try this writing experiment!

Steph Sinkhorn said...

Nice. I mean, terrifying, but nicely written. I write about my biggest fears ALL THE TIME. I think it's a subconscious self-therapy thing.

Alison Miller said...

That was fantastic! I used to have a deathly fear of heights, so much I could not drive over bridges, but ever since I had children, nothing seems to weird me out anymore.

Natalie Aguirre said...

This is awesome. You made every word count.

Richard said...

Enjoyed your story. Good writing style.

Enid Wilson said...

Owen is the bad guy who let the hero down?

Every Savage Can Reproduce

foldingfields said...

Very nice! Love the echoing you. voted! Sarah xx

Leigh Ann said...

*shakes head* I don't know how you all did such a bang-up job with 200 words. I saw the challenge, became terrified, and hid in Chapter 20 of my WiP.

Awesome, especially the echoes.

Kelly said...

You've captured fear and creepiness in 200 words! Well done! And I forgot to check yesterday's campaign post to check the challenge. Will have fun reading them today!

salarsenッ said...

Yeah, just made of awesome sauce!!! Love the use of short phrases.

Jess said...

Awesome post! And dying by suffocation would be very scary!!

Deana said...

Me too! Gah, I think I need to step outside just from reading that. Nice:)

Randy said...

Wow. That was powerful. Really a masterful bit of writing. It's one of my favorites so far.

poisnivyred said...

This looks like an awesome read! Going on the the tbr list.

Kelsey d

Cat said...

Very well done -- and creepy. I voted for you. (Mine is 186 if you like to have a look).
My greatest fear is loosing one of my kids or my hubby -- or my hands so I can't write any more.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Creepy and brilliant! I really liked your piece.

My biggest fear involves anything happening to my kids.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Eek! Now I'm totally terrified. I wasn't before, I was happy on this beautiful sunny day listening to upbeat music. Now I'm a little freaked and a lot interested. :)
Great piece!!!

David Powers King said...

Like you, I don't write short either. But you're a genius! I think that's what separates us as writers. Great job, Elana. I'm sprinting to keep up! :)

Angela Orlowski-Peart said...

Really cool piece. Great voice :-)

Thanks for commenting on my entry! I’m #76

Jessica Peter said...

Oh dear. That's pretty intimidating to me, as I'm also afraid of suffocating! My greatest fear though? Hangings.

And yes, my first novel has hangings in it. I can barely edit it.

E.R. King said...

Great, Elana! I don't think I'd like to die by suffocation either. Not gruesome, but very frightening. Bravo!

bridget said...

That's one of my fears. I have alot of ways I don't want to die! Well done. Mine is totally different. #72

Meredith said...

How completely frightening! Suffocation is just awful--I can't even imagine. Love the images in this!

Cortney said...

Tense! I loved it, and I'm going to check out your book, congrats on the publication (I'm so jealous!). I am claustrophobic, so my biggest fear is being stuck in an extremely tight/enclosed place and having to just die slowly there. I'm also with Abby, though. I have night terror thoughts about what could happen to my kids. Glad we had this nice little chat, lol.:D

Rachel Morgan said...

Um... As far as ways of dying go, I'm pretty scared of drowning (wanting to breathe so badly and all there is around you is WATER!) and burning. Yikes. Lovely topic!

Melissa said...

Hi Elana, Mel here from your Distopian/Apocalypse group :-)

Great job with the challenge. Coming off a WriMo, where the goal is to make as many words as possible, I had a bit of a tough time with this one.

My greatest fear I guess would be madness, not being able to discern reality from my imagination. Of course, if that were the case, I suppose I would never know if it had happened.

kelly said...

This story feels sinister, but upon a second reading I see that the voices could actually be saviors. Good job.

My biggest fear is having a gun pointed at me. Absolutely terrified even of the thought.

Mel Fowler said...

That's great Elena, I hope you never die of suffocation. And, let's face it. I dont want to die that way either.

I loved your story. Good job. It makes you wonder what is happening and keeps you intersted.

Jocelyn Rish said...

Suffocation is pretty high up on the list of ways I DON'T want to go, and you did a great job of capturing what it must feel like. *shudder*

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

I liked that echoing You . . . You . . . You . . . .
Yeah, suffocating is hi on my list, too.

Ishta Mercurio said...

AWESOME! Great short! I love the opening paragraph - you set the scene right there. Nice job!

thepatientdreamer said...

Powerful! Very visual, Liked it very much. Also liked the little writeup about yourself.....lol. Believe it or not I am PB and MG/YA writer....lol.

Isis Rushdan said...

What a wonderful piece. The echoes were kind of haunting.

My fears: drowing and being burned alive. Giving it more thought, being buried alive and suffocating slowly is pretty awful too.

Great, now I have lovely images rattling in my mind.

1000th.monkey said...

Yikes! You really pulled me in right away...

Hmmm... I can't think of my biggest fear... probably dying slowly in a hospital bed hooked up to a million beeping contraptions... aware, but unable to speak/move.

ali cross said...

I LOVE this! I love how you were able to pack so much voice into so few words. Great job!

Susan Oloier said...

I so hate enclosed spaces that your flash fiction piece freaks me out! It is that descriptive. So, yeah, I'd say suffocation is way up there for me, too. Nice job, for sure.

rebeccaenzor said...

Oh, that's a Great scene! Nice tension, and imagery in just a few words.

Coleen Patrick said...

Wow! I was actually holding my hand over my mouth as I read that! Great!
POSSESSION is on my wish list!
http://coleenpatrick.com/

J said...

I haven't read Possession yet, but now I definitely want to! Really lovely writing. :D

CherylAnne Ham said...

Writing such a short piece is so tough.

I loved your entry. So good. I felt like I had to catch my own breath for a second there.

Katie Dodge said...

Wowza! THis made me think of my #1 way I don't want to die. Fire scares me! No suffocation for me please! Great job!

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

I'm gasping with her, feeling breathless myself! What's going to happen to her??? Great piece!

Amanda Milner said...

Well done!! Suspense, emotion and fear packed into 200 words! It makes me want to read on. :)
Well, I guess my greatest fear would be anything happening to my kids and being helpless. :P
Suffocation doesn't sound very fun though and being on or in dark water totally creeps me out! I need to see the bottom or I'll panic.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Love it. Your pacing and use of language really put me there.

Okay, when can I read more?

Deniz Bevan said...

Oh no! I hope she gets out!

RaShelle Workman said...

Loved it, Elana! You. You. You, awesome, fab writer, you!

Mina Burrows said...

I'm with you on the sufficating bit. I wrote a choking one - same dif. Awesome FF!

Elaine AM Smith said...

That was intense! I was there in the moment, happy to panic alongside your MC when she had to wait even longer to be rescued. I'm afraid of heights and treacle - that combination would make a bad way to go ;)

Margo Kelly said...

Nicely done! :-) Loved it.

Karen said...

We have similar challenges! Very easy to have lots and lots of words. ;) Great job, I enjoyed the suspense!

F.E. Sewell said...

That was awesome, Elana! My chest tightened up just thinking about it.

It kind of reminded me of that scene in Spaceballs when the giant vacuum cleaner sucks all of the air out of Druidia's atmosphere. I always hated that part!

Anyways, job well done!

Claire said...

Oooh horrible. I have a fear of suffocating too (probably not helped by the fact that I did actually stop breathing when I was young and had to have a tracheotomy!!. Great piece.

Doreen McGettigan said...

Suffocating and drowning are I suppose basically the same both my worst fears for dying. That was really, really good.

http://www.doreenmcgettigan.com

Liza said...

Took me a while to get here. So many participants! My fear is falling through the ice. Your suffocation story gave me as much of a panic. I'm not a campaigner (sadly) but I participated too. It was a blast. I'm 329.

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