“Enough to Last” [Five Sentence Fiction]

“Enough to Last”

Kiss, doodle

doodling Aral leads to this….

The high-pitched strains of concerto violins singing from the stereo in the corner. The slow-motion flutter of gossamer chiffon to the floor. The muted patter of raindrops against the window, tapping as though to be let in as witnesses to their dance.

He remembered them all, but, more than any other, the words breathed in his ear as she came and took him in her arms for the first time as had and held: “It’s always been you.”

He didn’t totally believe her, but the shine of love when he looked in her eyes could be enough to last him.

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I hadn’t planned on participating in any challenges this week, but last week’s free write must have jump-started something in my writing brain, because, after taking one look at Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction prompt this week – “WHISPER” – this vignette came to me almost instantly, with only minuscule changes from the initial drafting.

I hope you, too, are enjoying freedom in your writing, as it’s a glorious feeling to have.

Did you participate in any writing challenges this week? What whisper was blown into your ear? Or, did you whisper something, yourself?

Toothless Sharks and Other Scraps

By the banks of the Stover canal - geograph.org.uk - 1185117

For the scrapheap

This week, Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction prompt – CHERISH – led me down a few different paths.

Sometimes, a challenge prompt will strike an immediate chord with me, and writing a submission is no trouble. (My Songbirds series vignette “A Deeper Reflection” was one of those easy-peasy efforts.) Other times, a multitude of prompts will converge into a perfect storm of inspiration and interpretation, such as with “Stagger to Sway,” one of my Fearless side stories. And then, there are the times when I’ll start writing one way, go another direction, twist around yet another bend, until I finally end up with a piece suitable for public consumption.

In the case of the “CHERISH” prompt, I eventually settled on a somewhat humorous entry, but below are three other efforts I deemed unworthy, for one reason or another. Take a gander, if it please you.

Rescue”

That first shriek – echoing along the coastline like a banshee’s wail – made Scott drop his board like it was on fire; Finchy and Niall were already tearing across the sand, arms pumping for speed toward the source of those cries. Scott followed quick as he could do, only to pause at the edge of the scene: a young mum bouncing a screaming little girl close to her breast, while a frazzled dad was on hands and knees, scrabbling in the sand.

“Lost doll,” Niall said, his voice ripe with sour disappointment.

Scott almost snickered, when a glance into that girl’s reddened, snotty face made him think of his own tiny Emma, prompting him to shove both his mates toward the beach with a sharp, “Don’t just stand there. We’re a rescue squad; let’s rescue!”

* * *

Toothless Shark”

Venus knew they had sex. As quiet as they’d tried to be, the rhythmic creak of used springs was as tattling as a two-year-old. So when she had to creep past their bed to the bathroom, she always kept her gaze trained forward, for the sake of all their dignities. Except for this time, when she glanced reflexively toward the sound of a muffled sniff, and had to cover her mouth and hold her breath against the most itching, adoring whimper, at the sight of Finchy’s face pressed into Amber’s ruffled curls and his fingers linked loosely with hers.

Swinging the bathroom door closed behind her, Venus laughed softly into her palm, wondering what the rest of the crew would think if they saw their resident shark, now.

* * *

One”

At the precipice, she stood, white and bright and beautiful, the whistling wind swirling her golden curls around her shoulders the same as it ruffled the edge of her dress around her legs.

Seeing her so, warm sweat formed in his palms. He shifted his hands to his sides, to wipe them down, when it suddenly became too late: she grasped his fingers with her own – cool, slender, soft – and moved up close to him, for this moment that would end their lives as two.

They exchanged the words between them, and the precious circles the same. A single kiss, at last, and that was all, to soothe the anxious patter of his heart, and to make them one, for ever.

Now, I don’t think any of these are terrible. I was determined enough to want to finish them, after all (and to be willing to share them, here). But, as you can hopefully see, devoting such effort to these challenges is time-consuming. Even though I’ve decided to cut my blogging down to two posts a week instead of three, these still take plenty of concentration. I don’t like posting my work if I’m not totally pleased with it; I owe you that much.

Junkyard cat

…Focus…!

The one good thing about these scraps is that they represent genuine effort. When I go back to them, they make me think, or reflect, or smile.

So, if you liked any of these scraps at least a little bit, remember this: even if what you write doesn’t make your final cut, keep that effort. Don’t throw it away completely. You never know when you might need that smile.

Where do you keep your scrapped efforts? Have you ever used a scrapped effort to start a new project?

Five Sentence Fiction: “You Never Forget Your First”

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My go at this week’s Five Sentence Fiction prompt from Lillie McFerrin: CHERISH.

If you aren’t familiar with Five Sentence Fiction, Lillie gives us a one-word prompt, and we’re to write a five-sentence story on what it means to or evokes in us. We don’t have to use the specific prompt word, by the way.

If the word strikes a chord in you, too, why not pop by Lillie’s site and have a go? Challenges are up Thursday through Wednesday, so there’s still plenty of time to join in on the fun!

“You Never Forget Your First”

Blowing a breath of appreciation between his lips, he laid her down in the sand, smoothing his hands along her curves. The touch of her sparked a familiar rush, a deep longing like ancestral memory aeons old. Soon, he’d press his body to her, and they’d be together, like one, fast and free and eternal, if only for a moment.

From over his shoulder, Amber gave a tsk, and muttered, “Sometimes, I think you love that board more than you love me.”

Ross just snickered, replying, “You never forget your first.”

The memories of first loves tend to linger, no matter who – or what – they are. Sometimes, you just have to accept them along with the one you love. (Ross’s custom Keahana board, for anyone interested, is a variation on the Skindog pintail Noserider design. Because you always remember your first.)

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What part of your past – or present – do you CHERISH?

FSF / 100WCGU: “At the Edge”

100 Word Challenge for Grown-Ups

Is anyone surprised I’m combining prompts again? This week, it’s Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction prompt of “DELICATE,” as well as Julia’s Place’s 100-Word Challenge for Grown-Ups (week 75, for those of you counting). The 100WCGU prompt is this picture:

Full photo can be found at Julia’s Place

Additionally, Julia asks us “to close your eyes and imagine you are one of those figures looking out over the Grand Canyon. Your 100 words can either [be] the conversation that might happen or your thoughts as you look and experience the scene.

First-person pieces are not my forte, and I didn’t exactly follow the rules. But, this could be one conversation that might happen, just not to me….

“At the Edge”

We approached the edge side by side, but not together; I was only supposed to be his guide, after all, a familiar face to show him some wonders on his American holiday, nothing more.

“Beautiful,” I murmured when we reached the rail; there was his hand, settled so close, but who knew what might be said if anyone noticed. “It always makes me feel insignificant, like a snowflake in a storm.”

“Singular, perhaps,” he said, “but, hardly insignificant.”

Something in his voice made me look up, into his face, just as he took my hand, whispering, “I’ve left my wife.”

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(forgive the rushed job on the hands, please; I did this one in about an hour)

As indelicate as this situation is, it’s one close to my heart. Am I venturing too much into reality? Or, does this still smack of fiction to you? I feel like I’m blurring the lines more and more, these days.

What conversations did you have as you looked out over the Grand Canyon this week? What did you think? Something DELICATE, or not? Feel free to let me know!

FSF / 100WCGU: “Storm Warning”

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100 Word Challenge for Grown-UpsI’m doing another double-up of writing prompts this week (because I’m not-so-secretly a masochist, I guess): for Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction prompt (“RINGING“), and Julia’s 100 Word Challenge for Grown-Ups prompt (…the extreme weather meant…., week 74). Since we’re to incorporate this specific phrase in Julia’s prompt, we’re allowed to go to 104 words, as opposed to the usual 100; Lillie’s guideline, as always, is to write the story in five sentences.

We’re suffering from some extreme weather of our own out here, with temperatures dropping well into the teens (that’s c-c-c-cold, for us), so my head went instantly to winter storm conditions, of which I have my fair share of personal experience. Of course, there are all kinds of storms….

“Storm Warning”

Robert Salmon - Storm at sea

Robert Salmon (1775-circa 1851), via Wikimedia Commons [public domain]

Fixing his hair, he tested some looks in the mirror (charming, serious, sly), finally settling on simple hopefulness, appropriate for the occasion.

Any moment, now, she’d stagger in, drenched and pale from fatigue, then become delightfully surprised by his quaint, candlelit effort…even if those candles were swiftly burning away. The extreme weather meant the whole lifeboat squad was out tonight, but they’d be back soon, and he’d have her to himself, tonight, and forever.

A knock; it wasn’t her, but her captain, looking drenched, pale: “You’d best sit down, son….”

He stumbled, the rest of the words drowning in the ringing in his head.

***

Sorry to go so dark, here. I wrote several versions of this post, and they were all similarly grim. I suppose the prompts just led me down that road.

Incidentally, does anyone else write multiple efforts for these prompts, until the “right one” clicks? If not (or if so), how did the extreme weather affect you, this week? Did you ring another kind of bell? Feel free to let me know!