Here is this Monday’s Microfiction challenge from Stoney River, where a picture paints a story with 140 characters, or even fewer.
Forget elbow grease. Madam, you are wasting time with hard work. Want a guaranteed way to success? My secret is yours for only $999.99.
Lost in Africa! How foolish. What a great story. Then they ran out of petrol.
The picture prompt for the Six Minute story today is a herd of deer, of some sort, in the mist.
The photo is by Siddy Lam on Flickr. It is taken in India, not Africa.
I had just read a short story about Africa, so I had Africa on my mind. The story is just a beginning really. I couldn’t get my brain in gear quickly enough to work out a good ending.
Lost in Africa
Mist and fog everywhere.
It had started off as a beautiful African day. 30 degree heat and so they only wore shorts and t-shirts and packed a few sandwiches. No point taking unnecessary baggage, they told themselves. This is an impromptu safari. Let’s be adventurous.
Then the fog came down. They weren’t expecting this. And the track just sort of faded out. Bumping over grass in the battered 4×4, they could see no familiar landmarks, nothing to lead them back to the road.
They were cheerful and amused at first. Lost in Africa! How foolish. What a great story. Then they ran out of petrol.
Shhh. They wind down the window, hoping to hear the noise of traffic.
There is only silence.
Then the deer arrived, silent and elegant. Not much help though. Deer can’t give directions. Deer can’t call for help.
Their mobile phones are dead. How we take technology for granted; until it stops working.
They eat the last of the sandwiches, saving their water carefully, and huddle together for warmth. It is getting dark. In the distance, they hear the roaring of a lion.
Another Microfiction Monday at Stony River and another visual prompt for a new story of 140 characters.
I struggled with keeping to the 140 characters, including spaces and punctuation. Finally, I got it down to the required length. Here is mine:
The children chose Christmas gifts for grandma. Emily bought chocolates and cake. Not to be outdone, Charlie remembers grandpa likes bacon.
Six minutes isn’t long enough to plan a cohesive structure. But great fun!
This was the prompt for today’s six-minute story.
(photo by epSos.de from Flickr)
And here was my response: Indecision.
I tried to avoid the cliché of a describing a would be suicide, at least, not head on.
Not sure if it works.
Six minutes isn’t long enough to plan a cohesive structure. But it is great fun to write a story with the clock ticking.
Here is the story for those who can’t be bothered to follow the link:
OK guys. Calm down. Yes, I am standing on the edge of a cliff. No, I am not contemplating suicide.
For a start, my life is worth living. I have a new girlfriend, a great job, an apartment with a mortgage and a loving family. I don’t drink and I only smoke after meals.
So, what am I doing here?
I am thinking of my future and of the choices I need to make. Like today, when I phoned my girlfriend (gorgeous, blonde and randy) and she said she thought it was time for commitment. But am I ready for that? I don’t know.
Or how about my job? The boss wants me to keep working on my current project, but the department head is keen I take on the strategic planning for the coming year. That could be great for my career, if I get my forecasts right. Or terrible, if I get it horribly wrong.
Decision making is not my strong point. You may have gathered that.
Today I went walking with my dog. She ran ahead and disappeared off the edge of a slope. When I caught up with her, I realised the “slope” is, in fact, a very steep cliff.
Where is my dog? No idea?
So here I am, sitting on the edge of the cliff and wondering whether to phone 999 for help. And if I do phone 999, do I ask for the police? Or for the coastguard? Or what?
You see, there are so many decisions in life. And I find it hard. Yes, life is hard. Perhaps the end is in sight. Or not.
Here is the Microfiction assignment:
Given the character of a clown, write a story in the contemporary fiction genre, using the subject a fairy tale and the theme man versus nature. If you feel extra creative, write only one sentence at a time.
Your word limit is 160 words.
And here is my response, below:
Once upon a time, I met this clown at a children’s party. He had a large, red painted smile, slashed across his face. But his eyes were too sad.
His routine was predictable; balloons twisted into animal shapes, tricks with coloured handkerchiefs and flowers that spray water. The kids laughed and clapped in the right places.
At the end of the party, while we waited for the tired children to be collected, I asked him why he did this work.
“I was always a miserable child,” he sniffed and continued.
“I was lucky to have a fairy godmother who granted wishes. I wished I could be happy. Unfortunately, my godmother said that wasn’t possible.”
He dabbed his sad eyes with a blue hanky.
“But she said she could make me look happy, if that was what I wanted.”
A tear rolled down his painted cheek.
“It seemed like a good idea at the time.”