Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Word Count Wednesday & a Flash Fiction Challenge

Well, my word count was zero again this week, but if I could count a list of interviews and publicity I've done for All Fall Down, that would boost it a bit I think.  I'm excited for you guys to see those in the next few weeks or so.

All right, so last week we talked about doing a flash fiction in the month of October to boost our word count and get our brains in the Halloween slash writing mode.  So here's your first challenge:

Write a flash fiction no longer than 400 words (post it in the comment section so we all can read it) and it must have the phrase, "the blood spatter made a strange pattern," somewhere in it.  I will be posting mine sometime later today.

(Also, please keep in mind that this is a family friendly blog, so no overly graphic stuff, okay?)

*rubs hands together*  Can't wait to read them!  (And we're still discussing prizes so don't worry.  We'll take care of you awesome writers out there.)


Melanie Goldmund said...

I've come up with a new idea for a story, and I wrote, oh, maybe a thousand words to begin with. Then I realized that much of what I wrote wasn't working, so I erased half of it and tried again. I'll put my word count down as 1500 this week.

Flash fiction, Halloween, blood spatter, huh? I'll have to see if I can multi-task and come up with something. Could be fun -- could be hair-tearingly frustrating! :-)

Melanie Goldmund said...

Okay, I think I might have come up with something. Let me know if anything is unclear. :-)


The blood spatter made a strange pattern. I dipped the cloth into the water and smeared the dots into a purple smear.
“Hi, dear!”
I came out of the bedroom to see my husband coming in from driving the boys to early morning seminary and then to school. As he went to hang up his jacket, I cried, “Careful! Dead Snatcher!”
He froze in midstep and looked down at the mangled body. “Not another one!”
“Yes, another one. It chewed through the screen on the bedroom window, and came at me while I was getting dressed!” I shuddered at the memory. Why do things seem even more threatening when you’re naked?
“Are we going to have to find another hiding place?” my husband asked, side-stepping the little corpse.
“I wouldn’t know where else,” I said with an annoyed sigh. “They seem to know exactly where to go, every time! If you ask me, there’s only one answer!”
“We get rid of the stuff --again?” my husband guessed, and I nodded. “You take that thing out and put it in the garbage. I’ll get everything ready.”
While my husband took the dead Snatcher away, I pulled the plastic bags from their hiding place in the back of the closet and arranged them on the dining room table. One of them had already been chewed open, but I’d caught the interdimensional rodent right before it had been able to get at the contents.
When my husband came back inside, he said, “I think that one was a female. They must be getting desperate.”
“So am I,” I replied. “I’m going to have to keep some kind of weapon in the bedroom from now on. I can’t keep using old Relief Society manuals to bash them to death. But for now …”
We were halfway through the stash when my husband stopped suddenly, his face lit up with delight. “I’ve got it! The perfect hiding place! You know that whole-wheat bread with all the different seeds that you love to bake?”
I looked at him suspiciously, as he had never showed anything approaching enthusiasm for my bread before.
“We hollow out a loaf or two, then hide all the Halloween candy in there! Nothing will be able to get through bread that healthy!”
One minute later, there was another strange pattern of blood spatter in our house, but this one was red.

Debra Allen Erfert said...

I wished I had an idea . . . I loved Melanie's story. She's so creative. Where's yours, Julie?

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Here's mine, exactly 400 words! :)

It was dark and I cursed myself for not leaving the porch light on. I hated coming home from work late, but Mr. Akins had caught me right before quitting time. He enjoyed making women stay late on Fridays so he could “help” them. I hated that about him, mostly because his help consisted of dropping things and waiting for me to bend over and pick it up.

I pulled out my key and fumbled around with the lock. Setting my briefcase down, I felt the shape of the key to make sure I wasn’t putting it in upside down. Leaning down to the deadbolt, I heard a strange sound. Like a moan. And it was coming from inside my house.

I looked in the side window and couldn’t see anything. Wishing once more I’d left a light on somewhere, I slid my key in. Should I open it? Should I go back to my car? I quietly turned the doorknob. Opening it a couple of inches, I reached my hand in and flipped on the outside light. That was when I saw the deep red blood spatter in a strange pattern across my entryway and a pool of blood below it. It was obvious someone or something had been recently hurt there.

I slowly backed away, knowing I needed to get to my car as fast as I could. My heart was pounding in my ears as I turned to run. I tripped going down my porch stairs and my knee throbbed with pain. I pushed myself back to a standing position, hobbling now as I tried to get to my car.

I pulled my leg along with me, breathing hard, the adrenaline shooting through me. It was when I heard the footfalls coming down my porch stairs that I realized I wasn’t the only one breathing hard. With a quick glance behind me, I saw a dark shape moving toward me. That strange moaning rang out loud and clear. I tried to run, to ignore the pain shooting up my leg, praying I would reach my car before the man reached me. The breathing and moaning got louder as I reached my car and threw open the door. Before I could close it a hand yanked it back open. I screamed and at the same time I decided to fight. Kicking off a heel I held it high.

Debra Allen Erfert said...

Oh ... how about another 400? Ack! What happened next? Sheesh . . .that's so not fair.

Janice Sperry said...

I heard the scream in that whisper of a moment between inhale and exhale. Then I saw her face flickering in the flames of the candles – laughing. She always laughed, a mean maniacal laugh. I blew out the candles and let her face dissolve with the smoke. She smiled knowingly at me before I blew out the last candle, the thirteenth candle.

A light flashed. “Oh, honey,” Mom said. “You always look terrified in your birthday pictures. Would it kill you to smile?”

“She’s a teenager now,” Dad said. “Teenagers are supposed to look miserable.” He got the sharpest knife from the drawer and approached the cake as if it were a mortal enemy.

“Don’t you think that knife is a bit much?” Mom said. “It’s a cake, not a brick.”

Dad and I exchanged smiles.

“Now she smiles,” Mom said.

Dad stabbed the cake with all the brute force a middle aged man could muster. The knife slipped and cut his hand. The blood spatter made an interesting pattern on the cake. It was the woman's face.

“Now you’ve gone and ruined the cake,” Mom said.

Dad opened his mouth and wisely shut it before any words came out.

“I don’t feel like cake today,” I said.

“But it’s your birthday. I still remember how tiny you were when the social worker placed you in my arms.” Mom got a far away smile on her face. “At least you got to blow out your candles before your dad ruined the cake. Did you make a wish?”

I looked anywhere but at the cake.

“Of course.”

“What was it?” Dad wrapped his bloody hand in a kitchen towel. Mom would not be pleased. She frowned on people bleeding on her nice linens.

“She can’t tell.” Mom yanked the towel out of Dad’s hand. “For heaven’s sake, go get a bandage. And wash it. With soap and water. There’s some cream in the bathroom cabinet.”

I made the same wish every year, as I made her face disappear in the smoke. I wished my dead birthmother would stay away. It wasn’t until I felt a breath in my ear that I realized wishes don’t always come true.

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Debra, maybe I should just continue it for next week? :) Glad you liked it.

Janice and Melanie, you guys are awesome as usual. Love your stuff!

Debra Allen Erfert said...

That's so creepy, Janice! *Chills*

I wrote 3400 words yesterday--a whole chapter, and I just couldn't switch gears and do a short short. I'm sorry! But I'm psyched that I was able to write so much on my current WIP. Maybe I can participate on your next challenge.

Melanie Goldmund said...

Oooh, Janice, that was creepy and cool at the same time.

Julie, what a cliffhanger! I vote that you continue it next week!

Debra, I know exactly how you feel about not being able to switch gears. I wasn't able to write anything on my main story yesterday, either, because I couldn't switch back from the flash fiction. But thank you for calling me creative! *beams happily*

jodi said...

Yikes Julie!