Five Sentence Fiction – Empty
He wiped the sweat from his brow with his forearm, opened his eyes wide, and sat back. “Fuck me, this is hard goddamn work,” Phil said and looked over at Chris.
“Fuckin’ A right!” said Chris as he finished off the last Bud Light.
Phil’s shovel hit the hollow box, they looked at each other and jumped in to claw away the rest of the dirt.. Chris opened the casket, scrunched his face, and said, “Shit! There ain’t nothin’ here!”
Nostradamus made predictions, so it’s told, about the date that his grave would be dug up. Recently, my mom had my dad’s grave moved. I find it at least a little disturbing, frankly, to disturb the dead. What if, instead, the grave was empty? Where did the body go? Do the dead walk? Do they live? Do they move on? What happens after we bury the dead if they don’t rot in a hole?
Five Sentence Fiction – Abandoned
“Two years,” Lily whispered to the car, her hand stroking the cold hood. The white Caddy with white leather still smelled like his aftershave. She couldn’t bring herself to have it taken away. Couldn’t, anyway, because the boxes and tools blocked the garage door. “Just a turn of the key,” she thought as she got in.
I like this one because it doesn’t really smack you in the face with it. Sure, she wasn’t really abandoned in the traditional sense, as in “my mama didn’t want me!” or some stereotypical Country song “she left me and took my dog” sense, but she and the car shared something – they were both left by him. Did he die? Did he run away? And what did she do? Finally get rid of the car and move on? Or kill herself, alone in her garage, overcome and despondent?
Well, what did YOU imagine as you read it?
Five Sentence Fiction – Cherish
He stood at the edge of the cliff, hands in his pockets, lips pressed together. The wind swept upward, billowed his shirt, his hair, and made him squint his eyes.
His hands came out of his pocket with a trinket. Cupping it in his hands, he drew it to his face and sealed in it his secret. The chain flailed behind it as it sank, forsaken, into the brush below.
Always the contrarian, I wanted to avoid a lovey-dovey Valentine’s Day story. Instead, I imagined a man deliberating, then giving up what he cherished, irrevocably, before he changed his mind.
But wait… was the cherished item the trinket or the secret? We may never know.
“But you wouldn’t go without me,” she pleaded as she glanced sideways towards her husband. I could see the heartache in her eyes. She smelled like lilac and regret.
My lips trembled and my eyes teared up. I touched her arm with a shaking hand and whispered, “I’m sorry.”
Five Sentence Fiction’s theme this week is “purple.” I struggled quite a bit. I looked up color associations and came away with standard stuff about royalty, valor, and wisdom, etc., and the references to drug culture. None of that inspired me. I thought about bruises, but that’s too obvious.
When I was growing up, we had a huge lilac bush in our back yard, and there was another one down the street at the bus stop. I always loved the way they smelled and the way they hung in bunches, like scented grapes. I thought of the soft purple of the lilacs and wrote this short story.
She was all piss and vinegar, the runt. Like a Chihuahua facing down a Great Dane, Maggie found the fights. She laughed, later, at how the big guys always backed down. Cowards.
She couldn’t have been more than 90 pounds when I carried her body off the field that day.
This week’s Five Sentence Fiction entry – I think it works. It sets up something, doesn’t linger on it, and really takes a chance with that one word sentence, which is pretty damned bold in a five sentence fiction story. I really wanted to stick with the easy stuff – flowers, femininity, delicate things like spider webs or emotions.
Then I kicked myself in the ass and said, “That just won’t do, now will it? NO.” And then I had an idea that the girl is a firecracker that ends up believing in her own mystique, and succumbs to it. But I wanted to express that in the five sentences. Along with the one-word sentence extra challenge I gave myself.
Another challenge I give myself every time is to avoid the trap of run-on sentences. Yes, five sentences to convey a coherent thought is tough. Have you seen Five Second Films? That’s even tougher. But don’t fall prey to run-on sentences in your five sentence fiction. Instead, delete half your words. Then delete half again. Then get out the scalpel and pare down the last few.