Monday, February 20, 2012

First Campaigner Challenge: The Eighteenth Hour

It's time for the First Campaigner Challenge! Here are the rules:
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, “Shadows crept across the wall”. (✔) These five words will be included in the word count. 
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), do one or more of these:
  • end the story with the words: "everything faded." (also included in the word count)
  • include the word "orange" in the story
  • write in the same genre you normally write
    (romance, though it's kind of diluted here)
  • make your story 200 words exactly!
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Shadows crept across the wall, weaving darkness into the eighteenth hour. 

CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Image by Mr. Greenjeans

Beyond my window, the sun had begun its descent into the horizon, bathing the world in a hazy, orange glow. Unlike the cards littering my sill, it promised no warmth, no hope for tomorrow—only a safe passage into the night. One last time.

My eyelids followed the waning light and lowered of their own accord. If I could just drift off for a second… 

It was the trembling against my back that kept me grounded, still bound to the man who clung to me with every fiber of his being. His breath hitched as he swallowed a half-formed sob, but he didn’t say a word. He just rocked back and forth with his arms around me, burying his tears in my hair.

With a shaking hand, I brushed my fingertips across the back of his neck, imprinting the goodbye I didn’t have the strength to say or the heart to believe. Vows were meant to last longer than this. It wasn’t fair...

The baby awoke with a cry in the background, innocent and oblivious. 

No, it wasn’t fair at all.

I drew my last breath, and everything faded.

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 ...Well, crap. That was depressing. Last time I write a challenge entry in the middle of the night!

Anyhoo, if you liked it, feel free to vote (I'm #5). While you're there, check out the other entries. It's always cool to see how differently everyone interprets the flash prompt. :)

Have a great week, guys!

210 comments:

1 – 200 of 210   Newer›   Newest»
David P. King said...

Whoa. Whoa! That just ripped my heart out. I marvel at your hook and overall excellent writing. Great job! :)

Morgan said...

Niiiiice... you're so talented, Carrie ;)

J.C. Martin said...

OMG, that was heartwrenching! How depressingly beautiful!

Dave said...

Love it. Perfect and miserable.

Elodie said...

I agree wih J.C. it's depressingly beautiful :D In only 200 words, you managed to break my heart! Well done!

Talli Roland said...

Wow. That was wonderful... in a depressing sort of way!

JeffO said...

I liked it, very much. Now I want to know what happened, how she got there, on and on and on. Great job, Carrie.

Rachel Morgan said...

Damn, that is NOT FAIR! At first I was like, why is the guy crying? Something must be really bad if a GUY is crying... And then WHAM! That last line.

xx Rachel

Jenny said...

Wow. I wasn't expecting that ending. Great job!

Jess said...

That was amazing. Really sad and touching. I loved it.

I'm #19

Abhishek Boinapalli said...

Wow!!

Amazing peice of work there!!

You really stuffed in a lot of emotions in the two hundred words, the kids, the tension, the tears and all!!

Hoping to

Cat said...

Lovely, although I could do with a few more words about why she's dying. Is she ill?

Mine is No. 23

cleemckenzie said...

Depressing, but poignant!

Oh. I forgot . . . stop in at http://writegame.blogspot.com and play tag with a few people. That should perk you up after writing late at night. :-)

Lori M. Lee said...

Aww, that was so sad! Great piece here ;_;

kmckendry said...

Sad but very well written. I could really feel the pain.

Bess Weatherby said...

Oh my gosh so sad!

Alyssa said...

Very sad, but well written! Nice job! :)

I'm #39

Nancy Thompson said...

Very nicely done! Yes, sad, but the emotion is what makes it so good!

Tara Tyler said...

such sad realism. very well done!

S.P. Bowers said...

Wow, loved it. Very vivid and touching.

Patricia Marques said...

Oh, the emotions in that were lovely, and so sad. I really liked this one <3

Honey said...

That was really good, and I mean it.

Humpty Dumpty said...

My goodness! Beautiful but sad at the same time. Great job!

Esther Spurrill-Jones said...

I love stories that wrench the heart. Well done.

Tasha Seegmiller said...

Beautiful and sad. Very well done. New follower and fellow campaigner :)

Juliemybird said...

Absolutely fantastic.

Ashley Nixon said...

Brilliant language! So sad. :( Great job including all the elements!! That was tough!

Margo Kelly said...

Wow ... that was sad! But very well done! Great job!

Leigh Covington said...

Sad, but powerful. Emotional. I thought it was great! Beautifully, written! :D

Lady Gwen said...

Sad :( but well-written. You put a lot into 200 words.

Iain said...

Why the hell aren’t you published yet?????

Jessica Salyer said...

Wow, that was beautifully written. Full of emotion. Great job!

Brenna Braaten said...

Hi there! Campaigner finally getting to making my rounds.

That is a little sad, but the writing was so beautiful. I really liked the mood in the descriptions. Great job, and good luck!

Kevin Hiatt said...

Fellow Campaigner here as well. WOW. Seriously.. wow. Loved this line, "it promised no warmth, no hope for tomorrow—only a safe passage into the night." Great emotional impact.

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you so much, David! :D

Nick Wilford said...

Amazing - so many twists, and a powerful feeling of sadness. At first I thought it was a kidnap scenario - they were literally "bound". Then the baby came out of nowhere, that knocked me for six. Brilliantly done!

RaeAnn said...

That's so beautiful! I wish I could write like you...

Ann Cory said...

Ooo, mysterious, deep, and beautiful sadness rolled into one. I like your voice! :)

JEFritz said...

Cool, liked it. It was depressing, but good. Very emotional.

Becky said...

Heartbreaking and amazing.

Emily R. King said...

Depressing as hell...

I think I'll read it again. :)

Sally said...

Damn woman I'm all choked up now...Way to pour the emotion into 200 words! Your writing is as inspiring as ever! *heads over to vote for you*

Christy Farmer said...

Heart wrenching but great job!

Jessica Therrien said...

Dude. SOOOOO GOOOOOOOD! Loved it :) Voting...

bridgetstraub.com said...

Depressing, but well done! mine is #71

Sherri Lackey said...

Powerful! Emotive! Great imagery!

Lynda R Young said...

lol, loved your response afterwards.
Fantastic piece.

Carrie Butler said...

Aww, thanks, Morgan! :)

Daniel Noyes said...

Well, this is a really sad story. Very well done - but sad! I hope to never face this situation.

Lydia Kang said...

That goodbye was so bittersweet!

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks for stopping by, J.C.! I appreciate it. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Mmm... misery...

I mean, thank you! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Aww, man. I hate to make everyone sad, but I'm glad you guys liked it! Thank you! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Talli! I had no idea it was going to go in such a depressing direction. It just sort of... did. One of those writing things, I guess! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Jeff! I really appreciate that! :D

Carrie Butler said...

Rachel, I loved reading your impressions. Thank you so much! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Jenny! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Jess! I enjoyed your flash piece, too. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Abhishek! Two hundred words was pretty darn challenging for me. I tend to be long-winded. ;)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Cat! Yeah, it was pretty hard to fit everything in there. The best I could come up with at the time were the cards--probably "Get Well" wishes--on the sill. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Lee! Oh cool. I'll be right over! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Lori! :)
(Sorry for the sadness!)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Kathy! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Eek. I hope I didn't make anyone too sad this morning. Thanks for stopping by, Bess! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Alyssa! :)

Carrie Butler said...

I love evoking emotion, especially in these flash pieces. (What can I say? I'm a sucker for challenges!) I'm just relieved it came through. :) Thanks, Nancy!

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Tara! :)

P.S. I miss Revision Club! :(

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you! I appreciate that! :)

Rek said...

Really sad ending. You built in the scene very well.

Carrie-Anne said...

I loved how haunting and dark it was, though perhaps I'm just used to heavy, depressing subjects from some of the periods of 20th century history I write about.

I tagged you back at my blog.

Charmaine Clancy said...

Sad but great :)
#83

Komal said...

That was sad. I enjoyed how it built up. Good job!

Mina Burrows said...

That was totally depressing, but beautifully done. Great job!

Ainsley Shay said...

Sad but well done!! New follower!

AveryMarsh said...

That. Was. Heartbreaking. But oh so beautifully written. Absolutely, gut wrenchingly beautiful.

Joylene said...

Readers have already used all my adverbs. Bittersweet, heartbreaking, sad, wonderfully written. awesome. Okay, if they didn't, they should have. This was one heck of a good piece of writing, Carrie. I voted. Guess who for???

YelenaC said...

Wow! That was heart-wrenching and consumingly sad. Great job on this entry, I loved it! To be able to produce such emotion in a reader in so little words is amazing.

My entry is #36 if you'd like to check it out.

Stuart Nager said...

Really hit on the emotional vibe so well, and so heart breaking. Great job.

Tale Spinning: Wednesday's Child

C.B. Wentworth said...

Your first sentence is a knockout! :-)

Very sad, yet, but also very powerful.

Siv Maria said...

..."the goodbye I didn’t have the strength to say or the heart to believe. Vows were meant to last longer than this." Beautiful and heartfelt!

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Patricia! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! :D

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Honey! :)

Amber Clites said...

So sad, and I keep worrying about the baby! The mom in me is showing. Wonderful and beautiful writing! #82

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Humpty! :D

Erin Shakespear said...

Wow. That WAS depressing, but written so very well. Great job!

Carrie Butler said...

I do, too. (Even though they kill me a little inside!) Thank you, Esther!

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks for following, Tasha! I appreciate the kind words. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Julie! :)

Treelight said...

It might have been depressing, but it was very well written! :)

(I'm #59)

Claire L. Fishback said...

I love reading all the different takes on this prompt! So amazing how we all have different ideas!

I just read a happy one, and then this. So sad.

Great work with setting the mood.

Carrie Butler said...

Yeah, it was pretty tough! The orange thing threw me for a loop. :) Thanks, Ashley!

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Margo! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Aww, thanks, Leigh! I appreciate that. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Gwen! The 200 word restriction was pretty tricky. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Someday! Hopefully sooner rather than later. ;)

Thanks, Iain!

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Jessica! :)

Carrie Butler said...

It's a bit overwhelming, isn't it? I'm still trying to make Campaign rounds, too. :)

Thank you so much!

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Kevin! I really appreciate that. :D

holessence said...

You just cut my heart out and handed it to me on a platter - nice job!

Laurie Buchanan (entry #92)

Angela M. said...

Very powerful emotion conveyed in this! What an excellent entry in the contest. He was the best part in my book--heartbreaking!

Jennifer Chase said...

Great job! Very powerful.

alexia said...

Quite riveting! A tear-jerker for sure. Nice job.

Lori Ann Freeland said...

Loved it!

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Nick! It was definitely a challenge! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Aww, thank you, RaeAnn! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Ann! I appreciate that. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, JEFritz! I'll be over to read yours soon. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Becky! :D

Carrie Butler said...

You, Empress King, are a glutton for punishment. ;) Thank you!

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Sally!
...By the way, how's that blog comin'? ;)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Christy! :D

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Jessica! :D

(By the way, I'm so excited about your book release next week! Squee!)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Bridget! I'm making my way there. :D

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Sherri! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Haha! It was a bit of a mood killer, wasn't it? *grins* Thanks, Lynda!

Carrie Butler said...

Me too. Thank you, Daniel! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Oo, bittersweet might be the perfect word for it. Thanks for stopping by, Lydia! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Rek! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Carrie-Ann! Us depressing types should stick together. *grins*

I'll check it out!

Carrie Butler said...

Oopsie. Make that Carrie-Anne.
...My name is Carrie Ann. LOL

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Charmaine! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Komal! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Mina! :)
(Sorry about the depressing part...)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Ainsley! I'm following you now, too. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you so much, Avery! I appreciate the kind words. :)

Sarah Pearson said...

Darn it, the baby just about finished me off. Nice one!

Carrie Butler said...

Your encouragement means the world to me, Joylene. Thank you so much! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Yelena! I enjoyed your entry, too! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Stuart! :)

Julie Musil said...

Wow! Nice angle! You write beautifully :D

Carrie said...

Beautiful and so sad! Great job!

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, C.B.! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Aww, thank you, Siv! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Ah, isn't that what they say? "Once a mom, always a mom." :) Thank you, Amber!

Deniz Bevan said...

Ohh, so sad. So good, but so sad. The poor family!

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Erin! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Aww, thanks, Treelight! :D

Carrie Butler said...

Isn't it, though? I think that's my favorite part of these challenges. I love seeing the different directions everyone takes the prompt. :)

Thanks, Claire!

Carrie Butler said...

Oops. Sorry about that, but thank you! :)

KSCollier said...

Truly heartrending. Very well written. Good story.

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you so much, Angela! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Jennifer! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Alexia! :D

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Lori! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Sarah! :)
(It almost finished me off, too!)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Julie! I really appreciate that. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Name-twin! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Poor family, indeed. Thank you, Deniz! :D

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, KSCollier! :)

Gwen said...

Man this is amazing.

digillette said...

Wow, nice work! So emotional!

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Gwen! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Diane! :D

Kathleen said...

Wow. Beautiful story! My heart broke while I read it.

On a happier note, I nominated you for the Sunshine Award=)

Arlee Bird said...

Good job. The descriptions were beautifully rendered. The story impact was powerful.


Lee (#126 on the Campaign Challenge List)
An A to Z Co-Host
Tossing It Out
Twitter: @AprilA2Z
#atozchallenge

Traci Kenworth said...

Fantastic!!

Steph said...

Great Job! I liked it!

I'm number 125

Rossandra said...

Well done, Carrie, very evocative.

Written Words said...

Cheer up, Carrie! How does a ghost hit a keyboard? ;-)

Vicki Orians said...

Wow. That's all I have to say. This was great! :)

Melissa said...

I'm going over to cast my vote...if I can see through the tears clouding my vision to click the right icon. *sobs*

Dang, girl. Who sucked the happy ever after outta you? LOL

Sally said...

Heh, you are so holding me to that :P
If you must know, I just opened up a Tumblr account (yeah, I know I'm late...But better late than never!) and I'll probably test the waters there first, get an idea of what I'll be doing...Soon-ish ^_^

Dawn Malone said...

Love this! Heart-wrenching but beautifully written.

Carrie Butler said...

You betcha! ;)

Nice! That's a step in the right direction! The writing community/blogosphere is super supportive. You'll love it, I promise. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Oh, wow. Thank you, Kathleen! :D

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Arlee! I appreciate that. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Traci! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Steph! I'm making my way there! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Rossandra! :D

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks for stopping by, Scott! :) As for the ghost thing, I have no idea...

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Vicki! :D

Carrie Butler said...

If you think this is bad, wait until you read what I have planned for the sequel to Strength...

*Cough* I mean, thanks, Melissa! :D

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Dawn! :D

Trisha said...

This was fabulous, but yes, NOT FAIR! Poor family :(

C.M.Brown said...

Wow, so many comments! Carrie you have a wonderful way with words. You certainly know how to draw out emotions! Excellent!

JD said...

Brilliant. "Vows were meant to last longer than this." I jumped to the lesser, more obvious, conclusion at this. Made the impact of the ending even stronger. Well done!

jonesingafter40 said...

Heartwrenching and beautifully written!

Natasha Hanova said...

Great job Carrie. Like the use of the pic too. Really helped draw me in. I'm gonna go read something funny now. :-)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Trisha! Poor family, indeed. :(

Carrie Butler said...

I'm overwhelmed with the response/support. Everyone is just so stinkin' nice! :) Thank you, C.M.!

Carrie Butler said...

I'm so glad to hear that! Thank you, JD! :D

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, jonesingafter40! :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Natasha! I can't blame you there. The first thing I did after writing it was hunt down something happy/funny. ;)

Donna K. Weaver said...

Definitely depressing--but well done! Now I'm going to have to go get a tissue.

*sniff*

Sue Ann Bowling said...

sad, but beautifully written. (#172)

Sally said...

I will be holding you to that!;P

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Donna! I'll be sure to leave some tissues out next time. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Sue! :)

Peggy Eddleman said...

Such great emotion in this piece! Amazing job, Carrie.

Gina C said...

Hi Carrie! Good news! You made it to the next round with your flash fiction piece! You've been short-listed to move on to stage two :)

Stay tuned for more info on Rachael's blog.

Congrats!
Gina
(new follower)

Carrie Butler said...

Thanks, Pegasus! :D

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Gina! I really appreciate that! :D

Mark Koopmans said...

Aloha Carrie,

Wow... got me some goose bumps with that one (the baby was a *great* twist.... OK, now I sound like a mean old fart!!

PS.. thanks for the follow, and am doing the same :)

T.D. McFrost said...

This was amazing Carrie! I really felt her passion.

I was going to short-list you to move to round 2 but Gina always beats me to the punch. Damn you Gina! :D

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you very much, Mark! (You don't sound like a mean old fart. *grins*)

You too!

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, T.D.! :)

Weird. I didn't think two judges would have the same "territory". Oh well. It's the thought that counts, right? *grins* Thanks, anyway!

James said...

Very good! I realy got captured by it and I realy felt their gloom, even though I'm not sure what was happeing exept for that it was their last day.

I understand. Night time always puts me in a gloomy mood. I suppose it helps though if your trying to make a gloomy scene.

I'm #121. Check it out if you want.

Angela Ackerman said...

Very emotional, Carrie! Great job. I am so awful at shorts, and I admire people who can pull it off. :) Well done!

Angela

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, James! I'll be right over. :)

Carrie Butler said...

Thank you, Angela! I'm not very comfortable with them yet, but these campaigns have been the perfect excuse to practice. :)

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