Welcome to the one hundred and thirty-eighth in this daily series that is ‘5pm Fiction’.
Late April 2011 I discovered http://StoryADay.org and the project that is to write 31 stories in 31 days. Anyone who knows me or follows this blog, knows how passionate I am about short stories so my clichéd eyes lit up at this new marvel. And just a few days later there I was, breathing life into new characters. This went on to become (with some editing of course) my 31-story collection eBook Story A Day May 2011.
I was nearing completion of the 2012 project when I decided that I didn’t want to stop at the end of May so 5PM Fiction was born. I put a load of prompts on the 5PM Fiction page and today’s was to write a second person viewpoint story with the following keywords (taken from http://creativecopychallenge.com, their #141): sheet, energy, beat, stupid, doughy, speck, void, vein, conscious, jovial. Here is my 378-worder.
“You’re as white as a sheet,” Mark says.
You do feel a little pale, devoid of energy. “I do feel a little… well, beat,” you reply.
“Oh yes,” you reply, feeling stupid.
“Your skin’s all…” he continues. “How do I put this nicely? Doughy.”
He’s made his point, you think, and wonder whether he’s hinting at you to go home. But he’s the boss, he could just say so. Tell you to your white doughy face.
“There’s something on your top,” you say, hoping to feel better by pointing out one of his flaws. You feel this to be the most innocent of a very long list.
He looks down at the speck and blushes. A dark contrast to your pale hue. “I’m trying a new shampoo,” he says and you realise now what the white speck is.
“Well, your hair looks very healthy for it,” you lie and want the ground to open and for your size 8s to take you down into the void.
You see a vein pop out on his neck and realise that it wasn’t blushing that was making his face go red. “Are you alright?” you ask but before he can reply he slumps to the floor.
Scraping your chair back, you crouch down beside him and put a hand above his mouth, palm down, to check for breathing. You’re relieved when your palm feels warm.
Having established that he’s conscious, you get up (even in his condition you don’t feel well enough to leap) and phone for an ambulance. Your office is near the hospital so it doesn’t take long.
By the time it arrives he’s sitting up and talking but he’s got a nasty rash on his neck.
If I knew that, you start to think, but then tell yourself off for being so mean.
“Oh dear,” the paramedic continues, “nasty rash you have there.”
Mark smiles at her, looking somewhat embarrassed.
“New shampoo?” she asks.
You watch in silence as the couple gaze into each other’s eyes. If you didn’t feel queasy before then, you certainly do now.
Photography courtesy of morguefile.com. You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore, Kobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me. I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.
Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.