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Friday Flash – “Pilgrimage”

 

  He was winded from the long hike up the mountain.  It had been easier as a young man.  He negotiated the overgrown path, had an uncertain moment with a dislodged rock and his cane.  There was a rest-worthy rock just ahead, he remembered.

He had sat there with her over fifty years ago and admired the way the wind at this altitude danced with her hair.  He gazed down at the weathered slab of granite, her bones sprinkled over the surface like crumbs.  Over fifty years… And he’d still gotten away with it.

 

100 Words…doesn’t seem like much, but once you’ve got them down there are a few touch choices to make.  Jason Gurley offers these three vital questions to ask yourself before considering if you’re Flash Fiction is truly complete:

  • Is there a definable plot?  By this, go back to the comment made by Guzman. Can you identify the three simple parts of this story? Do you have a clear beginning? A strong centerpiece? A definitive ending? If you don’t, you’ve got nothing more than a snippet of a larger story. Start editing.
  • Does your story make its point and drive it home, hard?  Most flash fiction stories, due to their abrupt beginnings and sudden endings, leave the reader breathless when finished. Though not all stories need to be forceful to fit into this small genre, it is a trend that has followed flash throughout the years. Still, if your story doesn’t have that hard-hitting theme and end by smacking into a wall, don’t worry; it’s not a necessity.
  • Is every word absolutely essential to the story?  Or have you left unnecessary sentences here and there, or maybe a few unneeded descriptives? “The quick brown dog jumped over the lazy fox” is a vivid way of stating the facts, but think of it this way: You’re writing this story from margin to margin. Those margins are solid walls — there’s no going past them. Give yourself five lines, or ten if you’re less daring, and consider the first and last line your floor and ceiling. To tell your story, you’ve got to make the most of the space. “The dog jumped over the fox” leaves you with much more room to move forward, to expand.

Want more Flash Fiction? Visit these Friday Fictioneers for more 100-word heaven! (If you have a flash fiction piece to share, please leave a link in Comments!) You can also visit the originator of the photo prompts, Madison Woods, or follow the gang on Twitter – #FridayFictioneers.

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30 thoughts on “Friday Flash – “Pilgrimage”

  1. I love twisty tales, and had a hint of what was to come, but with short fiction likethis, you barely have the time to catch the hint before the twist turns your mind.

  2. These prompts definitely bring out the twisted side of our minds! A great piece of writing that draws us into a potentially heartwarming memory, only to turn it completely on its head.

  3. I started out reading your story and was instantly put in mind of a really heartwarming scene from a movie called ‘Into the Wild’ where a sweet natured, lonely old man is cajoled into climbing a small mountain by his newfound friend. And then you deliver the sucker-punch. Which, in all fairness, I should have seen coming 😉
    As you can no doubt tell, I found this to be evocative and very well written. Well done 🙂

  4. Agree with all above – and I just finished telling My Cup of Tea how they were the first ones ot write a crime thriller this week – and you’ve gone and written a murder Ballad!
    Good job on it, too.

  5. That’s second entry so far that’s caused me to break out into a big grin at the end. The twist is always at its most effective when you don’t see it coming, and like a lot of other commenters, you got me! His remembering “the way the wind at this altitude danced with her hair” was a nice touch, too. That one line had my mind going in a completely different direction, giving the final reveal extra clout.

    Thanks for the advice, too. I’ll keep all of that in mind for next time.

  6. It’s interesting that this one prompt is so varied for different writers, and not so macabre like this. Your last two line certainly drove home the point, before which it all seemed so ordinary and introverted.

    Definable plot, certainly. Every word essential, yes.

    Honestly, I was surprised mine didn’t turn out more like this. But I think it’s still got sense of it. Mine’s here:

    http://littlewonder2.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/100-words-flash-fictioneers/

  7. Dear Karen,

    After last week I was on my guard and immediately suspiscious of your kindle old man, and rightly so, as it turns out. Did your story hook me? Yes. How do I know? Because as I’m typing this I am wishing that the old geezer trips on his way down and bleeds out from a compound fracture of his femur. So there.

    Good job, Karen.

    Aloha,

    Doug

  8. Another story with a twist ending. This one blew me away, because you got me sympathizing with this fragile, old man…worried he would slip and fall. Then romantic memories of her hair in the wind…lovely. POW! You got me! The old geezer is a murderer. Didn’t see it coming. NIce work. Here’s mine:
    http://www.triplemoonstar.blogspot.com

  9. LOL, you really tricked me too. Like someone else above said, the line about her hair at that altitude was coup de gras for me. Didn’t even see it coming.

  10. Urgh… I want to be the detective who puts him away. Creepy! Yet somehow you crawled into that space that makes us want to know more — who is this person? why did he kill this other person? It’s just too interesting to walk away! Great job, lady.

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