Wednesday, April 18, 2018
WRITING--AND READING-- "SHORT" CAN SPARK YOUR IMAGINATION--by Cheryl Pierson
Growing up, I don’t remember having “cabin fever”—I was always able to entertain myself with indoor activities—coloring, paper dolls, board games, reading, and yes, even writing. This winter I was asked to participate in a little fun exercise that was very different, and not my “norm” for my writing self.
The story was to be a western historical very short piece. Two sentences were given: The shot rang out. I heard her scream at the same time the bottle crashed to the floor.
These sentences had to be used in this exact form—without any modification. The only “change” that was useable was the fact that they could come anywhere in the story, as long as they came together as shown here. And the story must be 500 words long—no longer. Mine came in at 497—and let me tell you, that was not easy for me!
Also, keep your eyes peeled, as there'll be one of these coming out each quarter. I just got my copy today, and plan to settle in this evening and see what everyone else wrote with their 500 words. My imagination took off, and I know my co-authors' did, too.
I had such fun with this! Here it is—see what you think!
Two men, waiting for something. One of them is in for a huge surprise. What about the other one? Will he make it out alive?
I CAN WAIT by CHERYL PIERSON
FROM: THE SHOT RANG OUT!
“Let’s see…‘The shot rang out. I heard her scream at the same time the bottle crashed to the floor.’ That’s your story, right, fast gun?” Marshal Ferris smirked as he moved closer to the chair where his prisoner, Johnny Kilgore, was tied.
“Yeah,” Johnny muttered through split lips, blood streaming from the busted nose Ferris had given him. “It’s my story because that’s how it happened, pendejo.”
Ferris shot him a wary glance, unsure if he’d been insulted.
Johnny looked toward the narrow, barred window just in time to see a small hand disappear. Seeing things? Hoping for a miracle… He shook his head to clear it in the stifling air.
Ferris leaned down close, blocking Johnny’s view of the window. “You killed that woman, and you’re gonna admit it, you son of a bitch. We got all night. I can wait.” Ferris cracked his knuckles. Another vicious uppercut rocked Johnny’s head back. “You’re gonna write your confession.”
Who was the kid outside the window? Damn…why even think of that? I’ll be dead before midnight. There’s no help coming. No miracle for me…not this time… Wrong place, wrong time, just once too often…
He’d killed—but he’d never murdered a woman—especially not this one. Maria Lopez had been little more than a girl herself—and her scream from her upstairs room had been one of pure terror. By the time Johnny’d gotten to her, she was already dead. She wasn’t going to tell who did it, but Johnny had a fair idea from the dogged way Ferris kept after him about a confession.
Ferris crossed his arms. “It’s gonna be a long night. I got a powerful hunger. You just sit tight—I’ll be back after dinner. Just in time for you to confess…before you try to escape, and get killed doing it. Think about that while I’m gone,” he chortled as he walked away toward the outer office, banging the door shut like a death knell.
Johnny slipped his hands through the loose knots of the rope Ferris had tied him with. He untied his ankles, then stood and stumbled to the window. He told himself he didn’t believe in miracles anymore, but a pistol had been placed on the sill inside the bars—if that wasn’t a miracle, he didn’t know what was. He broke it open to be sure it was loaded. Six bullets.
“Señor.” The husky whisper with a hint of tears came from the outside wall. “Marshal Ferris killed my sister. I beg you…”
“Lo siento, m’ijo,” Johnny answered quietly. “I’ll do what I can. Thank you for this.”
The small hand appeared again, laying a hatpin on the ledge. His “key” to the cell door. Johnny smiled, even though it hurt.
One last miracle was his tonight, and with a little luck, he’d be halfway to the border by sunrise. After he killed Ferris.
He settled in behind the door. It's gonna be a long night. But I can wait…
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