What the Mourning Brings (Variations, in the key of Numb)


First things first:

I have a guest blog up at Polka Dot Banner: Driving Traffic to your Blog via a Fiction Series

It’s a bit(more) about how I write, and why I’ve been so sporadic lately. Hope you enjoy it.


Second things second:

Thanks to Lisa at Woman Wielding Words, I found another prompt challenge. This time, it’s the 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups.

Pretty straight forward: you get a prompt (this week the prompt is the word Wednesday); you get to write a piece that must include that word in the 100 word allotment; you have until Monday, February 6th to post; add a link back, check the other participants out, and voila. 100 words.

What the Mourning Brings (100 Words)

A cold, wind driven rain confronted Cassie early Wednesday morning. Leaving the hospice, she craved for any feeling other than numb. Cassie had held her father’s hand all night, praying for a chance, a difference. It happened; a little after five. The machines screamed flat line.

Cassie clung to the cold hand, bowing her head as tears streamed down her face, dampening the bed sheet. She was aware of the others only when they pried her hand from his. Cassie left the words of condolence, shucking them off, as she slipped out of the building.

She saw the truck coming.


Third Things Third:

Bluebell Books Short Story Slam Week #20, is hosting a challenge to write a story in 55 words.  I’ve used their prompts before, and JUST got this in my email:

we challenge you to write a short story or a poem in exactly 55 words, you have about 4 weeks to work out your entry, the submission is from today to February 31, 2012, which means you have enough time to make your effort, this helps you improve your creative writing skills by restricting your word counts in 55 words.

I’m taking this one step further for myself: to trim the same story I wrote above by 45 words.

What the Mourning Brings (55 Words)

A cold, wind driven rain confronted Cassie; craving any feeling, numb. Cassie held her father’s hand all night, praying…the machines screamed flat line.

Cassie clung on as tears streamed down her face. They pried her hand from his. Cassie left words of condolence as she slipped out the hospice.

She saw the truck coming.


No challenge, except to myself…

What the Mourning Brings (a Haiku)

Numb is how I feel
Withered prayers; Condolences…
The truck comes to me

37 responses »

  1. I’ve been there; sang, laughed and smiled. That’s what my father wanted a happy homegoing, as he called it. It was happy for him and for just a minute after he went home, I was happy for him because I knew he wasn’t hurting anymore, but the right after when you walk in the door of your house and you realize you’re all alone, you start wondering why you’ve been left behind.
    This was so well done and brought so many emotions to the surface; little orphan girl feelings, abandonment, hurt, grief and bewilderment. It’s only a very powerful poem or story that can do that and you did it in 55 words. Awesome! Be blessed.



  2. Stuart, Quite a feat. You managed to pack emotion, action, poignant description, and a twist into 55 words. Takes skill. Loved “withered hands” and Haiku.


  3. This is an interesting example of a skilled fiction writer. I often do this sort of thing with my non-fiction; excerpting the important bits and re-purposing it – this morning I turned a magazine article into a Sunday school lesson – I had not thought of doing it with fiction. I like the way that all the versions retain the kernel of the story. Brevity has never been my strong suit (witness this comment) so I doubt I’ll be ready to take these challenges any time soon. But it’s good to know they’re out there. I’ll book mark them. Thanks!


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