Short Story #1
So I just did this writing contest through Writer's Weekly. Every season, they offer a short story contest where they provide you with a block of text that you have 24 hours to create a story around. In the past I've gotten honorable mentions. This time, I'm aiming for first place (humbly and hopefully). The Spring topic was as follows:
"Bluebonnets danced around her white skirt as she turned her
face toward the sun. She only needed a few for the vase.
Perhaps a little joy would soothe the inevitable unease at
the table that night. It was always tense when meeting with
her neighbors. She hoped enough time had passed. They had to
know there was nothing she could do to change what had
Now you have exactly 24 hours to create a story around said topic. You don't have to include the exact text, you must only touch on it, to prove your story was not pre-written and was creatively derived from the subject matter/text above. Here is my story:
She took a deep inhale of the fresh Spring air. The sun warmed her. The birds sang. Bumblebees buzzed. The vibrantly colored tulips, bluebonnets, and cherry blossoms gave off a sweet scent in the air. Dragonflies gave each other a tight, competitive race. The white, puffy clouds snuggled the bright, blue sky. New life and reawakening surged around her. It was hard for her to believe this could be the setting of a battlefield. This isn’t how war scenes looked in the movies. There was no dry heat, dust, and barrenness. The grass in front of her was a lush, healthy, emerald green, sparkling like bladed gems. Her mission was clear. She was meant to deliver a message. A message that could very well decide the fate of all the lives surrounding her. A message she knew she’d risk it all to send. But she had a warrior’s heart and the soul of a tigress. A rainbowed butterfly fluttered past, just grazing her ashen cheek. She let out a dry chuckle. Ironic. Who knew beauty could be so macabre? In the distance, a fortified defensive unit towered over her ominously. It stood out like a fly on a wedding cake, albeit strategically positioned. She was at a severe disadvantage.
Taking one last deep breath, letting her quiet surroundings arrest her lungs with final fleeting peace, she advanced forward. The dense, rich soil beneath her tattered shoes padded her footsteps. It had been hours since she’d encountered the Rebels last. She hoped enough time had passed. She hoped they’d be willing to—
A loud, rattling battle cry punctured her ear drums. It sounded from the looming fort. She froze, paralyzed and exposed. They’d seen her. Just like that.
Something sliced through the air in a flash. An object hurtled towards her with the speed of a bullet. It connected with her rib cage with a blow that sent ripples through her torso. A burst of icy wetness exploded feeling like shrapnel on her skin. The impact made her dizzy. Something red splattered on the grass. The sharp contrast of colors made it look like Christmas in Springtime.
Instinct drew her face towards her gut wound, but before she could see what hit her, another burst of cold pierced her left temple. Liquid drenched her face, rushing like a current into her mouth and nose. Water? Was she being water boarded? All of the air left her lungs. She choked and sputtered, grabbing at her throat. Doubled over, another blast ravaged her. She dropped to one knee, using her left hand to balance her weight. She couldn’t be defeated so soon. A series of coughing spasms seized her being, tearing through her core relentlessly. Though uncomfortable, they helped the water exit her lungs. She rose from the ground, determined and took another step. Then another.
Alas, she’d made it to the gate enclosing the domineering fort. She was officially crossing the border from No Man’s Land into Rebel territory.
She was so close. The words of her message formed in the back of her throat, arcing under the roof of her mouth, lacing through her teeth. She could feel them desperately wanting to escape.
“Fire!” Someone bellowed. She peered upwards just in time to see an arsenal of darts, so many they blotted out her view of the sky. These small missiles combatted gravity. They’d rain down on her like daggered droplets resulting in a dismembering effect. The way they floated so gracefully reminded her of light foam pellets. The juxtaposition spoke to that rainbowed butterfly that’d kissed her cheek what seemed like decades ago.
She was too vulnerable in this state. She tucked and rolled under a nearby sycamore tree. The missiles landed all around her, littering the grassy plane. They hissed, steam rising from them. The speed at which they were falling drove them into the dirt inches deep. The tree protected her. Feeble relief flirted with her for the briefest of moments. What lasted was the frustration rushing with her blood like a furious river.
She needed to climb the tree to get a better view. Aerial coverage would give her the advantage that she needed.
But her plan was foiled.
When she reached the top of the tree she was met with six unblinking eyes. Glinting, hungry.
The Rebels. Three of them.
It was time for a Hail Mary. She had to make a move and fast. She raised her hand towards the sky in a swift motion. She jutted out her pointer finger confidently. She wagged it.
The Rebels heeded her warning. One of them closed the lid on a cooler of red water balloons. The other two dropped their neon orange Nerf guns to the ground with a clatter.
At long last she stated her message clearly and boldly:
“Dinner. Is. Ready…” She raised her voice for dramatic effect, for the final defeating blow that would render the dinner table with tension and unease, “…And it will be a technology-free zone.”
The Rebels surrendered their treehouse fort to their mother. The white flag waved. Their shoulders hunched under the weight of their failure. She’d conquered their neighboring battalion. She’d won.
Well, there you have it. I wanted my story to be lighthearted because I figured everyone was thinking about some wild affair, murder, or the pandemic. And we've had enough drama with everything going on. Let me know your thoughts, and if you want to sign up for the Summer Topic, let me know! I'll happily send the link! This contest is a blast!