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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Gerry's Legacy

Rachael Harrie has posted the first campaigner challenge. Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.  If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count)

For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!

Gerry's Legacy

The door swung open.  “Oh Lord,” she cried.  Water percolated at the base of the granite steps.  In the twenty years they’d lived in the Lodge House the river never swelled beyond its banks, but four days after this tropical storm began, the stream morphed into a running quagmire of trash and debris.  Tree branches swirled in the eddies, a license plate stuck to particle-board floated like a directionless raft. 
    
The memory of Gerard King, the “Paul Revere” of Exeter, exhorting citizens to approve a tax increase to retro-fit the dam, circled in her brain like the plastic milk jug floating by her front door.  With his pony-tailed hair down to his waist, torn shirt and leather moccasins, he’d stand up at the mike every year, hollering, “No, the river hasn’t overflowed in over 30 years, but it is only going to take once.  That berm was built before World War II.”  Each time, engineers in their navy rep ties pulled out analyses of weight-to-water ratios, convincing townsfolk the berm was safe.

As she looked across the raging torrent to the cemetery where Gerard was buried last week, a rumbling vibration shook the house.  Behind her the door swung closed.

If you like my post, click here to vote.  I am #329.

25 comments:

Old Kitty said...

Oh wow. Poor Gerard. People ought to listen really!! I love your take on this prompt - it's totally totally different!! Good for you!!

Take care
x

Kathryn Magendie said...

Oh! love this!

Catherine A. Winn said...

Super, but poor Gerard. I want to know if it was foul play!!

Angelina C. Hansen said...

Sounds rather true to life. Sad, sad situation.

Helen Ginger said...

Very good! Loved the entire story and the ending was just scary enough.

'Yellow Rose' Jasmine said...

Very nice! So many elements in such a short and quirky story. And so relevant.

bridget said...

I'll bet a lot of people can relate to this right now. Well done. Mine is #72

Anne Gallagher said...

Have I ever read your writing ? I mean besides what you write on your blog? I don't think you post much of it here do you?

You really should. This has the same stick-in-your-gut- quality that your personal writing does.

The first paragraph as setting, really brought it home what TS Lee is doing up there. I see the pics on the news, but the license plate stuck to particle board got me. My brother has them in his garage.

The Second Paragraph. Well, I actually cried. I knew someone like that. Where I used to live. I know you based your Gerry on someone you know too. He's real, there're a lot of Gerry's back home. His backstory, his ideology, his death all in 4 sentences, including what he looked like. Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

Your last line is incredibly vibrant. ...a rumbling vibration shook the house. And the door swung closed. Gave me chills.

Liza, you have such a talent, such a gift for the written word. You really should show it off more often. Bravo.

Cheryl said...

Wonderful write.

Tabitha Bird said...

awesome. Good challenge!

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

This is great, Liza! And so timely given the recent amount of water in our neck of the woods!

Ann said...

Oh Liza this was wonderful. Taking the flooding and using it this way. Well done. Poor old Gerard didn't live to see his predictions come true.

jbchicoine said...

It's always such a pleasure (aside from that twinge of jealousy) to read your writing. Just love the visuals you plant, like "...circled in her brain like the plastic milk jug floating by her front door..." Perfect!

Lydia K said...

I love how totally different these entries all are! The water is a character itself in this. :)

Wine and Words said...

You did a great job of telling a filling story on the brevity of words. Satisfying and short. Perfect for an impatient one such as myself :)

The Golden Eagle said...

Your story hits close to home--there was severe flooding in this area (our basement got flooded), though the dam didn't fail, thankfully!

My entry.

Steph Sinkhorn said...

Hello - I'm one of the judges for the first round of this challenge. I'm here to let you know that you've made the short list to go through to the next round. There will be another semi-final and then a final round before the winning entry is selected.

Congratulations!

Ann Best said...

I see you're in the next round. Hooray! This IS an excellent flash story. Hope it makes it through the next round!!
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

Bish Denham said...

Ooooh, good one Liza!

Arlee Bird said...

Excellent topical treatment of this challenge. The I-told-you-so messengers are unwelcome to many before the fact.

Lee
Tossing It Out

storytreasury said...

Poor Gerard! The people ought to have listened!

Plus, this is timely, as so many, not recovered from Irene, are flooding yet again.

Talei said...

Wonderful! Great writing! I'll have to check out the campaign too - sounds like fun.

Alica McKenna Johnson said...

Powerfully written

N.Scott said...

Oh wow, for a moment, I thought you were going to say his body floated by.

Good use of imagery!

Amanda Milner said...

Very well done! Such great imagery.Poor guy, too bad he didn't live to see that he was right all along.
The picture you have for the title of your blog is breathtaking! Where is this??