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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Campaigner Challenge

For the first time, I'm officially taking part in Rach Writes' Campaigner Challenge.  This week's challenge is to write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. We are to begin the story with the words, “shadows crept across the wall." These five words will be included in the word count. 
As an additional (optional) challenge, we could do one or more of the following: (I did them all.)
  • end the story with the words: "everything faded." (also included in the word count)
  • include the word "orange" in the story
  • write in the same genre I normally write
  • make the story 200 words exactly!

Let me know what you think!


The Stroke of Heat 

Shadows crept across the wall.  Sunset exploded molten orange, then burned crimson.  Betta heard Papa’s voice, “Red sun at night, sailor’s delight.” Tomorrow would dawn fine and clear.  It’s funny how after a person died, they tried to convince you he still lived, though she supposed, in this way, Papa did.  His maxims had bobbed through her brain like a brook running downstream since the funeral.  Universal truths from the bible of Michael Foster. When she was little, she thought he’d painted the sun red, that he was in charge of the world.

Mama’s muttered chant, her perpetual rosary, tiptoed up from below.  “Never let the sun set on your anger,” Papa said, when she and Mama battled.  Betta gulped from the glass in her hand.  Whiskey heat pooled at her core, mingling with rage.  Mama, who hated the hold the vineyard had on her beloved husband, had given it all to the church—the fields, the grapevines, the house.  For the first time in 35 years, Bella disobeyed her father.  Tonight, fury survived the sunset. Purple strings of twilight layered the horizon. Swallowing her drink, she stared at the disappearing land she loved, until dusk deepened and everything faded.

To read more campaigner's entries, click here.  If you like this, I'd be grateful if you would go to the campaigner page and vote for me.  I'm number 112.

49 comments:

Old Kitty said...

Oh I do like your use of colours! Very powerful - very sad!! I enjoyed reading this, thank you for sharing! Take care
x

Alyssa said...

Nice job! I likes your imagery and descriptive language! :)

I'm #37 :)

Jess said...

I agree! Beautiful imagery! And very sad, too. LOVED this. Great job!

I'm entry #19

Lady Gwen said...

My dad was a sailor and he used to say the same thing. "Red sky in morning, sailor take warning. Red sky at night, a sailors delight." Very evocative language. Well done! I'm #52 and a new follower:)

holessence said...

"Whiskey heat pooled at her core, mingling with rage."

GREAT job!

Laurie Buchanan (entry #92)

Daisy Carter said...

Beautifully written - this sucked me right in!

Elizabeth Towns said...

Awesome. Vivid imagery. Great use of descriptive prose. I want to read on and find out what Betta does, and her name is unique and distinct. Love it. #115

sassyspeaks said...

that was so pretty - very visual
I'm at #103

Betsy Love said...

Great imagery and mood! I loved your descriptions. I was totally engaged with your character.
I'm a new follower and in your group on Rachael's campaign.

'Yellow Rose' Jasmine said...

This is why I keep coming back. Even when I just lurk around for a long time... sometimes your words are so powerful that I don't feel the need to add anything at all. And for me, that's a big deal. :) Truly wonderful stuff. You left me wanting so much more. You are talented indeed.

Super Happy Jen said...

lovely

Bess Weatherby said...

Oh wow. I really love the arc of this one. My favorite so far. I'm off to vote for you!

kmckendry said...

My dad also used that saying. Great use of descriptive language.

Sally said...

That's a lovely story where you've managed to convey several different emotions in such a short space of words.

David P. King said...

This piece is rather poetic. Nice one! :)

Christy Farmer said...

I agree with David and do think this is poetic. Wonderful imagery, too! :-)

Humpty Dumpty said...

It's interesting how certain words are remembered from loved ones after they are gone. The 'red sky' one is something I remember being told in childhood by my parents. Well done!

Carol Kilgore said...

Loved the "tiptoed up from below." Now I want to know what she does next.

akossket said...

I like the voice in your short. It came off quite unique to me.

Ashley Nixon said...

I really liked "It’s funny how after a person died, they tried to convince you he still lived" --so true! Very good!

Rachel Morgan said...

Very contemplative piece... And a good use of the closing words, "everything faded."

Caitlin said...

Oh my, I absolutely love how beautifully written the imagery is here! Wonderful, really loved this.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

As always, you paint such beautiful images and write with poignant emotion. Somehow, you pack a life time into two paragraphs. Well done, Liza. I think you'd be a great short story writer, although I hope to read a novel of yours one day, too.

Reena Walkling said...

Just awesome ... loved Betta's voice!

Jolene Perry said...

molten orange.

LOVE that

Journaling Woman said...

Very Vivid. I like this story!

Teresa

Robyn Campbell said...

One of these day you will be published, Liza! I truly mean that! The descriptions are excellent. So sad. I had tears. Do you write short stories? I can't remember if you do or not. You should.

Voting. :-)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Loved your opening lines!

Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

Kerri Cuev said...

A very emotional piece. Well done. Great ending.

mshatch said...

Nicely done.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Very vivid description. Nicely done.
I'm not sure how I vote though. I clicked on the page. Do I leave a comment there?

Su said...

Very well done! I'm in your campaigner group, stopping by to say hello.

Jan Morrison said...

Yes! A very compelling story. I want more...

Nick Wilford said...

Very well-written, introspective piece. You did a great job conveying her love for her father, and the equal anger towards her mother, in the short space - palpable emotion in this. "His maxims had bobbed through her brain like a brook running downstream" - that's a great line. Well done!

Nick Wilford said...

Very well-written, introspective piece. You did a great job conveying her love for her father, and the equal anger towards her mother, in the short space - palpable emotion in this. "His maxims had bobbed through her brain like a brook running downstream" - that's a great line. Well done!

BucksWriter said...

Very nice job on this piece. The use of the senses is particularly compelling and I love the sense of brooding anger.

Jennifer Fischetto said...

Very cool use of color and the rich detail of your voice.
Hi from the campaign trail. :)

Sarah Pearson said...

Talk about being hit when you're down! Poor girl. I'd love to know what she does next :-)

Amber Clites said...

Beautiful imagery and language! Great job!

Traci Kenworth said...

Bittersweet. Good job!!

E.J. Wesley said...

Beautiful imagery!

I think you'll love the challenge and all of the great folks you'll meet. One of the best blogfest 'things' going, in my humble opinion.

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

Wow, that is powerful. I get a really clear impression of Betta's pain. Well done!

Elizabeth Twist said...

Lovely exploration of your character's situation. You used your 200 words to great effect.

Catherine A. Winn said...

I'm not doing the challenge but thoroughly enjoyed coming over and reading your entry!

Melissa said...

Nice entry. Love the imagery. = )

I'm #149
melissamaygrove.blogspot.com

clarbojahn said...

This is my second comment as google ate the first one. Hope this one goes better.

I love the visuals in your story and think it well written. :)

Stephanie Allen said...

You had such lovely visuals in this piece. I liked it =)

C.M.Brown said...

How sad, but lovely! Well done!

Sylvia van Bruggen said...

what a beautiful sad little tale. Loved reading it