Saturday, May 2, 2009

250 Word Story Challenge

Yesterday on Twitter, @CaseyDamnMorgan, @SpankinResource, and I decided to challenge each other to write a 250 word story. There were only two rules:

1) Post the story by 6pm PST Saturday night. (That gave us approximately 25 hours.)
2) Try to include the wildcard words or phrases that we each submitted. The words chose were as follows: "green willow," "loose thread," and "hairbrush."

The rest was up to us. A few others got in on the challenge as we created it. I'll post links to them as I learn of the postings. Visit the blogs listed at the end of this post to see other challenge submissions.

The following is my own submission, based on a dream I had a year ago about Pandora telling me she'd "dreamed about the linden tree again." The story, as stories do, took a different direction than I was expecting, and it's quite difficult to tell a whole story in 250 words. It's more like trying to write a poem in sentences. Still, I think I'm happy with the result, and am interested to see how the others do, and whether we make this a regular event.

Liese told me her dream as soon as she woke beside me, even though I was still half asleep. She pressed against me, stroking my night-matted hair, one bare leg draped over my thighs, her foot tucked under my calf. She whispered:

"It was the linden tree in bloom again, Marie. The flowers should have been white, but they were violet, like this," she touched the amethyst birthstone I always wore on a silver chain around my neck, "or like this." She reached back to touch the backs of her thighs, which I knew still bore plum stripes from the caning she'd received at the hands of her other lover.

The first time I saw her marked like that, I felt sick to my stomach. Her obvious pain tugged at the strings of my heart and found a loose thread. I unraveled, that first time she stood naked and truly bared before me.

"Your hair," she said then, grabbing a hairbrush from the bedside table and beginning to brush the knots from my tangled mess. "Anyway, I was lying under it, holding tendrils of green willow, waiting for you and Aaron to join me. Aaron had promised to whip me with them. You'd promised to braid them into my hair. Wind rushed the tree, raining me with petals. I knew neither of you were coming."

I wondered how long I had before she told me she was leaving us both. One more dream? I remained silent and prayed for two.

Visit these writers' blogs for more 240-250 word story challenge entries. (I think a Twitter typo somewhere along the way turned it into 240 words for half the participants, but that's ok.)


  1. Wow you are truly a gifted writer. You can get all of that detail into 240-250.

  2. Lovely, Abby. Reminded me in a charming way of Anais Nin. I liked how alive it was, alluding to these other lovers and the whole constellation of implied characters surrounding these two women.

  3. Beautiful and haunting. I'm captivated.

  4. This is beautiful. Someone else has mentioned Anais Nin; the other poet it reminds me of is Sappho. Something about the juxtaposition of delicate, stylised floral imagery with real, tangled human emotions. And the subdued kinky notes in this are perfectly pitched; I think if you'd focussed on them any more it would have lost some of its power.

    Linden ... I have said this before and I will say it again; you are a witch. I am going to write about this separately, I think. x

  5. Lovely, Abby. So seductive.


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