ENGL 210: Introduction to Creative Writing

Attentive Resistance Fall 2019

Flash Fiction Assignment (due Monday 10/21 at 6pm)

This short story is attributed to Hemingway:

   For sale: baby shoes, never worn. 

1). Consider the following questions about this tiny text (you don’t need to respond on the blog, but think about it!):

What does a story need in order to be a story?

What questions does this story leave you with?

What do you think is happening beneath the surface of these six words?

Is the amount of what’s left unsaid unsettling? Interesting? Annoying?

2). Write your own super short fiction and post here by Monday 10/21 at 6pm. 

a). Your piece should be at least a sentence long and no longer than 200 words. The topic or inspiration can be anything you like.

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20 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Assignment (due Monday 10/21 at 6pm)

  1. [Don’t turn your head, Karen. He’s there. He’s still close behind.
    I can’t believe I let myself get here.]

    “I’m sorry ma’am, do you know where the E train is?” He smiles. He seems so nice.
    “Yeah, it’s right down the block on your left,” I answered, pausing my podcast. I was about to press play, but he looks like he has more to say.

    [Why did I answer? Why didn’t I walk past? I mean, for Gods’s sake I was listening to the ‘My Favorite Murder’ podcast that literally preaches that I should fuck politeness.
    But he seemed so nice.]

    “Do you mind showing me? I really don’t mean to be a burden. I just moved to New York.”

    [You didn’t want to help.]

    “Yeah, that’s no problem.”

    [Boom. Just like that, you were hit in the head, Karen. He hit you in the head with whatever metal and now you’re bleeding and you need to run. You lost a lot of blood, but you need to go. You need to live. You need him to not get away with this. You need to live.]

    “Thank you so much, you’re too kind,” he smirked.

    [He seemed so nice.]

  2. He took a sip of his brandy, let out a breath, and put the glass down. He felt someone’s eyes on him. Looking to the right, he saw a woman across the bar. When he caught her eye, she took a sip of her martini. Her red lips matched her strapless dress, which had a slit going down the side.

    He got up and walked over to her, keeping pace with the slow jazz. He took the seat next to hers. There was a brief silence.

    “I thought you’d never turn around,” she said.

    “I didn’t think the name Jack would belong to a beautiful creature such as yourself.”

    She smiled.

    “Do you have it?” he inquired.

    “Yes, in the car, out back. Follow me.”

    So he did. He followed her elegant figure as it sashayed out into the alley. He couldn’t help but stare at her behind. They got to the car, and she turned to him. She came real close to him, their lips almost touching.

    “Is this a bonus?” the man asked, expecting a kiss. Then, he felt the barrel of a gun on his abdomen.

    “No.”

    She pulled the trigger. He collapsed. The music kept playing.

  3. He was basically breathing down my neck on an empty street in the middle of the night.
    “I’m coming for you” he whispered, I pretend not to hear him and speed up my pace.
    I knew where I had to go. I climb up the three flights of stairs and unlock my door as fast as I can.

    “Mama, it happened again” as say while I weep into my mother’s arms.
    “Honey, I’ve told you countless times what you have to do,” she calmly strokes my curls.
    “I know, but I’m scared.”
    “Go baby, or else he’ll come for you,” she looks at me with that familiar smile.

    Now I know I am nearly out of time. I run out again.
    I run and run with my surroundings passing me by like a moving picture film.
    And that’s when I see him. At the end of the underpass, I see him. He’s just sitting there, parked in his car, unaware that I am there. Good. All of a sudden he starts his car and zooms out of the spot.

    “This is my chance.”

    I run out in the middle of the street and the car swiftly throws my body over the windshield.

    Finally, I’m safe. With Mama again.
    A man stands over my grave.
    “The doctor’s say it was Schizophrenia, just like her mother”.

  4. Like a falling leaf. She was lonely. As lonely as an outcast.
    But is she? That’s the question.
    Every day she would look in the mirror and softly touch the tears on her pretty face. She’s not crying tears of loneliness, but willingness to be accepted into the society. For someone to cherish her. Accept her. Understand her. Love her.
    One day she stumbled upon a dead parrot.
    “What a waste of a precious life” she whispered out loud.
    “Your life is precious too” came a voice. She looked up and it was him. One year. Five years. A decade. That familiar, soothing voice. He dragged her hand and pulled her into his arms. That moment everything stopped.
    “Welcome back” she whispered softly with her eyes full of tears. Now she was crying tears of happiness. For the first time in a million years.
    Day by day he was with her. Understanding the values of her life. The reasons for all her actions. Because I wasn’t there. She has no one but me. I want her to be happy. He thought to himself. So he promised to stay with her for eternity. Be happy, he prayed. Please be happy.

  5. She is never alone in the swamp. Her boots sink a little with every step she takes. She bats away foliage as she pushes through. She is never alone in the swamp, she knows, but still she is lonely.
    There are no other humans here.
    The forest is awash with noise—bird songs, monkey howls, the chirping of a thousand insects. “Hello,” she calls into her walkie-talkie. “Hello,” it repeats to her, in her own voice. She could not find the rest of her team. She could not find the camp site. She could not even find the damn ape. So she walks and she drinks from her canteen in turns until there is nothing left. Her legs ache and her stomach rumbles.
    A branch snaps above and something falls before her. She stumbles, shading her eyes from the light of the sunset to gaze up, into the trees.
    A phantasm sits nestled amongst the branches. All of two-hundred pounds with pads across his cheeks. He gazes down at her, with such knowing eyes. He blinks, slowly, and moves on, scrambling amongst the branches that look too small to support his weight.
    She kneels and finds a fig amongst the dirt. She eats it, nearly choking on the sweetness of the fruit, and laughs.

  6. I still look back at those times, you know?

    I often climb to the top of my house during the night, I sat and gazed at the sky. There is not much to look at in this sky…The lights of a first world country, pollutes the sky hiding it’s beauty unlike the sky I remember…the beautiful sky I used to gaze at every night.

    Maybe you were happier back then, or maybe you weren’t? Time passes by and my old self vanishes with it, there are gaps in my memories and what was important before is forgotten. Only Silhouettes remain.

    Maybe that’s why I can’t understand you? Constantly changing new memories and priorities changed you, they changed me as well.

    However something forever remains in my mind, as I look at the polluted sky I also envision the silver dots painting the sky, the sky blue gas that surrounds them with a tint of purple and the way the earth itself became a silhouette as a result.

    Because we both witnessed the same things I can still recall you, because of that I’ll keep looking at this empty sky until I find that beautiful night sky once again.

  7. There he was dancing with his hands freely moving in the air and a big smile . It seemed like nothing mattered to him anymore. I called “Patrick! Everything alright? You seem delighted and full of life.” He replied ,”Yes, life could not be better!” His voice was like an angel up in heaven delivering wonderful melodies. I asked ” What happened? There must be a reason you are acting this way.” He gave me a smirk and stared at me for a good minute. “Well I finally built up the courage you know and I am going to propose” he said. I was shocked. See Patrick was a cool guy, but quite sensitive .He was unfortunate when it came to love as things would not work out. “When will you propose to her?’ I said. He laughed and said ” Tonight at a fancy restaurant”. I just really hoped that Patrick would finally be happy. His previous relationship brought him to the verge of bankruptcy with an insane debt load. Hopefully he is not used again and chooses right this time. Love can really blind sight us sometimes making us regret it later on.

  8. I was the last to dive into the 13 ft pool. I’ve practiced for quite a while in the shallower end, while everyone else flexed their perfect treading form. As I was completely under water, I held my breath, relaxed my mussels, rose to the top and remained still. Holding the air in my chest tightly, and then exhaling, while simultaneously taking slow strokes with my legs and lightly moving my hands, in a circular motion to keep me floating. It was so peaceful. I was the last to leave.

  9. I don’t understand. How? Why? What? I can’t figure it out.
    What happened? How did this happen to me? Why did this happen to ME!
    This morning I was walking to the train like usual and now I am in a jail cell. Like what! All I can remember is that stupid old man. Wait…. old man. OMGGG, I know it all now, it was HIM not ME! They all stare at me like I’m some sort of lunatic, then the cop says “Nobody saw an older man on the scene you were the only one there.” “NOOO HE SET ME UP!” I yelled back at them. How…. How is this happening to me. I just a sweet mother trying to raise my kids that’s all. That’s what I want them all to think but when I hear the judge say “GUILTY” at the trial my soul broke. Why? Why would i throw my own children to their deaths? Why didn’t anyone believe me? I swear it wasn’t… me?

  10. They told me to stay home, “it is raining like cats and dogs”, I never stopped to think, “what if it was the last time I saw my father?”. Throughout my childhood I was pushed to be better than what I am, competitions grew less fonder, the enjoyment of it was depleting.

    I just wanted to be loved or even hear him say, “Good job son, I am proud of you.”, not “USELESS! USELESS! USELESS!… I don’t have a son, you aren’t my blood, you don’t have the urge to win the way I did when I was your age.”

    I remember getting into the car with tears in my eyes after our nightly argument of me not having expectations of what he wanted me to be. Speeding down the exact same road I take every time I am on my way to the gym, but this time I did not stop in front of the stop sign.

    White lights from the rear of my eye came closer and closer in a matter of seconds. That night I wondered how would he reacted knowing his son was struck by another vehicle? Or I was the cause of his car getting wrecked?

  11. Write something about pointless fruit. No, that doesn’t seem right.
    Backspace.
    Write about how your parents are immigrants and found the American dream. That’s way too much, never mind. Backspace.
    Exasperated and tired, I turned towards the lit candles that surrounded my desk.

    I have tried just about everything to combat this writer’s block, and with a deadline of two days I am nowhere even close to a coherent pitch. What will they think of me when I come in, a fumbling mess, trying to sell my second book, a book that hasn’t even been written to existence?

    10:40 a.m

    A prisoner of war, she used charm to get out of a tight situation, no not that. How cliché. Backspace.

    12:17 p.m

    Still nothing.
    Taking a break, I closed my laptop and scrolled through my phone.
    Light incense to get your creative flow going. Drink some hot tea, allow some natural light to enter your home.

    4:16 p.m

    I stared dumbly at the blinking line on my spreadsheet, urging me to begin writing. I have burned my tongue on my tea and the vanilla incense is giving me major migraine. I gave out a loud sigh before closing my laptop again.

  12. It didn’t hit until right after I stepped out the front door. In retrospect, I kind of sensed it was coming, but I ignored all the signs. Now, though, the consequences were catching up to me.

    I really, really needed to go.

    The time it took to unlock the door and take off my shoes and coat felt like eons. My body was a bomb ticking away, and every step I took up the stairs only made matters worse. At the top of the stairs, I crashed through the bathroom door.

    I groaned in pain, but relief as well, as strange as that is. Finally.

  13. Lorenzo Llanera
    Professor Cornetta
    ENG 210W
    10/21/19

    Some street lights hung over these roads at dawn while others stand lonely until the late night shrouds the rusting metal in its darkness. A sign, about 8 yards from the convenience shop reads “This road leads to Brentsville”. The sign was defaced a few months back, some kid reckoned it would be funny to cross out Gainesville with a bright red spray can.

    Along the porch of the convenience shop sat a man, the owner perhaps. His rustic demeanor was met with an average size, stout build. Atop his shoulders held his long face masked by a longer beard, which was not very well shaven. The stout man perched himself on a few milk crates, steadily holding a cigarette in his right hand.

    Few travelers find themselves at the convenience shop during the summer days, but along came a young man with a green duffel bag hanging across his shoulder.
    The stout man greeted the young man half heartedly,
    “Mornin’ boy.” The young man met eyes with the stout man, yet refrained from a response.
    “I said good mornin’. Boy.” The young man replied with a head nod and responded.
    “You got a light?”
    The stout man motioned the young man to come closer. Despite there being no wind, the young man cupped his hands around the cigarette while the stout man held his lighter to the other end.
    “You from ‘round here boy?”
    “No sir, I came from up north, lookin’ for some work to get myself back on my own two.”
    “What do you reckon you’re good at?”
    “Anything sir, name a task and I will do my best.”
    “I reckon I could use a hand around here, it’s quiet but I need some things done. Your hand boy. You notice you been bleedin’?”
    The young man, unbothered by the blood, put his right hand over his left arm, which looked as if it were bleeding for a while. “I cut it climbing a fence I suppose.”
    “Well let’s get you out back and wash you off before night falls”

    Some time passes until the next traveler arrives at the shop. A well shaved man in a gray suit paced up the road to the porch of the shop. The young man, seated on a bucket, had his legs up on the stack of milk crates. The man in the suit asked where Dean was. The young man covered his left hand while blood seeped into his trousers. “He went on his way to Brentsville.” The young man responded.
    “Brentsville? That city has been a ghost town for years. You sure boy?”
    “Dean don’t hire liars sir. Why don’t you come inside. It gets cold out here at night.”

    The moon was full and bright that night. Some people find serenity in that darkness. Others find despair in the pain of the loneliness of the nighttime. The young man found joy in the company. But joy is an everlasting feeling.

  14. I run down the steps and adjust my jacket. Will I even catch the train in time? I open the front-door and admire the stars. The air smells crisp. Everything begins to make sense. Suddenly, I’m haulted in my place. A text message fights through the darkness of the night. It reads, “I’m home.” As I turn the corner, I become aware of the butterflies that fill my stomach. Collecting myself, I notice a skip in my step. Blissful times have found me—yet again.

  15. Not too long ago I was in an accident. I can’t remember anything. I haven’t been able to since. Not my mother, my father, my sister, or my best friend. Everything I know is from what I’ve been told by the people around me. My “mom” and “dad.” They could be lying and I would never know.

    Today is my first day back at school. I’ve only had contact with my family and friends who have visited me. I’ve tried to remember. Every day I hope I wake up and remember. I don’t.

    Imagine having no memories at 17.

    All week I’ve been laying in bed, in the same pajamas, catching up on rest. Not that I needed much rest. All ended up okay, except for my brain.

    My mother laid out my “favorite outfit” for my first day back at school. I put on a cozy knit sweater and loose, ripped overalls. I slip on a pair of worn, white converse that my mother says I used to wear every day.

    I’m sitting on my bedroom floor, and I pick up the laces. I can’t even remember how to tie my own shoes.

  16. She stared through the window of the eerie looking shop. She stood there pondering whether to go in or not her eyes focused on the beautifully decorated walls, dark calligraphy danced off every corner, tempting her to go in. A list of pros and cons running through her head like the end credits of a good movie. A tall boy with a huge smile waved at her managing to trespass her personal thought bubble. She took the first step towards the door without hesitation as if an encouraging smile was all she needed. Her cold hands reached for the door handle, shaky, and self conscious she looked around as if this were a secret hideout no one knew about. She stepped into the night sky, the shadows on the walls adhering to her cold arms. “Welcome back” the boy spoke and she laughed at her own prejudice.

  17. So she’s a little late, it happens. But she couldn’t help but think about how it feels like her mistakes we’re building up against her. She wouldn’t be surprised if her boss though she didn’t care, when really this was the first time in a while she was genuinely trying her best to keep up.

    Life’s funny like that, when you finally try to overcome that obstacle that is you, it throws more to make it feel like you can never be bigger then your flaws.

    But she wasn’t gonna let that hold her back, she was gonna stay positive. She was exhausted but she genuinely enjoyed her job.

    That is until her laptop suddenly slows. and before she knows it, everything she’s typed up is gone.

    “Webpage not found.”

    The simple text on the white page, stares into her, choking her. Amazing, that’s real time irony right there.

  18. It was just two past midnight when woman enter old style bakery. The place has a vintage vibe to it. The place was just about to close-down for the night. Workers were cleaning the cases. It was a long exhausting night for all the staff members. A large amount of the merchandise were sold out.
    When one of the workers ask the woman
    ” Can I help you ”
    the woman didn’t answer just continue walking with ignorance. As a child living by her own rule.
    She was a tall woman about 6.4. Blond curly hair that come down to here shoulders. Her makeup all messed-up. She is wearing strapless sleeve dress with a high heels. A heels that she couldn’t walk because of her mental state. She seem tipsy. She is all by herself wondering around the bakery as if trying to find a way home.
    Staff notices abnormality woman behavior wandering around the store. One of them call the manager.
    Young woman open one of the refrigerators with cheesecakes. One of the staff behind the counter say
    ‘I’m sorry ma’am,you cannot take the cake by yourself’
    ‘ I just want a cake ‘
    ‘ i can help you ‘
    Young woman take the cheesecake from the refrigerator ignoring staff. Holding it with one hand. Start eating with her fingers stuffing her mouth with the cheesecake. The manager comes down to the store. He approaches the woman taking the cheesecake from her hand and telling her that she has to leave. The woman passed him walk to the cafe area and sit by one of the table. One minute later she fell asleep. The manager called the police.

  19. Ashley’s Flash Fiction:

    Characters

    As way to help her deal, she leaned on her favorite characters, books, movies, music, family, and friends. She moved between them all; and they worked until they didn’t. But that was fine by her; she didn’t need to lean on them anymore.

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