A fall in the park – some pieces of flash fiction

A fall in the park – some pieces of flash fiction

Hello, friends!

This month I’ve been going through Jonathan Babcock‘s 1 Month of Creative Writing Exercises, and I’ve really been enjoying them!

The other day I was supposed to write three completely different scenes, where someone trips and falls in a park, then rolls over to find someone smiling at them. I got a kick out of writing these, and I hope you enjoy reading them, as well!


#1

“Sully! Is that you?”

Oh, no. That voice is all too familiar. I roll over on the sidewalk and see the suave smile I’d hoped never to see again after the day I walked out of Century High with no honors.

“Jared!”

Good heavens, he doesn’t even have the compassion to extend a hand to help his old high school rival. His carefully-arranged facial features never shift as I grunt and heave and shove myself into an upright position. I brush the dead leaves from my hair and shirt, wishing I was one of them. “I haven’t seen you in forever.”

“Evidently not much has changed.” Jared brushes an imaginary leaf from his own immaculate shirt sleeve.

#2

The little girl rolled over, tears starting in her eyes. Her knee was burning, and no doubt bleeding from the sudden contact it had with the walking trail.

“Hey, are you okay?”

The boy standing over her couldn’t be more than six years old. Orange hair poked out at random from his hastily-donned cap, and his green eyes expressed concern.

“Uh, I think so…my knee really hurts.”

“Gee, it really hurts when you skin your knee. I did that the other day, and I couldn’t run right for a while.” The boy got down next to her and looked at the wound. “Hey, it’s not that bad! My mom’s right over there; she’s got some bandaids.”

#3

“Hey, do I know you?”

Dave sure hoped the girl didn’t. He hastily scrambled to his feet, wincing a bit as his scraped knees protested the movement. He took a closer look at her. “Uh…”

“Youth group!” She pointed in sudden realization. “You’re the new kid! David, was it?”

“Uh, yeah!” He squinted, and she grinned. 

“Kathy.” She shifted the backpack she had slung over one shoulder and stuck out a hand. “Nice to meet you again! Are you okay?”

“Just scratched.” David took a closer look at the girl and decided he better not play up his injuries. She looked like she could fight a bear and come out victorious.

Which story was your favorite? Do you enjoy writing exercises? If you’d like to access the resource 1 Month of Creative Writing Exercises, click here to subscribe to Jonathan’s newsletter!

❤ Laurel

Photo by Lynn Danielson on Unsplash

Break of Dawn – Flash Fiction

Break of Dawn – Flash Fiction

The cliff soared high above the churning lake below, its face rugged. The jutting rocks were perfect for giving fallen explorers a false sense of hope in their dire situation.

Without help, they had all lost their hold.

The young woman clung with her fingers and feet to the most prominent holds she could reach, sweat trickling down her spine in the cool of the evening. She clenched her jaw and adjusted her grip.

“Daddy…please…”

Of course, it was her fault that she’d fallen. He’d told her not to go anywhere near the edge of this cliff. But he loved her; she knew that. He loved her like no one else would ever love her.

He would come.

She knew he would.

Fingers aching, she glanced down. The moonlight shattered and glinted on the face of the roiling water, mocking. Boasting. Beckoning.

Don’t look down.

Her father’s voice echoed in her ears, and she tilted her face to the sky. Studded with stars, it brought memories rushing back.

“Can you count the stars, sweetie?”

“No, Daddy. I keep trying, but there are too many. They keep going on forever and ever!”

“They do, don’t they? Just like the way I love you.”

She had giggled and snuggled close to him. His beard had been rough and comforting against her cheek, his arms strong and safe around her. “I love you, too, Daddy.”

“I know, sweetheart.”

Tears glistened with the sweat on her face now. Did he still know she loved him? Even as she clung here, fallen from the precipice he’d marked off-limits? What would he think if they found her body in the lake far below? Did he have the same confidence in her love as she had in his?

“Daddy…” she whimpered, burying her face in her shoulder. Her muscles screamed. Her fingers ached. “I can’t hold on much longer…Daddy, please…”

The lapping of the waves on the shore far below was a taunt, loud in the silent night. The waves had closed over many wayward souls. She had shaken her head with her father as the rebels had neared the cliff’s edge, dancing closer and closer to destruction. She had cried and prayed with him for wisdom for the prodigals…

And now she, too, had fallen.

She tried to close her mind to what had led her to this place, but her memory dragged each image before her eyes, refusing to let her drown the past in obscurity.

There had been dancers on the cliffs. Beautiful, skilled, other-worldly. They had caught her up in their dance and drawn her nearer and nearer until she’d forgotten where she was. Finally, she’d gotten close enough to grasp one of them…

Her fingers passed through him like he was a mist.

Ghosts. She’d been chasing phantoms.

By then, it was too late. Her toes were already clinging to the cliff’s edge, and the horror of her discovery sent her reeling. She fell, screaming, over the edge, and mercifully found a hold on its face.

Or perhaps it wasn’t mercy. Perhaps it was judgement, giving her ample time to reflect upon her misdeeds before falling to her death – like so many other fools – into the lake below.

“Forgive me.” Her words were a gasp. “Daddy…”

The world blackened, and the stars burned like beacons. Streams of sweat ran into her eyes…or perhaps they were tears? She couldn’t tell anymore. She couldn’t hold on anymore.

“Daddy…please…”

He would come. She knew he would come. She just had to hold on…hold on just a little longer…

Minutes felt like hours. Hours felt like decades. Her muscles felt like fire.

The night crawled on, agony in its essence. She clung to the rock face, her lips moving in silence.

He loves me. He will save me. He loves me. He will come.

As dawn broke in the east, his voice boomed from the top of the cliff. “I’m coming, love.”

What happened next, she could never remember. All she knew was that she awoke in her father’s arms, in the safety of their castle, with love smiling at her from his eyes.

“It’s all right my daughter.

“It’s all right.”

“God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.”

Psalm 46:5b

Photo by Billy Pasco on Unsplash

Reposting “Beyond a Shattered Past – Flash Fiction and Raw Thoughts”

Reposting “Beyond a Shattered Past – Flash Fiction and Raw Thoughts”

Hello, friends!

In last Monday’s post, I said I would be sharing a recap of the writing retreat I attended last month, but, alas, the week was full of other adventures (such as writing a prologue for my new WIP [!!!] and having my guitar accidentally stolen by a band) and I didn’t cut out enough time to write the post.

So here is a post that I shared in January. I still get goosebumps reading it. If the weight of guilt and desperation is weighing heavy on you, this piece is especially for you. It’s my prayer that it gives you hope and a glimpse of God’s redeeming light. ❤

Beyond a Shattered Past – Flash Fiction and Raw Thoughts

What adventures did this week hold for you? I always love hearing from you in the comments!

-Laurel

If I Were Him – Flash Fiction (written by my sister!)

Hello, friends!

I’m really excited to share today’s post with you all…because I really love it, and because my sister Abby wrote it! I think it’s the perfect piece for Holy Week.

I enter the room. I’m a servant, so I’m allowed in here.

The men at the front draw my attention. There is Caiaphas, the high priest, tall and regal, with a stern face, his hands clenched into fists at his side. Near him are the scribes and elders, and the whole council, all talking in excited voices. But the One I am most focused on is the One who is bound. The One at whom the others cast spiteful looks. There is something in His face…a calmness that I cannot place. They are trying to accuse Him, and I know why. They want to put Him to death because He claims to be the Son of God. They are afraid He will turn the people away from obeying their rules. This is why I wonder at His look. He should be upset, fighting for His life. But He’s not.

They start to bring in false witnesses and I watch with wide eyes as they all try to accuse Him. The Man, whom I’ve heard them call Jesus, does not speak. Then they ask Him a question, and He lifts His head. Could that be? A smile on His face? No, it must be the light. He begins to speak, and I strain to hear, but all of a sudden there is scuffling near the door, blocking out His voice. I turn, irritated. A man enters, breathing hard, and he tries his best to silently move to the fire at the far end of the wall where several servants are gathered. His eyes keep flitting to the arguing group in the front, and as he turns his head, something dawns on me. He seems familiar, like I’ve seen him before…but where?

Oh, yes! I’ve seen him with Jesus in the streets. He is the one that would be pushing the crowds away so there would always be a clear path for his teacher. I’m curious about how much he would know about Jesus, and I edge my way closer. He turns when I tap his shoulder. His eyes are wild, but they calm when he sees I’m only a servant.

“You were with Jesus,” I blurt, motioning at the bound Man.

He glares at me. “No, of course not. I have nothing to do with Him.” Other servants crowd around, but he fights them off, insisting he knows nothing about Jesus. He leaves as quickly as possible, and I wonder about that.

If I were a follower of Jesus and were able to follow Him freely through the streets like I’d seen others do, I wouldn’t have denied Him. I glanced at the front again. No, a Man that speaks such wonderful words and performs such amazing miracles I would surely give my life for.

Little did I know that that very day, He would give His life for me.

Question of the day: What would you have done if you were a follower of Jesus on the day He was crucified?

Empty Reflection – Flash Fiction

Empty Reflection – Flash Fiction

It was the kind of forest to which one fled when one’s soul was full of pain, fear, or secrets. His bore all three.

The wild crashing of his boots through the underbrush calmed as his strength waned. He was not a weak man; muscles strained beneath the sleeves that the saplings’ fingers had shredded, but even the simplest of village doctors knew that losing too much blood could kill the strongest man.

Especially a man who had lost his will to live.

He slumped against the nearest tree and slid to the ground. Twigs and dead leaves crackled beneath him. He closed his eyes and groaned, gasping for the breath that drove daggers through his lungs.

His hair – not trimmed in months – fell across his face in a matted mess. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d combed it. Since…that day…he’d seen no reason for caring for himself.

No reason for living.

He groaned again, almost a scream this time, as the pain intensified and blurred his vision. The trees that filtered dying sunlight gave way to smeared browns and greens, swirling in a dizzying dance. He blinked and the blur cleared into a face.

Her face.

He gasped with pain again, and something in him kept him from shaking her image from his mind.

“Gable.” The memory of her voice was gentle, quiet…urgent. Her eyes held onto his, and once again he saw in them their pleading.

Her pleading.

“Gable…you are more than this.”

He clawed for his leather knapsack and dug in the front pocket. His blood-crusted fingers closed around something, and he yanked it up before his eyes, staring. Staring at the piece of himself reflected in the tiny mirror.

He forced himself not to wince. He made himself take in the dirty hair, the beard full of leaves, the young scars, the bloodshot eyes.

He met them with bold recklessness, staring deep into the eyes as though searching for a treasure he’d buried there long ago. Desperate for some affirmation that her words were true…that he hadn’t lost the last hope of being the man she’d believed he could be.

He searched in agony.

He couldn’t find it.

This time the groan was a roar, and he flung the mirror away. It shattered against the rock face that rose before him, and he turned his face away, gritting his teeth.

“You know I was right, Fern. You know I was right.”

Delirium carried his mind away, taking it on a wearying journey through pieces of his past. He saw again his mother, laughing and applauding as she watched him fight off imaginary enemies with his wooden sword. His father teaching him how to adjust his hold on the sword, how to lunge, how to thrust, how to twist the blade just so.

And Fern. Ever Fern.

Laughing with and at him. Listening to his wild stories, his clumsy jokes, his deepest fears. Calming his soul. In the reflection he’d caught in her eyes, he’d seen a hero. A bold warrior. A worthy man.

“This is not who you are, Gable!”

He remembered the flash he’d rarely seen in her eyes. Anger. Righteous anger. It had snapped in her eyes and lit a kindred fire in his heart.

“You tell me who I’m going to be?”

He’d stormed off without her…but a piece of him hoped she was right.

Even in his delirium he tried to shove away the memory that came next. His groaning rose, and he gasped her name.

“I never meant…I never meant to leave you for life…”

The trees swirled into darkness, and miles away, even more years away, he saw two teenagers: young, clueless, blinded by hope.

“I will always, always be there for you, Fern. Always.”

He had never seen eyes so trusting. “I know you will, Gable.” The breeze carried her voice now from years ago… “And I’ll be here for you.”

“Where are you now?” His scream bounced off of the rock face. “Where are you now?”

Screaming at her ghost felt better than acknowledging his own broken promise…for a moment. But silence – as always, now – met his question, and he sobbed.

“But I couldn’t…I couldn’t have protected you. I couldn’t have saved you, Fern…”

Some enemies, he’d learned, could not be fought off with a sword.

I wrote this one from the prompt words mirror, iliad, empathy, blood, toss, and crack. This was meant to be a stand-alone flash fiction piece, but now I want to know more about this story! XD

Photo by Tom Morel on Unsplash

Beyond a Shattered Past – Flash Fiction and Raw Thoughts

Beyond a Shattered Past – Flash Fiction and Raw Thoughts

She stared at the bloody shards in her hands.

Pieces of a life shattered by selfish choices. Foolish choices. The weight of a broken world was hard enough to bear when it was thrown by the choices of others, but this…this guilt…

It crippled. It crushed.

It condemned.

She clenched her fists in agony, the shards digging deep into her palms.

“Let them go.”

Her head turned slowly towards the voice, the ghost of her soul peering through tangled hair and teary eyes. “Let them go? But I…I can’t. I can’t…”

Didn’t He know what it was to bear such guilt? She’d brought this on herself…she had to bear it now.

“Let them go.”

Eyes still warily searching His face, she let her fingers uncurl, and the shards shattered at her feet. A few had lodged themselves deep in her palm. Her gaze questioned, and He nodded.

“Yes, even those.”

Her face knotted and tears flowed as she picked out the last of the shards and let them go. They glinted sanguine light, but she turned her face from their allure and saw His smile.

He offered His arm. “The wounds will heal in time. Now we walk.”

Tears sprang afresh as she eyed the broken road ahead of her.

“I did this, too,” she choked, and buried her face in His shoulder.

He held her close and let her weep. Stroking her hair, He whispered,

“What glory will rise from walking an easy road?”

Scripture and history are ripe with the stories of legendary sinners who shook the world for God.

After letting his life be defined by cowardice, a tongue-tied murderer stood up to his country’s most powerful ruler, led his people for decades in the wilderness, and spoke face to face with the Lord as a friend.

A track record of selfishness, disobedience, and a disastrous love life left a hero blinded and in chains. God still chose to use him to bring vengeance on His enemies.

One of the worst examples of a righteous woman you could find, she opened her home and protected the lives of complete strangers on a mission to destroy her city. Forsaking all she’d ever known, she chose to follow God and joined the lineage of the Messiah.

God chose Moses. God chose Samson. God chose Rahab.

God chose you.

Your broken story may not bring you glory. It may bring you shame. Guilt. Feelings of worthlessness.

Fight them.

You aren’t defined by your past. You’re defined by the One who humiliated Himself and gave everything to love you, pursue you, and win you for eternity.

That. That is your worth.

You’ve been freed to serve in victory and live like a treasure.

He will use your brokenness to glorify Him to the utmost. ❤

“…one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13b-14

Photo by veeterzy on Unsplash

Reluctant Hero – Christmas Edition

Reluctant Hero – Christmas Edition

Hello friends!

As promised, here is a Christmas story for you all, starring Ryan. If you haven’t met him before, go check out his previous adventures here for a little background on this story. (Although it should still make sense even if you haven’t read the previous stories.:))

This is just a goofy little piece, and I hope it’ll bring a smile to your face!😊

“Ryan! We’re going to build a gingerbread house with graham crackers and frosting and stuff!”

Cameron grabs my left hand and drags me through the doorway into the living room. “Come on! Mommy has everything ready in the kitchen!” He stares up at me, cocking his head. “Oh, yeah, Mommy told me to take your coat.”

I shrug it off and hand it to the five-year-old. He throws it over his shoulders like a cape and swoops into the kitchen screaming the Batman theme song. I shiver and take a deep breath, squeezing sweaty palms into fists.

I can do this.

After all, last time wasn’t that bad. The two and a half hours of babysitting I did for the Winters’ ended in three sleeping children, only one broken dish, and minimal scratches. I’m getting this babysitting thing down.

It’s the gingerbread house that scares me.

After waving goodbye to Mrs. Winters (once I confirm with her three times that she’ll be gone for only two hours), Cameron and Holly spin away from the front window and race for the kitchen table. I charge after them, socks skidding on the hardwood, remembering the multiple bowls of candy sitting within perfect toddler reach.

“Hey, hold up!”

Cameron bounces up and down, gripping the edge of the table. “Let’s make the best. Gingerbread house. EVER!” His scream turns into a roar, and I grimace.

“I want mine to have lots of gumdrops,” Holly mumbles, pulling her thumb out of her mouth long enough to grab a gumdrop from the nearest bowl.

“Hey, wait, first we have to build the house!” I shove the bowl out of reach and grab the box of graham crackers.

Miraculously I manage to construct one small house out of the graham crackers without their curious fingers poking it into a heap… although by the time we’re ready to decorate it, a few of our ornaments have disappeared behind two little pairs of red-stained lips.

“Dude, I’m serious, you have to stop eating the candy. You won’t be hungry for supper.” I wrestle a peppermint candy from Cameron’s sticky palm.

He shrugs. “I don’t care. We’re having chicken noodle soup for supper.” The gag that follows tells me that the aforementioned soup is not a favorite.

“Well, anyway, if you keep eating everything, we won’t have anything to decorate the house with.” I squirt a bunch of icing onto the roof of the house. “Okay, what do you guys want to put on the roof?”

“Gumdrops!” Holly yells.

“No, peppermints!” Cameron roars in her face, and I cover my ears.

“Hey, how about both?” I pull them away from each other and hand each one a bowl of their preferred candy.

“Jake’s screaming,” Holly says, poking her first gumdrop onto the roof.

“I’ll get him,” I say, jumping up from the table. “Don’t eat any more candy while I’m gone.”

It takes me thirty seconds to dash to the nursery, scoop up the butterball, and lug him back to the kitchen.

It took Cameron and Holly thirty seconds to topple our graham cracker structure and start a highly-competitive screaming competition.

I glance at my watch.

One hour and forty-five minutes to go.

Photo by Randalyn Hill on Unsplash

This Is Over – Flash Fiction

This Is Over – Flash Fiction

Gulping in desperate breaths of air, she slowed her pace, eyes darting across the shadowed forest that hunched along either side of the crooked path.

No moving shadows.

And there was the stump – standing weary guard over long-kept secrets.

Secrets that must be no more.

Her muddied boot slipped on the edge of the spade she’d brought, but finally forced it to bite the earth and turn the mouthful over, damp and clumped.

She dug until she hit metal.

She swiped the back of her hand across her forehead, smearing dirt and sweat into mud. She stumbled to her knees, seemingly careless of her best skirt. She clawed at and broke the fragile chain around her neck, letting its pendant land in her gloved hand.

The key ground in the lock, but it turned.

She pulled out the letters one by one, scrambling them all into one jumbled heap pressed against her heaving chest. As she opened each one, she resisted the urge to let her gaze sweep the graceful handwriting that curled across each page.

This is over.

She threw each one into the mud at the side of the path, coating it with a thin dusting of paper snow.

Her boots worked across the muck, grinding her past into the earth until its filth had become one with the rotting leaves and bloated earth.

She marched back the way she had come.

She never returned.

Photo by Lanju Fotografie on Unsplash

I’ll Hold Him – Flash Fiction

I’ll Hold Him – Flash Fiction

Everyone says he’s too big for me to carry now.

It’s probably true. His legs in his favorite Superman pajama pants (the ones that are way too short and ragged) dangle past my knees when I carry him piggyback, and I can’t run with him like I used to.

But I’ll carry him until he stops asking…

‘Cause I know that one of these days he’ll stop begging to be close to me. One of these days he’ll stop giving me butterfly kisses, chubby arms tangled around my neck, almost choking me. One of these days my shoulder won’t be the one he clings to and bawls on when his little heart gets broken.

One of these days he’ll think he’s stopped needing me.

I’ll hold him while I can.

Photo by Bethany Beck on Unsplash

Stop Hiding – Flash Fiction

Hello, friends! I have another flash fiction for you today. Actually, it has a very similar theme to this poem I wrote a few months ago! I hope you enjoy it.:)

“Stop hiding.”

The girl stares back at me blankly. Arms crossed, lips resting in a sullen droop. Unconvinced. Waiting for me to say more.

I hesitate, then take a breath. “How can you expect to be understood when all you’ll give them is a false front?”

“It’s safer this way.” She swallows and breaks eye contact, studying the linoleum.

“Maybe.” I stare at her and she stares back, chocolate eyes pooling with tears. “But… don’t you want people to know who you truly are?”

“Yeah, but…” she pauses, and a tear falls from her lower eyelid. Her toe traces circles on the floor.

I wait. I know her well enough to know that she’ll talk when she’s ready. And she does.

“My story isn’t worth knowing.”

“That’s not true… every story’s worth knowing.”

“Mine isn’t.” Another tear splashes onto her dusty foot.

“But… what if… other people have stories like yours? And they need to know they’re not alone?” I wrap my arms around myself. “What if you’re the one who needs to let them know that?”

Silence aches on for several moments. I can hear her breathing… deep, searching breaths facing down near-terror. She watches more tears paint damp circles on her toes.

Finally…

“Okay.” She sniffs and blinks, her fist smearing tears on her face. “I won’t keep hiding.”

I nod and turn away from the mirror.