I had a lot of fun with the challenge of the 150-word flash fiction story last week, and I wanted to try again. There’s something really rewarding about whittling down the story to its core. What do you think?
Challenge: 150 word story
Using: 10/20 words: ladder, witness, prefer, alarm, kissed, clutches, seldom, orchard, excavated, arrangement, shrinking, heart, scythe, surrounding, tendency, mischief, misgivings, satisfy, drops, faithful
All words are taken from The Poetry of Robert Frost, edited by Edward Connery Lathem
The wooden ladder lay abandoned in the orchard, soaking in the dew. No sign of Lucy. Peter fought his alarm.
Often, they had kissed and shared tender clutches under the apple trees, but when Peter spoke of marriage, Lucy shook her head. Still, Peter was faithful.
She was supposed to meet him here.
Heart full of misgivings, Peter approached Lucy’s home. Her father was just exiting.
He turned. “Peter? Bit early to call.”
“Is Lucy inside?”
“Haven’t seen her. Must’ve risen early to pick apples.”
“Yes, sir. Only, I came through the orchard—she’s not there.”
A shadow crossed his face.
They searched. When Lucy’s father saw a ribbon speared on a branch, he sank to his knees.
“It’s my fault, Peter. I made an arrangement. I signed his book, in drops of blood—he gave me money for the farm. Said in eighteen years, he’d take his payment.”
* * *
If you liked this story, check out my first attempt, “The Song in the Night.” If anyone would like to try this experiment with these words or some others, I’d love to see your results in the comments section!