May 2016 - 3 Flash to 1 Short Challenge - Week 4 (Final Week)

Here at WordTrip, we have monthly 'overall' writing challenges (not necessarily every month).

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May 2016 - 3 Flash to 1 Short Challenge - Week 4 (Final Week)

Postby JillStar » Sun May 22, 2016 10:26 pm

Get ready... get set... go!

Ready for week #4... this is the last week of the May month-long challenge. At this point, it is your challenge to bring all of your previous flash fiction stories from the challenges below into one story finale'.

IN THIS LAST CHAPTER OF THE CHALLENGE, there really isn't a word count minimum or maximum. At this point, you can turn your story into something much bigger than the first three. Primarily, though, the goal is to create a short story which can be up to 7500 words that includes all of your stories combined into one..

Here are your options for May's month-long challenge, part 4. Pick the next portion of whichever challenge you chose last week. When you have finished each week's prompt, feel free to create a thread here in the Word Trip Monthly Writing Challenge area and keep posting each one as you go. You can post your rough drafts, finished drafts... or none at all. ;)

Each week a new prompt of the challenge will be posted. Write a Flash Fiction piece with a total of a 100-1000 words each. These will be three separate Flash Fiction stories based on the prompt that is posted each week.


FIRST OPTION

Paragraph Prompt – Use the given paragraph as inspiration for the weekly story prompts leading to a mysterious conclusion. There will be weekly prompts to go along with the paragraph.

There wasn’t time to react the way one would react if given the opportunity to think about the entire situation. With everyone’s eyes turned with anticipation and uncertainty, there were only moments and those moments were ticking fast.

Week 1– Write a fictional story based on the above information using third person point of view. Give this story an ending but leave a hidden mystery for later.

Week 2 -Write a story from the viewpoint of another character in the first story showing a completely different version of what happened. Make this character someone unknown in any way to the main character in the first story. Give this story an ending as well and leave the mystery intact, perhaps adding more to it.

Week 3 – write a story of something happening in another part of town (or area) that involves a family member or a friend (or something to this affect) to the main character in story 1 or 2. Make it known that there is a connection, perhaps hinting to a possible solution to the mystery or not mentioning it at all. Give this story an ending as well but keep in mind there is more to come. If this does not work with what you've created so far, be even more creative.

Week 4 – In this final installment, bring a connection to all three of the main characters at some point in the future (a day, week, month, year, etc). Solve the mystery. Make this last part work for what you've created so far.



SECOND OPTION

The Mixed Up Inspiration Challenge – a Hodge podge of prompts leading to a climatic ending!

Week 1 - Pick up a book and turn to chapter 17. Use the chapter title as inspiration to write your first story. No title to chapter 17? Use the 17th sentence instead. Add one or more of the following to your story as well…

a. “These steal toed boots are killing me!”
b. He was older than yesterday by a dozen years.
c. Jumping was the only way to save his/her life.

Week 2 - Use the following character description to write your second story. Put him into a situation that can link him to the first story.

This character is surly and aggressive and has shifty eyes. He was made to work in the family sweatshop and was educated by running errands for Vinny. He married badly and he has a chronic phobia of heights and confined spaces.

Week 3 - Use one of these plot ideas for your third story. Mention a character from one or both of your previous stories.

a. A runaway teen interviews a demoralized drug addicted outlaw.
b. A sensitive 39 year-old woman and a 74 year old-woman are at a marina. A secret recording has been made in this story of deception.
c. A routine blood tests shows two family members are not related in this story of greed.

Week 4 – In this final installment, show a connection of all three stories sometime into the future or even explaining their pasts. Use one of the following…

a. She looked around quickly, to see if anything had been taken.
b. Someone must have seen him, because the police were at his door.
c. As he took in the view from the 20th floor, the lights went out all over the city.



THIRD OPTION

Journey Through Life Prompt – use the prompts to show the progression of life for a group of individuals. What is the moral of your story?

Week 1 – Use ONE of the following groups to begin your journey. The first story should end at a point in life where a new journey might begin.

a. Four boys sitting on a log near a stream throwing rocks and/or fishing
b. Three girls lying in the grass watching the clouds float into different shapes
c. A variety of young children all playing baseball or another sport

Week 2 – Use one of the following groups to continue your journey. You might want to use the one that goes along with the first story or pick another to wrap up a bigger story later.

a. Four men in their 20s heading out to the camp ground where something unusual happens causing an epiphany for one or more of them.
b. Three women in their 20s coincidentally at the same location are reminded of their friendship and decide to make some changes.
c. A variety of people in their 20s pick up where they left off as children and create a team that go on to compete in ways they never imagined.

Week 3 – use one of the following groups/situations to continue your journey. Remember, you can pick any of them but there is to be a moral to your story in the end.

a. Four men in their 40s after years of separation find themselves compelled to meet again and come to some enormous conclusions. One is going through divorce, one is experiencing health issues, one is just tired of mowing the lawn, and one has lost his parent to Alzheimer’s disease.
b. Three women in their 40s after years of living in the same neighborhood and going through many changes get together one night and have a séance.
c. A variety of people in their 40s at war with each other.

Week 4 – Use one of the following groups/situations to finish your story. This is the end… whether a good or bad ending.
a. Four men over 60 – where are they now? Living, dead?
b. Three women over 60 – where are they now? Living, dead?
c. A variety of people over 60 – where are they now? Living, dead?




FOURTH OPTION

Roll of the Dice Poetry Challenge. Writing three poems using the weekly prompts (1 poem per week) with a final poem to bring them together.

Week 1 – Use one of the following prompts to write your 12 stanza poem (with or without rhyme). Extra challenge… roll a die to determine which one you will chose.

a. Word Prompt: time, single, burst, view, pocket, shadow, wild, sunset
b. Déjà vu… again and again
c. You took a wrong turn and ended up…

Week 2 – Use the following information to create your second poem.

Part 1) “on the porch, across the lake, down where the grass grows, where he lives”
Part 2) Roll your dice and add both number into your poem

Week 3 – use the following picture for your next poem. Use the word “dice” in your poem.

Image

Week 4 – Roll the dice (literally). Be honest!

a. First roll of the dice… use the number on the die that is furthest from your body. This is the line number (starting from the top of your poem) from your first poem (week 1) that you will use as the first line of your new poem.
b. Second roll of the dice… subtract the smallest die from the largest (re-roll if you rolled doubles). This is the line number (starting from the bottom of your poem) from your second poem (week 2) that you will use as the first line of the second stanza of your new poem.
c. Third roll of the dice… add the two numbers together and then turn the dice over. Add the next set of number together. Now what? Choose 1, 2, or 3 then go to 4.
1. Divide (round up), add 3
2. Multiply, subtract 2, add the numbers together
3. Ignore rolling the dice completely and just use the number 7
4. Once you have made your choice from above, look at your third poem and use the last word from the line associated with this number (from the top or the bottom) or some other math.
d. No more rolling… finish up your poem using all of the items above.


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Re: May 2016 - 3 Flash to 1 Short Challenge - Week 4 (Final Week)

Postby JB » Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:52 am

This is what I have started so far this morning for the week four of May's challenge. How do you feel this is going? Does it propel you forward?

I'm trying to determine which way to go...does it end tragically? Happy? Even though I initially thought I was going to go for a happy conclusion to this, it seems my brain has been talking to my knee and it wants a tragic ending. :cry: What a difference a week makes.

The hour was still early when the large man sitting at the bar sucked down his third bourbon.

“Another,” he said, slamming the glass down on the bar. “Make it a double, TJ. And this time, don't put any ice in it.”

“Another double? Don't you think you've had enough? Hell, it ain't even noon yet.”

A voice came from behind the man sitting at the bar.

“Give me what he's having, Tom.”

Two pairs of eyes glared at the tall, pretty Fijian who had just come into the bar.

“Sure Miliana.” Tom Jetsu said angrily as he put a glass of bourbon in front of her. “You may want to talk to your friend, here, though. He's had enough.”

“I'll vouch for him, TJ.” She downed her drink. “I'll drive him back to the hotel...”

“I don't need your help, Milly...”

“Um...yes. Yes, you do, Herb.”

The burly ex-Marine started to protest.

“I won't take no for an answer, Herb. You've been through too much. I know it was hard, but to go through what you and the others endured on Mara Vagu...well, let's just say, I understand...”

“You don't understand anything, Mil.” Herb began, his words slurring. “I just want to forget....the whole...god-damned business.”

“You're a hero,” Miliana said putting her hand on his shoulder. Herb pulled away from her touch.

“If I was such a hero,” Herb said, sounding as if he were choking. “Everyone on that island would of...no. Damn-it, should of come back.”

He slammed the empty glass on the bar. “Another, TJ.”

Miliana saw Herb's haggard face. Tears were streaming down his scrubby cheeks and onto the worn teak bar. It looked as if he had spilled a drink.

TJ shook his head and eyed Miliana. She nodded at Tom and the bartender poured Herb another double.

______________________
The plane's engine wasn't reponding.

“I'm gonna shove a stick of dynamite up your ass, if you don't start, NOW!!”

As if in answer, the plane started. Sluggishly at first, but then the propellers came to life.

“Atta, girl.”

Miliana breathed a sigh of relief. She had her phone in her hands about to call her base for back up.

With a bit of shaking, Betty-lou plowed through the waves.

“Can't you make this bucket of bolts go faster?”

Wal looked over at his friend. “You want the stick, Mil?

“Shut-up. Just get us there! I just hope we're not too late!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“'Mr. Bartley,'” she had begged him as the island disappeared from under them. “I don't swim good.”

He couldn't tell her he was afraid. “'I'll stay with you, Amy,'” he had promised the terrified child.

Now they were in the water and help was no where to be seen. The boat should have been back hours ago. Herb cursed under his breath as he grasped Amy's shirt sleeve and pulled her toward him.

“We're going to be alright,” he said as calmly as he could. “Don't struggle, Amy, we're going to get over to the raft. Get on my back.”

Amy clung to him as he paddled towards the raft. It could only hold a few people, but Herb was determined that the youngster was going to be one of those.

“Get the women to the raft, I have Amy!” He yelled out over the waves.

No one answered.

Herb started to panic. The force of the suction when the island went under had been strong and even a strong swimmer could have been pulled down, let alone a weaker one.
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Re: May 2016 - 3 Flash to 1 Short Challenge - Week 4 (Final Week)

Postby JillStar » Thu Jun 09, 2016 11:12 pm

Hey JB... this last part is very intense and had me hooked! I think you're doing very well. I'm all in favor of a happy ending to this one... or at least an ending that has some people saved. You could perhaps leave a little mystery regarding one or two of them.

I like it so far!!
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Re: May 2016 - 3 Flash to 1 Short Challenge - Week 4 (Final Week)

Postby JB » Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:54 pm

Thanks, Jill. Still working on it. Soooo...you want a happy ending, does ya? :twisted:

Does it confuse the story that Herb and Miliana are in the bar...then i go back to the island? hope not.
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Re: May 2016 - 3 Flash to 1 Short Challenge - Week 4 (Final Week)

Postby JillStar » Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:25 pm

Is there much time between being at the bAr and island?
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Re: May 2016 - 3 Flash to 1 Short Challenge - Week 4 (Final Week)

Postby JB » Tue Jun 21, 2016 9:49 am

Hi, Jill. Sorry for the delay.

I've been thinking about it and I think a few weeks to a month for the timing between the island incident and the bar. Does that sound feasible? I want it to still feel as if it were fresh in Herb's head and he is yet to start (but maybe ready?) to start the healing process. But, I also may want to have something happen to where he has to go back to another island near Vagu....maybe there is someone else(?) there waiting for him.

I'm back this morning with local writing group. Hope to get the story to some conclusion (soon).
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Re: May 2016 - 3 Flash to 1 Short Challenge - Week 4 (Final Week)

Postby JB » Thu Jun 23, 2016 3:21 pm

week 4 – In this final installment, bring a connection to all three of the main characters at some point in the future (a day, week, month, year, etc). Solve the mystery. Make this last part work for what you've created so far.

Now, I have done some revisions and am looking to do more. I even may change the island sinking to the Jarl II sinking after Captain Carl picks them up ...i don't know yet. This has gotten away from me like the duck story which I still need to bring to an end.

The hour was still early when the large man sitting at the bar sucked down his third bourbon.

“Another,” he said, slamming the glass down on the bar. “Make it a double, TJ. And this time, don't put any ice in it.”

“Another double? Don't you think you've had enough? Hell, it ain't even noon yet.”

A voice came from behind the man sitting at the bar.

“Give me what he's having, Tom.”

Two pairs of eyes glared at the tall, pretty Fijian. 

“Sure Miliana.” Tom Jetsu said angrily as he put a glass of bourbon in front of her. “You may want to talk to your friend, here, though. He's had enough.”

“I'll vouch for him, TJ.” She downed her drink. “I'll drive him back to the hotel...”

“I don't need your help, Milly...” 

“Um...yes. Yes you do, Herb.”

The burly ex-Marine started to protest.

“I won't take no for an answer, Herb. You've been through too much. I know it was hard, but to go through what you and the others endured on Mara Vagu...well, let's just say, I understand...”

“You don't understand anything, Mil.” Herb began, his words slurring. “I just want to forget....the whole...god-damned business.”

“You're a hero, Herb,” Miliana said putting her hand on his shoulder. Herb pulled away from her touch.

“If I was such a hero,” Herb said, sounding as if he were choking. “Everyone on that island would of...no. Damn-it, should of come back.”

He slammed the empty glass on the bar. “Another, TJ.”

Miliana saw Herb's haggard face. Tears were streaming down his scrubby cheeks and onto the worn teak bar. It looked as if he had spilled a drink.

TJ shook his head and eyed Miliana. She nodded at Tom and the bartender poured Herb another double.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The plane's engine wasn't responding.

“I'm gonna shove a stick of dynamite up your ass, if you don't start, NOW!!”

As if in answer, the plane started. Sluggishly at first, but then the propellers came to life.

“Atta, girl.”

Miliana breathed a sigh of relief. She had her phone in her hands about to call her base for back up.

With a bit of shaking, Betty-lou plowed through the waves.

“Can't you make this bucket of bolts go faster?”

Wal looked over at his friend. “You want the stick, Mil?

“Shut-up. Just get us there! I just hope we're not too late!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Scanning the horizon, Herb swam towards Amy who was trying to swim to the raft, which was almost twenty yards away from where the island had been.

“'Mr. Bartley,'” she had begged him as the island disappeared from under them. “I don't swim good. Can you stay with me?”

He couldn't tell her he was afraid. Afraid of the dark churning water.

“'I'll stay with you, Amy,'” he had promised the terrified child.

Now they were in the water and help was no where to be seen. The boat should have been back hours ago. Herb cursed under his breath as he grasped Amy's shirt sleeve and pulled her toward him.

“We're going to be alright,” he said as calmly as he could. “Don't struggle, Amy, we're going to get over to the raft. Get on my back.”

Amy clung to him as he paddled towards the small yellow craft. As far as Herb could tell, I looked as if it could only hold a few people, but Herb was determined that the youngster was going to be one of those.

“Get the women to the raft, I have Amy!” He yelled out over the waves and praying for someone to reply.

No one answered him.

NOTE: this is a part I am not sure about: ***Herb started to panic. After the last quake they had felt, the island had disappeared from under them. The force had been strong and made the military veteran afraid that even a strong swimmer could be pulled down, let alone a weaker one. He could only hope that someone else would make it to the safety of the small life raft.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

“You sure I should be giving him more, Mil?”

“No. I'm not.” Miliana sighed. Herb was looking worse and the last drink sat where TJ had put it.

“Herb? Herb...” She put her hand on the man's shoulder. This time, he didn't pull away. “Common, Herb. Let me take you back to the hotel. You need to get some rest. Amy's mom is coming in this afternoon and she wants to talk to you...about what happened to Amy's uncle. I need you sobered up.”

Herb's chin was on his chest.

“Or as sobered up as I can get you.” Miliana continued. “TJ, give me a hand and help me get Herb to the car, please.”

“Sure thing, Mil.”

Together they poured the vet into her small car. Herb was asleep before the seatbelt could be fastened across his lap.

“Mil, call me if you need me to close up for a bit to help you with him.”

“Nah, I got it. I'll call Nguyen at the hotel. He'll help.”

“Okay. Let me know how it goes with that girl's mom. If I can do anything...”

“I'll let you know, Tom. Thanks.”

As the bartender went back into the Driftwood Bar, Mil put the car into gear and felt her back tires slipping on the oyster shell covered parking lot. Herb didn't even wake up when she hit the large pothole that was at the entrance to the paved road.

Damn that TJ...he was supposed to get this fixed ...

Miliana looked over to her passenger. Herb was out cold...even hitting that hole that probably ruined her rim didn't wake him.

Sadly, Miliana knew that she had tried everything but threatening her passenger to get over the events at Mara Vagu. No one would of come out any better or convince the military man that the outcome could have been different. Now Herb was drowning his sorrows over something that most would consider shear heroism on his part.

To Miliana Song, Vagu aside, there seemed to be something else bothering Herb. Something darker than what had happened on the island. He seemed panicked when they were rescued from a drifting raft. Conversations with him after they were back on Fiji, Herb had mentioned something about Amy's father. He clammed up after that and wouldn't elaborate further.

The bumpy parking lot of the Hotel Paradise, known affectionately as The Dive, greeted them she reached over to Herb and shook him awake.

“You're home, Herb. Hotel Paradise.”

Herb mumbled. “Paradise? You're kiddin'.”

Rain had started coming down hard. Perfect.

“It's a dive. That's why people refer to it as such.”

Miliana looked over to him. He sounded almost sober.

Herb seemed to read her thoughts. Sitting up straight in the seat, he stretched.

“Mil. Done a lot of drinking in my time. Takes a lot to get me sloshed and less time to sober up.”

“I know. I counted how many drinks you had.”

“I'm sorry to have put you out like this.”

“Not a problem. I don't mind at all. We'll go get your car over here later.”

Herb smiled appreciatively. "Thanks, Mil. You're a gem".

“You okay to get to your room? I was going to have Nguyen help."

Herb stared at the oceanographer as he stepped out of the car.

"Mil, I'm fine. Mr. Nguyen is asleep by now and I don't need his help. See you in the morning, Mil. Thanks again.”

As he crossed the small parking lot over to his room, Mil saw him take something out of his pocket. He opened the door and took a gulp out of a flask. Staring back out at Miliana, through the rain, she saw him toast her with the bottle and slowly closed the door.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

The sun had already dried any trace of the storm the night before when Miliana drove up to The Dive. She saw Herb's rental that she had driven back last night from the bar with JT in tow. Miliana could only hope that her friend would be in better spirits.

She started to knock on Herb's hotel door and to her surprise, the warm breeze swung the door open. Song stepped back at first and then poked her head into a darkened room.

“Bula?” Miliana called out in Fijian.

“Hello?” She said again but still got no response.

Slowly she entered. He was always up by six. “Herb? You still asleep?”

Glancing around the dark room, she tried to see the bed. “Herb? Really, it's almost nine. You really tied one on...”

She had reached a light and switched it on.

“You need to get up and get something to eat. It'll make you feel bet..."

With the light on, Miliana stared at the bed. Empty. Clothes were strewn everywhere, lamps on the floor and it was a mess.

Song closed the door to the room and quickly walked over to the hotel's restaurant, hoping that her friend would be there. She was relieved as she spotted Herb tucked into a far corner booth of the cafe. He looked a bit hung over and still hadn't shaven.

“Hey,” was all she got when she sat down.

“Hey?” Miliana smiled at Herb. “That's all I get? No “thank you”?”

“For what, Mil? Last night? I was fine.”

“Not from where I was standing, Herb.”

Herb shrugged. “I could of driven back to The Dive myself.” He drained his large coffee cup. “Don't need a babysitter.”

“I need a coffee, Marty,” Miliana called to the waitress behind the counter and then quietly looked at the man across from her. “Could have fooled me and T.J. You had a lot to drink and we were worried.” Can we talk about this?”

“About Vagu, I assume.”

“Yes. About Vagu.”

“No, Mariana. I have another problem now.”

Song laughed. “Would this have anything to do with your room being such a mess?”

Herb looked questionably at Miliana. “Mess? I left it as I always do...”

“How long have you been here, Herb?”

“At least an hour...Marty will tell you I've been sucking her crappy java down...”

“On his sixth cup, already, too.” Marty snorted from behind the counter, obviously angry from Herb's comment about her coffee.

“Seven. But whose counting.”

“I just came from your room, Herb.” Miliana continued. “It's a mess...”

She hardly got the words out as Herb got out of the booth and took off out the door.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“What were they looking for?” Miliana stared as they picked up lamps and sheets from the floor of Herb's hotel room.

“This.” He pulled out a small flash-drive out of his pocket.

“What's that?”

“The answer to a question.”

“What question?”

“About Amy's dad, possibly.”

“Amy? The girl from Vara Magu, Herb?”

That Amy, Mil.”

“Her father disappeared about a year ago, didn't he?”

“Yes. Over in Kuwait.”

“So.” Miliana queried. “What does Amy...or her father have to do with you?”

Herb looked over at Miliana stone-faced.

“Mil, I believe I know where Amy's father is.”

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Walota stared out over the vast ocean. The waves were higher now and finding anyone in the water was going to be harder.

“Mil, look toward your three o'clock. What's that?”

“Wal,” Miliana said with panic in her voice. “Shark! And there are more than one down there!”

Wal banked the plane so he could get a better view of the dark shadows just below the waves. It looked to be five or six shadows just under the waves.

He then looked toward where Mara Vagu had been. A raft.

“Look....over there straight ahead, Mil. Looks like there are some folks on that raft.”

“Thank god,” Song said, but her relief was quickly dashed as they flew over the small craft. Only a few could fit into the small inflatable, leaving most of the birders in the water clinging on.

Damn that Carl. Miliana swore. Leaving only a flyspeck of a raft for seven people.
"So. You're famous?"



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Re: May 2016 - 3 Flash to 1 Short Challenge - Week 4 (Final Week)

Postby JillStar » Sun Jun 26, 2016 8:41 pm

Nice! This is coming along great. I know what you mean about stories getting away from you. But you have much promise with this one!
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