Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Traveler

OK, I have been thinking about the last contest and my entry. Now that I’ve had time to think, I’ve put together a second story which I think is more what was being looked for.

Let me know what you think…


The old man stumbled. A hundred pounds must surely be what his pack weighed with the obvious effort every step took. His legs trembled, the sweat beaded his brow. His shirt was stained dark from it dripping.

He visibly gathered himself as, after a pause, he set off once more. Struggling to reach his destination. No one else paid him any heed. The other patrons in the cafe didn’t seem to see him at all.

I couldn’t watch him struggle any further as he started to pass. Getting up from the table, I quickly put out my hand grabbing his soaking tunic as he practically fell into the street. He started to shrug off my help but collapsed into a heap. The only thing keeping his head from being split was my grip.

His breath was shallow and quick. I sat him on the curb and bent to put my mug to his cracked, bleeding lips. His face was covered in dirt and as he swallowed some of the ale he seemed to reanimate. He grabbed my arm as he coughed and spewed a mixture of blood and ale onto my shirt. I noticed his nails were manicured. His hair, while filthy was neatly trimmed as was his beard.

Something wasn’t right. My head exploded in agony.

I realized as I fell my cargo was lost. My employer would be extracting a heavy price for not delivering the stones. Stopping for an ale was to be my ruin.


  1. I think you're on track with both pieces. Just be careful to match the amount of writing and descriptions to the amount of story. There are all sorts of details about reaching out to this old man that aren't necessarily vital to the plot. My gut sense is that the condition of the old man and reaching out for him could be covered in something like 5 sentences. Keeping close to the plot often reveals that a story needs more plot to carry it through.

  2. I understand what you are saying. I was thinking of this as a small slice of a much larger story and I guess I didn't think about it needing to be a complete story in and of itself. Thank you for your feedback!

  3. Hey Dan, I've always preferred the present tense when writing flash because it moves the story at a faster pace. For example, if I were to rewrite that first paragraph I might start it like this:

    The old man stumbles. His legs tremble. Sweat beads his brow, stains his shirt. The heavy pack takes its toll on him.

    As for plot, it's never ever easy with a 250-word maximum.

  4. JR, I do have to get out of the past to keep it alive. Thank you. Now it makes perfect sense! :-) You're rewrite would definitely make it more alive and active.