Tuesday, October 8, 2013

One Shot Story: In Headlights

Inspired by the subreddit r/ShortScaryStories, I've been working on a book of extremely short stories. They must be a maximum of three paragraphs in length. At first it was just a personal challenge to come up with 25-26 pieces of flash fiction. After a while I thought, why not make a running horror theme and begin a compilation. I'm almost finished, all that's left to do is editing and such which will probably prove to be a bigger pain in the ass then writing it up was. I never realized how hard it was to write such a short story. A bunch of them tend to be some sort of twist/cliffhanger ending. Or a slight cliffhanger ending where the ending is heavily implied, just not actually written, in order to comply with the paragraph rule.

Then there comes all the other complications, especially because I tend to be a bit...wordy? Seriously, I ramble and I know I do. Especially if I get excited about something. Refer back to the title and small blurb under it of this blog. Bad habit. How long should the paragraphs be? They can't be too long or that would technically be cheating wouldn't it? Where exactly do the paragraphs get separated? Sometimes that's not as clear cut as you would think. It's also not always as easy to be as descriptive as I want to be. Then I have trouble with wanting to scrap the short story and instead expand on it into a proper story. I guess I could do both though.

To tell you the truth, I'm not even sure if technically what I've been writing counts as flash fiction because I've never bothered to take word count and make sure it falls within the 300 or less that flash fiction usually falls under. I've just been trying to stick to three paragraphs or less.

However, it is a great writing challenge to help you cut out all the erroneous bits and get to the heart of the plot and story. Just tell a story, short, simple, and sweet. I'm not sure if I want to include this story along with the compilation of ones I've done. Either way enjoy this bit of 'flash fiction' I wrote last night.

In Headlights

The rain beat down on the small car. Even though the heat in the car was on, John shivered still. The country road's lack of streetlamps gave new vigor to the darkness that encroached on all sides. John tried to push the creeping shadows out of his mind, staring straight ahead at the light his high beams provided. He blinked his tired eyes over and over and rolled his windows down to let the cold air and rain wake him. He yawned wide, forcing his eyes shut. When he opened them again he slammed on the brakes, jerking the wheel in time to miss the deer standing in the middle of the road. John slowly reversed his car back into his lane, pausing to catch his breath, his tight grip on the steering wheel loosening. White puffs escaped his mouth with each deep breath. He smiled a bit watching the doe slowly walk over to the front of his car. What a beautiful animal. Without warning, the deer made a small hopping motion and brought both hooves down with a thump on his bumper. John's eyes widened. His hand rested on the door handle but before he could open the door to chase it away, the animal began an alarming advance to his door. Walking on its hind legs, it thumped its hooves down on the side of the car with each step. Fearful of the possibility of a rabid animal attacking him, John pressed the buttons on the side of his door until his finger hurt, rolling up his window and locking the door. He finished his task just in time for the strange deer to reach his side.

For a moment each looked straight into the others eyes. Then John blinked and the doe's delicate muzzle opened in an unexpected rage, snarling at him. It slammed its face into the window hard enough to crack it before continuing its walk around the car again. It reached the front of the car but didn't stop and continued on. John looked right and realized his passenger window was still halfway open. Not wanting to find out what the crazed animal had in store for him, he pushed the peddle to the floor and sped off, watching the deer tumble off the car and fall to the ground in his rear view mirror. Absolutely certain that he was breaking all speed limits, John had a few fleeting chances to thank the Powers That Be there were no officers on patrol that night. At least none that he came across.

A half an hour later John pulled into his automatic garage. He made sure the door was fully down and all the lights had turned on before he stepped out. He shut the door and stepped back, ready to assess the damage hooves could do. Looking at the car his eyes widened and his hands dropped to his sides in shock. There were no dents or dirty hoof prints, instead there were small, thin, muddy hand prints all over the sides of the car. More alarming was the hand prints near the door handle itself. It looked like someone had grabbed the handle to open it.


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