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The Short Short Short Story

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posted on Oct, 31 2005 @ 07:15 AM
The Short Short Short Story or 'Short Bytes'.

Hi all

Inspired by the Fragile Earth contest, I’ve been experimenting with short, short stories. I’ve had a look at a few books and webpages to get ideas and found people doing amazing things with very few words. There is a school of thought that says short ‘bytes’ are perfect for the Internet (I agree!). There is another school of thought that says they should be kept to the ‘power of 2': 2 word stories, 4, words, 64, 256, you get the point...

Many explore a brief event---a vignette of something unusual, unique and, at times, something even commonplace. Some stories can be bizarre, while others quite lucid. Some are based on actual events, while others are entirely fictional.... However, these very short stories often do tend to examine a slice of life, one fleeting moment that may serve as a defining incident or provide an important revelation. We all have these incidents at various times in our lives, and Story Bytes often strive to explore these "moments of transition." - From

So post your short short story here on this thread. Be it however many words you feel you need. Feel free to post your experiments, any comments, suggestions, critiques, recipes for chocolate chip cookies…

Happy, happy, short, short story.

posted on Oct, 31 2005 @ 08:26 AM
um... how short is short? Ill give it a shot though.

A unique feeling flushed through his body. He walked to the bedroom and stared at the sheets. They were pale white. Not just white, but pale. He threw the duvet to the floor, removed the pillows, then peeled the sheet from the matress. He held it up, with his hands high above his head, and walked to the lounge. He looked to the floor, there was a red rug. He placed the sheet atop the rug and straightened the edges. He switched on the tv, lay down on the sheet and fell asleep.

posted on Oct, 31 2005 @ 09:49 AM
That Fourth of July; the summer her cousin came from Peru, was the year Naomi told her that the smell of bonfires and the exploding firecrackers, were the sounds of the elderly being executed.

“The government lines up the old people against a wall and shoots them,” Naomi said, her mouth full of cherry cheesecake. “Look around you, do you see many old people?”

Gina shook her head.

‘That’s because they were rounded up last night. They aren’t allowed to live past 65. I’m not sure what Lima is like, but in America, we don’t like the elderly.”

The cousin shuddered, trying to be brave. “And granddad?”

“Dead,” said Naomi, without batting an eyelash. “He’ll get it in the head.” She signalled with a finger between her eyes. A particularly loud succession of fireworks punctuated her words, as if confirming the lie.

“Don’t worry though, it will be quick. Your mom and dad too…when their time comes.”

She burst into tears.

Afterwards, when Gina had been reassured and kissed by the relatives and Naomi had been relegated (what a wicked wicked girl) to the picnic table to await suitable punishment, she sat etching her initials into the wood, wondering what all the fuss was about.

[edit on 31-10-2005 by nikelbee]

posted on Oct, 31 2005 @ 10:56 AM

You wrote the perfect length.
Any size is fine as long as you say what you want to say. I like what you wrote, descriptive and colourful, like a tiny vignette.

posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 08:34 PM
I'll try...

The wind flicked the smoking tendrils of the camp fire into a frenzy. Sending sparks deep into the pitch black sky. The young boys, sitting around the campfire, listened intently to the old man telling his tale. All the While trying to avoid the trail of smoke, continually changing in the shifting breeze. The intensity on the young boys faces grew as the tale went on... "... It wasn't to far from here that the young girl disappeared."

The eyes, still fixated on the storyteller, were now as big as saucers. "... They say the man still lives in a shack somewhere in these woods." Terrified eyes glancing -darting- into the pitch black woods. The young boys didn't know... they were now young men.

[edit on 13-2-2006 by LostSailor]

posted on Jun, 13 2006 @ 04:52 AM
It was hottest summer the city of Chicago had ever known.

Ten consecutive days of 104 and the city sidewalks were not only hot enough for eggs, they were frying up old people and babies too.

Those without the luxury of air conditioning spent the long summer days outside on their stoops, sucking frozen fruit lollies from Mexican street vendors and praying they didn’t get ill from typhoid.

In the evenings, whole families lay prone, arms and legs akimbo on damp white sheets, awaiting a merciful breeze that never came. Some tried ice filled bathtubs; others left their freezer doors open. No one slept.

When the city mayor was interviewed for the evening news, he turned his flustered red-faced to the camera and stated, “It’s hot.”

When asked what he was going to do to help the elderly through the heat wave. He said, “No, you don’t understand. It’s reallyhot.”

That summer almost 1000 people died, although the city would later deny it.

The newspapers, charged with the responsibility of reporting the unbiased truth, never even mentioned the uncounted bodies. At dawn the dead were quickly stored in refrigerated meat trucks, while the morgues overfilled.

“It's hot”, was what all the papers said, “It’s reallyhot.”

[edit on 13-6-2006 by nikelbee]

posted on Jun, 13 2006 @ 11:37 AM
It sounds like the summer 1996, smoething like 500 people died of the heat.

posted on Jun, 13 2006 @ 11:52 AM
Close. Chicago Summer of 1995 - recorded number of deaths was 739. And all in less than one week. Quite substantial when you consider. More boggling however is how many died in 2003 during the heatwave in Europe - 35,000!

posted on Jun, 13 2006 @ 11:54 AM
Thanks for setting me straight, I couldn't remember to exact facts and I was to lazy to look.

posted on Jul, 28 2006 @ 09:50 PM
(a re-written moment from a short story that I'm working on...)

They marched. Five of them, each with stuffed backpacks and scuffed rifles. The path lead them through a field, backed by a line of trees. Each set of bloodshot eyes watched the foliage, the bobbing branches, the skittering shadows. The chitters of squirrels startled a few, and the rifles were instinctively cocked, the clicks silenced the crickets. A breeze blew, and for a moment, the five lost focus on the treeline; instead, they saw the long blades of grass ebb and flow, the specks of grasshoppers who flung themselves up and out, then fell back into the sea of green, the tall flowers vascillate. And for a moment, their backpacks became lighter, the sun was cooler, and the march became pointless. But their feet kept moving, too afraid to pause and enjoy the peace, too scared to falter in the event the unseen enemy made a sudden, 'lucky' shot... So they kept marching.

((This is, by the way, an *excellent* exercise.. Sometimes short snippets like this are all that come out. But, it's a great reminder that stories are written piece by piece.. and it doesn't matter exactly how big the pieces are! So thank you for that reminder!))

posted on Jul, 31 2006 @ 03:52 AM
Hi Diseria

Your story reminded me a little of The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien - I highly recommend it if you haven't read it. It's an excellent story about Vietnam.

You've done a nice job on providing description and tension. I'm interested to know what happens to the 5 soldiers.

Based on The Things They Carried, there is this really good writing exercise on characterisation - you have to name 5 articles in a person's rucksack or purse and then write a story around it, utlilising all the objects. The stranger the object, the quirkier the character. It really helps you focus things on things like description.

posted on Jul, 31 2006 @ 04:53 AM
Tom pointed the pistol in the shopkeepers face.
"Gimmie what you got old man"
The prune like gentelman stared back and smiled. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a key. Tom watched eagerly. The shopkeeper put the small key into the till and turned it clockwise. Click
He then held the key high in the air before putting it in his mouth, then swalowing.
Tom's jaw dropped.
"What the f#%! you do that for"
The old man let out a small cough, then looked into Tom's eyes.
"You think an old man like me is afraid of diying?"
"Well, maybe i'll rip you open and get they key, how you like that."
He just stared back. Tom pulled back the trigger.Click. The barrel aimed at the man's face.
"Next time, old man, next time."
Tom turned his back and walked towards the door.
Crack!. The sound echoed through the shop. Tom stood for a moment before dropping to his knees, his gun dropping from his hand. He felt his chest. Hot metal seared his flesh. Footsteps crept up behind him.
"Next time, buddy, next time."
The old man let out a cunning laugh and cocked is pistol.

posted on Jul, 31 2006 @ 12:20 PM
Hey Nickel,

Actually, I have read 'The Things They Carried' several times. I'm a big fan of Tim O'Brien, as well as his style of writing. It's on my list of books to re-read before skool starts.
(Have you read his 'If I Die in War Zone...'? A great read for those of us who might very well get drafted..)

I like his style of writing.. so straight to the point. His sentences never get very long, which is a great reminder for me, who's a great fan of semi-colons and commas! (Actually, his writing style changes slightly, if I remember correctly; 'Things they carried' has shorter sentences, and 'If I die in a war zone...' has slightly longer ones, more parenthasis and such. There's more thinking in the latter, more observation in the former. Truly, a great way of setting the scene without the reader being completely aware of it..)

I started reading the few war books I have, actually, in trying to work thru my short story. The basic idea is, well, a war scene.. but, the odd part of the story is that I want to portray the soldiers as men, and as boys.. the scene could be men at war, or boys playing like they're at war.. (My title so far is "Boys will be Boys"..)
I figure since the boys and I have heard tons of war stories (I know that all their fathers were war veterans), then it's not such a far fetch for them to know the lingo, and how things work when on the battlefield. (And this is where Tim O'Brien would fit in nicely.)
However, its the blurring of lines that's getting me.. simply because I don't want to officially state whether the characters are men or boys. The more that I work on it, however, the more I'm realizing that I have to take a stance one way or the other.. even if I switch it later. (I thought about writing one version with them as men, then other with them as boys, the mixing the two... but that seems to be more work than is necessary..)

posted on Jul, 31 2006 @ 12:26 PM
good stuff

my short short short story which is based on an actual event that took place between myself, my husband and a frog:

Quick! Open the door!
Let it Out! Let it Out!
It's gone.
Shut the door!!!

[edit on 7-31-2006 by worldwatcher]

posted on Nov, 29 2006 @ 10:56 PM
This might be too long, but it's a true story.

I lay on the cold ground wrapped in my tattered quilt by the burnt out campfire. Three skunks scurried up to me, and I froze in sheer terror. They sniffed me and prodded me with their little noses, and I remained motionless. One climbed on top of me and tumbled down the other side. They each waddled a few feet away from where I lay, each in a different direction. They then turned around and laid on the cold ground, at equal intervals from each other. I was surrounded. Suddenly, a fourth skunk scurried out of the woods and jumped up on the picnic table and ripped open a bag of chips and began devouring them noisily. This can't be good, I thought, and decided to try and scare them away at the risk of getting squirted. So I started to get up, but as soon as I made a single miniscule movement, the skunk directly to my left stood up on all fours, and growled like an evil little dog, bearing the sharpest teeth I ever saw. I was trapped. I lay there, feeling utterly useless as the skunk on the table ate my food. After a few minutes he jumped down, waddled up to the skunk in front of me, and like guards switching posts, they traded places. The skunk who had been eating laid down to guard me, while the other one jumped up on the table and started eating. Wow! Suddenly my grandpa unzippered the entrance to his tent and scared them all away. I stayed in the restrooms until the sun came up.

posted on Feb, 16 2007 @ 06:07 PM
Professor James Howard looked eagerly at his assistant the same way anyone else might kept checking their watch.
"Jason, are we linked yet", he asked.
"Almost there..I'm still waiting on Sections 4 and 39", his assistant responded.
"Let me know as soon as we are", Howard said frustratedly as he wiped the sweat from his brow.
He felt the weight of the world on his shoulders as he paced back and forth on the government yacht. He thought about all the things that could go wrong with his plan. He looked past the yacht at the USS Converse, a nuclear Attack Submarine of the Los Angeles class that was loaded and primed to fire its missles. Missles that he and his team had developed. Missles that if they worked right would turn the tide of Global warming. He began to fade back to how this all got started....
"Professor Howard, we are all linked, everybody is primed and ready", his assistant stated bringing him back from his daydream.
"Very well, commence the countdown", he told him.
In a less than thirty-seconds the world would be changed for ever....He drifted off into another day dream.
"5...4...3...2...1....Ignition", the sound of the missles firing into the air, brought him out of his lost thought.
He along with all on the yacht watched as several missles fired into the air.
A few minutes passed before his assistant spoke with while studing his labtop.
"Sir, we are getting our first initial readings. The Carbon scrubber now covering 63 percent of the atmosphere. Should be a few more minutes, before we get full coverage."
Professor Howard leaned over the labtop trying to get the info he needed.
Reading the screen that was giving him atmosphere reading from over fifty different satelites working in tandum.
"100 percent, everyone he yelled", the rest of the group was all smiles and high fives.
" Alright everyone let's not get carried away", he admonished them.
"Sir", he looked over to another grad student. "What is it bill?"
"We just lost all of asia for some reason?". The confused look on his face was the last thing Professor Howard saw as the man took a direct bolt of lightening through is head.
The force of the shock wave blew everyone off the yacht and into the water. Unable to move Professor Howard floated in the water, and watched the yacht sink as if it all was some kind of dream. Looking up into the sky he was shocked to see the rainbow of colors that were once baby blue. Electricity flowed everywhere striking anything that would carry it.
Fear gripped him as he started to sink into the dark blue water. His thoughts ended as he bounced of the USS Converse which had made an emergency dive.

**I hope this isn't too long***

posted on Feb, 17 2007 @ 11:35 AM
OK, here's my first official 'Writer' attempt......please enjoy!

I stalked him carefully, barely breathing as I stepped closer and closer. It was almost funny. Just like in the cartoons, because I walked backwards, my prey seemed to not realize that I was closing in. He was confused just long enough for me to make a final lunge, grabbing him by one foot.

He struggled to get free, and I felt the rush of hot wettness covering the side of my face, running down my chest and arm. We fell to the ground, rolling, but I held on......too shocked to let go.

Moments later, with the monster safely in his cage, I stood beneath the water hose, thinking...."How in the world can one peacock sh** that MUCH?!"

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