Life – TRDC Prompt

This week’s Red Writing Hood prompt comes from Carrie of Views from Nature.

Flash Fiction can be fun and a real challenge. This week focus on the words and the strength of each to contribute to your story. Write a 300 word piece using the following word for inspiration: LIFE.

Muscles burned and seemed to rip apart in his forearms as Mark’s fingertips grasped for the next ledge. Pleading with his toes to give him that extra half inch needed, he flexed his calf and could feel the piercing stretch. The ache diminished as his hands connected with the jagged rock propelling him to continue to reach farther up the cliff’s face.

Orange rays that glinted off threads of crystallized rock alerted him to the diminishing sunlight. Time was the most precious thing to him now; it was the driving thing. For a moment he wished he had taken the walking path on the back of the mountain. The path meant for the weaker. The path he had always taken that seemed to be made for him. It’s what he had always done.

Mark gathered the last reserve of strength in his body to pull himself onto the summit. Staggering to his feet to face the setting sun, he closed his eyes for a moment feeling every inch of delicious agony coursing through his body. The pain was his reward. A badge of his torment to take the difficult climb.

He collapsed to his knees drawing a ragged breath. A bottle slipped from the compress of his pants pocket. Glaring at the exposed plastic cylinder, he swept it quickly off the edge to plummet to where his fight had begun. As he lost sight of the small container, the final diagnosis time frame of a few more mere days of life thundered in his heart.

Hearing easy laughter behind him, Mark turned to see a young couple emerge from the walking path. The sun had began its final kiss to the sky and the couple expressed remorse in having missed the concluding beams of the glorious day. Not a bead of sweat marked their faces as they turned to retreat back before pitch dark.

Mark smiled broadly as he wiped his own glistening brow. This last choice to fight before the encompassing darkness had been as brilliant as the last touch of light and life.

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17 replies

  1. How do you get so much detail in 300 words?
    This was so well written! The words that you used were so descriptive that I was able to easily see the sunlight, hear the laughter, and almost feel the sweat.

    • I used the same theory of trying on jeans as putting words down. If I can fit my rear in an 8…I can tell the story of “Life” in around 300 words. Thanks for visiting Jackie! Good to see you again!

  2. There you are. I’ve been looking for you. I’ve missed you and your writing. I love this. You always write so beautifully. The last line of the story is such a perfect wrap up.

    • Thank you for the welcome back and the kind words! I have missed doing the TRDC and all my linked friends. I’m glad you enjoyed my little story.

  3. Alycia, this was deftly handled. I think that the picture did a fantastic job of helping to illustrate the tale that you told. I could feel the pleasure of his pain and the satisfaction he derived from it.

    • Thank you Jack! Thank you for your support on both this piece and the help you have been in the past on other pieces. Your compliments are taken!

  4. Do you rock climb? Because you certainly captured the way a body feels. So very deftly, you writer girl, you.

    I confess, I was confused about the diagnosis line. Is this a bucket list type thing? Is he diagnosed with something terrible. How sad. But how wonderful that he is taking every opportunity.

    And doing it on his own. Unencumbered. Fearless.

    • I have never rock climbed. That’s why I used the picture so maybe I could capture the reality of my fiction. The diagnosis line *was* a tough one. I wanted to make it apparent that he was dying and that for once in his life he was choosing to fight for something. Thank you for your comments and for visiting me from TRDC.

  5. I agree seeing the picture first helped me visualize him up close as you described his journey up the mountain. I love the pleasure he gets from the climb.

  6. This is a great character study. You pack so much of his struggles into such a short piece–and it has a very satisfying ending. Not precisely the end, but it has closure.

  7. I cannot believe you were able to pack so much description and emotion in 300 words!
    I could feel the strength and strain of reaching- for the next rock and for pushing himself (to not take the road ALWAYS traveled) to see what he had in him. Felt the urgency of the day leaving and the bottle falling.

    Master of words you are.

  8. Anyone who has known anyone with a “diagnosis” of mere days/weeks/months knows that they feel like this. Life means so much to someone who doesn’t have a lot left and you brought that to us beautifully. The anger, fhe restlessness of “nothing to lose” the satisfaction of “finishing” something, feeling your heart beat in your chest.

    This was just so good. I’m so glad your words are back in my world! Xo

  9. There is so much spoken in so few words. The battle up the rocks, the battle for life. Beautifully done.

  10. So powerful, so strong.

    I loved the word that you chose like burned, threads, ragged.

    Poor Mark.

  11. So lovely to see you here again!

    I felt for him, that last moment of doing something he can control.

  12. How to you put so much feeling, emotion and description into such a short piece. Amazed as always at the way you do what you do. Loved “the sun had begun its final kiss to the sky.”

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