Saturday, May 2, 2009

Super Shorts

Elana J put out a call on her very cool blog to write a short story, using flowers as the starting point. I decided to give it a shot and I'm extending the invitation to all of you as well. Write your own short story, somehow incorporating flowers and post a link in the comments so I can check it out.

And head over to Rebecca Knight's blog for a funny story about plant life.

Okay, here's mine. It's just under 800 words. Enjoy!


Yellow Fields

The warm wind whipped through my hair. Row after row of sunflowers flew past my open window. My pulse raced.

A tug on my sleeve drew my attention. I jerked my arm free from my sister’s tiny hand. “What, Emma?”

She shied away, her lips turning down. “Are we almost there? The yellow flowers mean we’re close, right? That’s what you said.” Her last words came out in a squeak, her arms tightening around her porcelain doll.

I tried to soften my expression. “Yes, for the thousandth time, we’re almost there.” I shook my head and lifted my eyes to my mother’s face.

She stared at the road ahead, chewing on her lip. Her hands rested on the steering wheel, perfectly positioned at ten and two.


“Hush, Michael.” Her frown deepened, intensifying the creases around her mouth. She used to laugh. How long had it been since she smiled?

I slouched lower in my seat, folding my arms and returned my gaze to the sunflower fields outside my window. No. I have a stake in this too. “Mom, I am not a child. Stop treating me like one.”

“Michael, please.” She sighed, hunching her shoulders. “I don’t have the energy to argue with you.”

“Dad said I’m the man of the family now.” I watched as her face fell further, a tear trailing down her cheek. Emma whimpered beside me. My shoulders squared. No backing down now. “I’ve seen more horrible things in the last two weeks than most men see in their whole lives. I don’t care if I’m only thirteen. Stop treating me like a child.”

She turned to me with sad eyes and forced a tight, almost undetectable smile. “You’re right. I’m sorry. I never would have gotten through the last few days without your help.” She reached across Emma and patted my hand. “Let’s just get there first. Then we’ll talk about what to do next.”

“What if no one’s there?” My throat tightened. “What if it’s just like everywhere else?”

“Hush, Michael. You’re scaring Emma.”

My eyes fell on Emma’s quivering lips. Tears rolled down her face. She tried so hard to be brave.

I put my arm around her shoulders and hugged her. “It’ll be okay, kid. No worries.”

She sniffled and busied herself with straightening the curls in her doll's hair.

The sea of sunflowers pulled my eyes. The turn-off should be coming soon. The yellow flowers mean we’re close. Close. But will it matter?

A black streak outside my window. My breath caught. No. No. This isn’t happening again. A loud thud sounded on the roof of the cab. Emma cried out. Mom swerved in a vain attempt to rid us of the beast.

Four days. Four agonizing days without seeing even one other human, but we saw plenty of them. The metal roof groaned as black claws stabbed through, tearing a wide hole.

Emma’s piercing scream hit my ears as giant, slobbering jaws shoved through the opening. Row after row of sharp, pointy teeth glistened in its gaping mouth. The rank smell of death filled the air. It snarled and snapped at my sister’s head.

“Get down, Emma! On the floor!”

She obeyed as I fumbled with the latch on the glove box. It popped open. I raised the gun with trembling hands. Two bullets. Only two bullets left. Two more chances to save ourselves.

My mother nodded. “You can do it, Michael.” How could she be so calm?

The creature roared and slashed at her throat with its long claws.

“NO!” My finger closed on the trigger. A shot came, then ringing, loud ringing as we plowed into the field of flowers.

The monster slumped, its mouth hanging open. Long, rancid strands of drool dripped onto the seat next to me.

“Mom? Mom, it’s dead.”

She sagged against the steering wheel, her green eyes empty, staring. Deep crimson streaked down the front of her shirt. A lump rose in my throat. You’re the man of the family, now. My father’s words echoed in my mind.

I swallowed hard. “Emma, are you okay?”

She looked up at me, eyes wide, and nodded.

I took her hand and pulled her quivering body onto my lap. She moaned and cowered away from the dark, motionless form hanging limp from the hole in the roof. “Shh. It’ll be okay, kid.” I stroked her hair. “No worries.” My voice sounded hollow.

Smoke poured from under the hood as we climbed from the truck. I shoved the gun into the back of my jeans and took Emma’s hand. We started along the edge of the road, staying close to the sunflowers. The turn-off should be coming soon. The yellow flowers mean we’re close.


  1. Holy crap! What a great story :). I did not see the monster coming--loved it! Thanks for sharing, Abby!

  2. Thanks, Becca! I think LoTE is bringing out my darker side. :)

  3. Love it! Your dialogue is especially strong : )

    Here's mine, if you're interested in checking it out. I had so much fun with this ; )

  4. Thanks, KLo! I had a lot of fun with it too. It was kind of nice to focus on something besides my ms. But of course, even though I started out with the intention of writing something more literary, the scifi geek in me wouldn't allow that.

  5. This is amazing and very well-written. I want more!

  6. Nice. Very, very nice! This was great!!

  7. Wow, and you thought mine was good? This is really awesome. I was so NOT expecting something dark, and you completely took me by surprise. Great job.

  8. Thanks, Eric. I wasn't expecting it to be dark either. But that always happens. It never goes the way I plan it.