Fiction in a Flash Challenge #9 @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

My friend, Suzanne Burke (Soooz) has been running a flash fiction challenge on her blog for several weeks now. Although I always check out the prompts, I’ve never made the time to participate. This time, as soon as I saw the prompt, I hopped over to Word on my Mac and started writing. No idea where I was headed, or what would come of my meandering, but I ended up with something to post. Below is the photo prompt, and my take on it.



Yellow Bird

Joel said it would be fun, so we picked our way up a free-standing rope ladder, then hiked across a flimsy bridge to the house in the trees. Once inside, I dropped my backpack, bent double, and sucked in lungfuls of air. After the climb, my legs felt like water. “Tell me again why I agreed to this?”

My boyfriend grinned. “Because you can’t resist a challenge.”

Huh.

I’d resisted ziplining when he wanted to send me careening over a gorge large enough to house the Goodyear Blimp. I’d put my foot down when he’d suggested crawling into a shark cage for a photo op with great whites, and I’d drawn the line at cave-diving in Mexico. So why had I agreed to spend five days in a treehouse tucked in the middle of nowhere?

Okay, so maybe said treehouse came complete with a rollout bed, mini fridge, camp stove, and side deck, but I wasn’t the nature type. My idea of roughing it involved an ocean front hotel with a swim up bar and jacuzzi.

I stole a glance at my cell phone. “No bars.”

Joel rummaged a bottle of water from the refrigerator. “You weren’t supposed to bring that. No cell service, internet, radio, or TV.” He took a swig from the bottle then dragged the back of one hand across his mouth. “Five days of nothing but solitude and nature. You’re going to love it.”

“I think I’m going to hate it.”

***

DAY ONE:

A yellow bird with green stripes splayed over its wings woke me just after five in the morning. Joel rolled over with a sleepy grin, undisturbed by the chirp-tweetle-chirp that had me grumpily searching out coffee. I carried a mug onto the deck overlooking a massive blue lake and watched the sun rise.

Joel got up in time for brunch.

DAY TWO:

The same yellow bird pulled me from sleep before I was ready. Morning had barely settled, the lake overlaid with a fine silver mist. Pretty stuff. Quiet, too. No bleat of car horns or squeal of tires. I’d grown up in the city, but the solitude was comforting.

Joel slept too long, and woke with a backache.

DAY THREE:

I named the bird Claude. For all I knew, he could have been Claudia, but the little guy (or gal) seemed okay with the moniker. I got up before he could wake me, humming a tune while I made coffee. Joel pulled a pillow over his head and grumbled I was being too loud. By the time he finally crawled from bed, I was busy drawing trees in a sketchbook I’d found in the cupboard.

Claude chirped his approval.

DAY FOUR:

Joel is a jerk. If he’s not sleeping, he’s pacing. And if he’s not pacing, he’s moaning how bored he is, cut off from everything. Most of the time I ignore him, especially now that Claude makes a habit of visiting morning and night. He perches on the deck railing and we discuss our day.

Chirp-tweetle-chirp-tweetle.

DAY FIVE:

For the first time since we’ve arrived, Joel got up early. He shoved everything he’d brought into his backpack then hunkered by the door, waiting for the hour when he could scurry down the rope ladder, back to civilization—to a maze of car horns, business meetings, bus fumes, and ringing cell phones. Just the thought makes me sick. I haven’t worked up the nerve to tell him I’m not going.

DAY SIX:

It’s far more peaceful since Joel left. Blissful. He said I was crazy for staying. Said I’d run out of food and water, but he doesn’t understand what I’ve found with Claude. I wish Joel well in his fast-forward world. Deep down, I know this is where I was always meant to be.

It just took a wakeup call and a treehouse challenge to make me realize it.

****

Joel took a final look around. He was sure after two weeks Angie would be ready to abandon the treehouse, but she’d disappeared. Most of the provisions that had been stocked in the refrigerator were still there, her backpack with clothes set out by the bed.

He walked outside to the deck, disturbed by the heavy silence. A small yellow bird with green stripes perched on the railing, studying him with keen eyes. As he watched, a second bird joined the first, huddling by its side. Two souls snugged together like one.

Chirp-tweetle-chirp-tweetle.


I hope you enjoyed my little short story. There is still another day to play. If you’d like to participate. Check out the link and instructions over at Soooz’s place. Poetry, haikus, microfics are all welcome–any creative endeavor using the prompt. Pretty cool, huh?

And, because, this is a weekly challenge, be sure to follow Soooz’s blog while you’re there. You won’t want to miss the next prompt. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to play again. 🙂

66 thoughts on “Fiction in a Flash Challenge #9 @pursoot #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity

    • Thanks, Priscilla. I had no idea Joel was going to turn into a jerk when I started writing. I guess that’s part of the fun of these flash prompts. You never know what you’re going to pull out of them, LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I absolutely love the twist in this one, Mae! “Two souls snuggled together like one.

    Chirp-tweetle-chirp-tweetle.” Such an imaginative take on the prompt. Thanks so much for joining in the fun. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’d love to see you join in again as time permits, my friend. I’m having a marvelous time with this, searching for free images to feature is inspiring my muse in soooo many different directions. Uh-Oh! Run save yourselves. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      • LOL! Looking forward to seeing what other ones you come up with. And thanks for letting me know the photos are free. I did think of that later after reposting on my site. I appreciate it!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I make certain all images used are listed as free. It limits the field considerably but that just makes it more challenging, and I love doing it. Thanks again for taking part, my friend. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been seeing where people have participated in these prompts. I’m going to have to check them out.

    Loved your story. And I totally agree the solitude and peacefulness is much better than a noisy city!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I will take solitude and peacefulness any day! And, erm…or a beachfront hotel with a swim up bar and a Jacuzzi, LOL.

      Definitely give the prompts a look-see, Joan. This is the first time I was able to participate, but I really hope to again. Soooz has a new prompt every week. I had fun with this one 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Terrific story, Mae. You captured two sides of isolation perfectly. I enjoyed the way the two characters changed their thoughts about being away from the hassle of everyday life. Joel couldn’t wait to get back and Angie didn’t want to leave. A beautiful metaphor on how life changes causes shifts in the comfort zone. So well done.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. What a wonderful story, Mae! I loved how the boyfriend, who wanted this getaway to start with, ended up hating it. Such a sweet yellow bird. To become one with nature is something you can’t return from. 🙂 Loved it!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love Claude and the tree house. I stayed in a similar cabin in the Redwoods, the only difference being it was on the ground. Nature’s delights are endless if we possess a sensitive heart…just a few days change our perspective. I like where you took this story Mae.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Balroop. That tree house you stayed in must have been amazing. I would love to give it a try myself (although I am also the girl with the swim-up bar and the Jacuzzi, LOL). Glad you enjoyed Yellow Bird!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I guess the moral of the story is, you never know how it turns out unless you try it (I’m referring to Angie). Poor Joel, he thought he was cool but…

    I see that you had fun doing this flash, Mae! I should try to do it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miriam, I really enjoyed it. You should definitely give it a try. I’d love to see your take on one of these prompts. And yes, Joel turned out to be the killjoy while Angie learned there was more to life 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Aw, Mae! This was so sweet (cheep cheep) 🙂 Sometimes I wish like hell I could just fly away too with my own Claude (hubby that is). We tried over the weekend; went to a one bedroom cottage in the woods and everything. But…..we had to come back. Try as I did, I couldn’t pop any feathers out of my back 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I’m kind of glad you didn’t have feathers popping out, Jess 😉

      The one bedroom cottage in the woods sound wonderful. Even though those long weekends and excursions don’t last as long as we would like them too, they’re still so wonderful to experience. Glad you both got away. And that you enjoyed my little fic!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I loved this Mae. I would live there no problem. I wasn’t sure where this was going but was happy to see she was with her real soul mate!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. It’s a great story, and it sits well in the brief form it has. I wish I could do that – my stories always stretch until there’s no space left. Ah well! I love your descriptive writing. You convey the whole image so vividly, and in so few words. More, please!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, thanks, Fred. This was the first time I played with a fiction prompt, and I admit I really enjoyed doing it. Even though I had no idea where I was headed as I was writing.

      I’m usually a lengthy writer too, but the rules stated the word count had to be 750 or under. I had to fiddle a bit to make it fit. Thanks for visiting and reading! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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