First Write Campaign Challenge

As you know, I’m participating in Rachael Harrie’s Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign.  I must say we are having a blast meeting each other via the Yahoo group, on Twitter at #writecampaign, reading each other’s blogs and giving group support.  Rachael launched the first challenge yesterday–flash fiction.  The rules then my piece are below.  I hit 200 words exact. 🙂 Enjoy!     

The Rules: Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open.”  If you want to give yourself an added challenge, use the same beginning words and end with the words: “the door swung shut.”  For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!

The Lesson

Source: Flickr image by Jordan Merrick


The door swung open and he found Marcy sitting straight-legged on the floor, plinking her fingers in the piano teacher’s blood.  Marlowe dropped the plastic sheets from his wrinkled arms.

“You should be done,” Marlowe said. “I gave you extra time with Miss Toms and you created a mess.”

Marcy plunked her stubby fingers harder on the floor.  The distinct scent of iron drew Marlowe closer.  He imagined the newness of the warm liquid upon his daughter’s tongue and oozing down her throat.  He brushed a soaked curl off her forehead and looked down. 

“Small wound for no leaks.  Do you need me to show you again?”

She shook her head, rolled on her belly and slid to lick the bare calf.  Holding Miss Toms’ knee for balance, Marcy’s ebony mane flopped forward into the spreading fluid.  She sat up and resumed finger flicking.

Marlowe sighed, grabbed the teacher’s moist wrist and started dragging her towards the plastic.  Miss Toms moaned.

“Marcy Elizabeth,” Marlowe said.  “You must be quicker about your kills.”  He placed the wrist in Marcy’s hand.  “Finish her.”

Marcy reached again, this time towards Miss Toms’ neck.

“Please,” Miss Toms whispered. “Please stop.”

The door swung shut.


Thanks for reading!  You can “like” my piece here.  I’m number 219.  Now I’m off to read the entries of other campaigners.  You should too!

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53 Responses to First Write Campaign Challenge

  1. OMG, sooooo creeeeppyy! Love it, Barbara. The relationship between daughter and father is definitely a backbone of the story. Great job 🙂

  2. jamilajamison says:

    Oh gosh, this is fantastic. Echoing Angela above, I love the father-daughter relationship, and how casual things are — almost as though the daughter has spilled a cup of tea, rather than sloppily drained the piano teacher. Wonderful!

  3. Hartford says:

    Eeeekeee….well done! I loved it. I am sad to say I didn’t make it time to sign up for the writer’s market so I am planning on signing up for the next one which I think is in Feb. I can’t wait to hear all about your experience this time around. Great piece of writing!

  4. mish says:

    C-R-E-E-P-Y stuff ! Great job !
    My entry is no. #59

  5. Tara says:

    Oh, wow, so nicely done. Great ending!

  6. Joanna says:

    Eeeuuw, but I guess that is exactly the response you wanted! Bravo, I shall be voting for this!

  7. *shudders* Super creepy! Great job! Definitley liking the father/daughter relationship. 🙂

  8. Holy heck! What a disturbingly awesome scene!

    I have a new-found respect for piano teachers, all of a sudden.

    Great job, Barbara! 🙂

  9. Oh man! That’s a hell of a creepy twist on a scene. Great characterization for so few words. Brrr! Shivers! Sadistic children are one of the freakiest characters someone can write, I think.

  10. creepy. mine is the total opposite. #72

  11. Well, everyone’s already said it, but I guess I’ll say it again–creepy. 😛

  12. I loved this. So dark and yet there is humour! The casual, everything’s normal, way the father is talking to the daughter sets the perfect tone: so ordinary and yet so creepy at the same time. Wonderful!

    Thank you for your comments on my story.

    • You are welcome Cheryl. You descriptive piece is fantastic as well. Thanks for reading and the feedback. Working in the quiet mood of this piece was fun and I’m glad the “normal” family feel showed.

  13. Tiger Gray says:

    Welcome to the top five! Congratulations!

  14. totsymae1011 says:

    Lots of sensory information in your story. Gory, scary stuff! I don’t think I could watch the movie, which translates that this was very well executed in the flash format. 🙂

  15. Damyanti says:

    “plinking her fingers in the piano teacher’s blood.”
    Love how you punch us in the gut with that. One of the best I’ve read so far…kudos!

    Would like to invite you to take a look at The Rule of Three Blogfest —a month-long extravaganza in the fictional town of Renaissance this October, with some great prizes, comment love, and of course, a lot of exposure for your writing.

    The town of Renaissance would be an awesome setting for a story like this one…and you already have 2 (the father and the daughter) out of the 3 characters the blogfest requires! Really hope you can join us in the fun 🙂

  16. Isis Rushdan says:

    Great descriptive details. Loved how you richly captured the relationship between Marlowe and Marcy. Now I want to know the rest of their story.

    • Thanks Isis! I was surprised with who came out when I started writing this. Now I do wonder about Marcy and Marlowe, where they have come from, how they live, etc. I may have to revisit them. 🙂

  17. Nicely done! Captivating from the first sentence.

  18. Nice work! I say this with a well-meant shudder. The scene is disturbingly delicious. Every piano teacher who reads this will be wearing a big cross and a necklace of garlic heads to her next lesson.

    My entry is The Rune (#159).

  19. You begin with such a vivid and chilling image … the fingers plinking in the piano teacher’s blood. Also the relationship between the father and daughter, as if he’s teaching her how to bait a fishing line. Great job!

  20. Ru says:

    I’m such a broken record, but this is so creepy and fantastic. Well done!!

  21. I love it! Great job on the father-daughter relationship.

  22. Elena Aitken says:

    OOH, so creepy! Nicely done!

  23. Holly Vance says:

    Chilling! My mouth dropped open when I got to the end.

  24. shelley Koon says:

    “plinking her fingers in the piano teacher’s blood”

    I love the relationship here between how her fingers would plink on piano keys being used for here playing in the blood – very nice! I also really like the story idea, so many vampire stories out there but I don’t think I have run across one that has a relationship between a young daughter and father vampire. Would be really cool to see how it progresses.

  25. Jocelyn Rish says:

    So deliciously creepy – I love it! The first sentence kicks some serious butt, especially the perfect use of the word plinking.

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting Jocelyn! I appreciate it. The craft of story starts (e.g., first sentences) is something I’ve been working on so it is great to hear that line worked at drawing people in.

  26. rddenton says:


    I’m such an awful person! I can’t believe I haven’t commented on this story until now.

    I loved it — for one, I honestly didn’t expect you to take a horror/creepy angle, so the story was a surprise from the get-go. I liked the juxtaposition of words like “plink” and “plunk,” and the relationship between Marlowe (a veiled reference to Doctor Faustus, perhaps?) and Marcy!

    What a fantastic little piece, Barbara. I absolutely can’t wait to read more.

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