100 word tales
I got Masterclass because of something else, but have been going through Neil Gaiman's Masterclass on writing, and it has been a wonderful experience. And I was reminded of a small tale of his called Nicholas Was... which is a story in only 100 words. I am preparing for an assignment of sorts and so I felt I needed to hone my precision and short fiction and what better way than to tell very, very short stories? There is a subtle mastery in the idea behind Nicholas Was... (which I love almost as much as I love his I, Cthulhu) and being able to tell it in such few words is something to strive for. So I've been trying and though none of mine are going to be as good as his - here are a few examples.
Five tales in less than 100 words.
Four walls and a roof. Lived in. A splash of color on the walls, partially peeled. Kitchen full of old appliances and fond memories. The same isn’t true about the living room. A blessing, however, is that the brown stain on the floor is all but gone. There are three bedrooms and a bathroom with a broken mirror, but fear not, the bad luck was dealt years ago and will have no impact on new owners. Comes with a shed, an overgrown hothouse, and a tell-tale heart somewhere underneath the floorboards.
If interested call Edgar at 555-Nevermore.
Misunderstood. Being cast out seemed so insignificant then. Eden was lush, but boring. I was happy to leave, though Adam pouted. Caine and Abel were no worse for wear. Good riddance. Who needs leisure and food aplenty? There were no adventures to be had, no decisions to be made. I saved you people. I made this life interesting. I made this life worth living, for everyone. And how do you repay me? I admit though, I’d give it up for one night with him, the so-called serpent under the tree. The father of all my children.
The Man Who Sold the Moon
Never dismantled but visited. Space debris, dust, just a rock in the sky. A white pearl of shimmering light, thing for wolves to howl at, a night light, a guide. A dot over the earthly i. A celestial nuisance, causing tides and women’s plight. I took it upon myself. They came to buy. Paid in cash. It rained for days. I never saw their faces, but they promised it would be fine. How could I know animals would go mad? That seasons would be lost? How could I know that all would die, but I?
I first noticed the crabs as she was playing in the sand. Small insignificant creatures. Harmless really, unless you happened to step on them. The sun was shining, the sand warm, the ocean waves soothing in a way only the ocean can be, slowly ebbing and flowing, telling you a story as old as itself. Its whispers eerie, filling me with dread. The crab bite didn’t scare me, nor did it alert me to the presence of the unspeakable thing almost upon us. Instead the forewarning was the reflection in my daughter’s reptile eyes, slithering.
She was smiling.
He had such small feet. That’s what sticks out essentially. He wasn’t short. Rather tall actually, and he wore round glasses, like Harold Lloyd. He wasn’t funny though, fairly grim. Deadpan. He never married, but had someone downtown, waiting. Yet always the bitter face. And then he had those incredibly small feet. You would think the sixteen skeletons and the corpse I found in his backyard would be the most memorable thing about him. Yet when he stood in front of me, bloody, all I could think was ‘Where does he buy his shoes? I needed to know.’