Staying Short September

Time for two more shorts written as part of StoryADay September. 

The first, Amnesia, was prompted by ‘Set A Timer for 40 minutes’ but mis-/re-interpreted. The second, The Exit, was a mash-up of three prompts: a change of POV, use two characters, and 100 words – it’s 99 words with the title.


By Roland Clarke

Retirement can come early. Just as amnesia and C4 never mix.

Not when lives depend on split second reactions.

Harry loved his job and his colleagues – well, so the survivors said. The ones whose lives his keen senses had saved.

But there had been failures. Not every IED could be disarmed safely or in time – the intent of Improvised Explosive Devices.

Demolishing abandoned factories proved safer. Hence, his expertise for the years after his discharge. Until the fall.

Then, the early retirement when he forgot to set the timer.

Licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license. Humphrey Bolton / Tunnel exit, Soyland / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Exit

by Roland Clarke

The rain slices into the ground. You turn to the pompous fool.

“I said it could be arranged, Mr Johnson. Any last words?”

The blonde man grins, then jokes.

“More like a gutter.  Could we talk this through?”

“A filibuster,” you say, checking the shotgun’s safety. “No deal, I’m afraid, old boy. Not cricket, nor even ping-pong.”

You remember the foolish speech. He won’t. You never forget.

“But the people—”

“Didn’t vote for this. But you mentioned being dead in a ditch. Wish granted.”

You point the shotgun at his head and fire.

9 thoughts on “Staying Short September

  1. Great stories, I particularly enjoyed the opening lines of Amnesia. You could start a novel with that kind of hook.
    I’ve been thinking about finding some writing prompts myself. Something to get a little writing in without getting sucked into writing a novel. I’m currently editing a novel, and I’ve found I don’t yet know how to fix the problem I know the story still has after several rounds of editing (or maybe it’s really a new problem). So I need a creative outlet that’s not too demanding while my brain tries to work through my editing problem.
    I imagine the prompt for The Exit was challenging given the POV you used. There’s nothing easy about a second person POV. I don’t think I could do it, and certainly not well if I tried.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the compliments, Mandie. Prompts that steer us away from the novel sinkhole are invaluable. I sympathise with you on the editing as that’s where I’m at – especially the one at Draft Six or is it seven. Good luck with finishing that and finding short & sweet prompts.

      Liked by 1 person

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