Into the Dark – #FridayFlash – Show Not Tell Crusader Challenge

The challenge was as follows:

The Show Not Tell Challenge: In 300 words or less, write a passage (it can be an excerpt from your WIP, flash fiction, a poem, or any other writing) that shows (rather than tells) the following:

  • you’re scared and hungry
  • it’s dusk
  • you think someone is following you
  • and just for fun, see if you can involve all five senses AND include these random words: shimmer, saccadic, substance, and salt.

This came in at 223 words 🙂

Into the Dark

The third sun has set and lights are coming on, their shimmer casting more shadows for me to see things in. I can smell the salt left on the rocks and wonder if the waves ever tire of their unceasing attack. I suspect not. After all, water has substance and they win in the end. My stomach is grumbling but the pounding of my heart is louder, my eyes aching from saccadic movement, trying to see into the dark. I can taste blood where a ceelau trotted out of some bushes and startled me into biting my own lip.

A sound behind me makes me jump and I resist the urge to look over my shoulder. But I walk faster. After all, there is no one around to save me if something happens. As I near the end of the promenade, I slow down. There’s a long patch of deep shadow where three or four lights have failed. Probably tachthis trying to break shells. I hear that sound again, the scrape of a boot on stone, and my skin prickles as the fine hairs rise on my arms, my neck. If I stay here I am trapped. Everything is quiet now, but for the gentle hiss of seawater on the pebble beach. I leave the light. I do not return.


About Mhairi Simpson

Writer, dreamer. Magic, dragons, pink mice, cake. Come say hi!
This entry was posted in Crusade: The Second Writers' Platform-Building Crusade, Short Fiction and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Into the Dark – #FridayFlash – Show Not Tell Crusader Challenge

  1. Excellent story and descriptions in so few words! Wowsers! Well done, Anne-Mhairi!

  2. ooh! love strange worlds with three suns! my fave line: Everything is quiet now, but for the gentle hiss of seawater on the pebble beach. christy

  3. That last line gave me chills!

  4. Do not return? Oh my. Great entry! 🙂

  5. Good job! I particularly loved the scene setting! I could totally see everything in my mind (which made it way more creepy!).

  6. Jande says:

    Evocative and stirring. Mental pictures galore. The “breaking shells” made we want more back story. Love the tight beginning and the tight ending. Somewhere in the distance something is keening…

    • The ‘breaking shells’ was for one of those bird species that use rocks to break open snails or molluscs? I figured my fantasy world could have them too 🙂

      Everyone’s complimenting this one so much I have to go back and read it myself! Thank you very much! 😀

  7. Madeleine says:

    I love the line: the scrape of a boot on stone, and my skin prickles Great piece :O)

  8. sonia says:

    Excellent story! Pretty good in so few words.

    Does the MC die? Sounds like it.

  9. Zan Marie says:

    Ooooh! Good chills here! Love the mood.

  10. You certainly hit all the points. Good sense of emptiness.

  11. Fantastic showing, I was right there with your MC! I love these lines – so evocative (and deep, LOL): “I can smell the salt left on the rocks and wonder if the waves ever tire of their unceasing attack. I suspect not. After all, water has substance and they win in the end” 🙂



    • 😀 Thank you! 😀 I have to say, this challenge made me really think about description. I intend to hold the ‘five senses’ rule in my mind when I get back to editing my MS later on 🙂 Thank you very much! You have inspired me! 😀

  12. Nofretiri says:

    Isn’t it fantastic, how different everyone is dealing with the same specifications?!?! *sigh* Pity, that we were limited to only 300 words, ceelau and tachthis are interesting words … is there maybe somewhere else more?

    Karin @ Nofretiris Dream Of Writing

    • This is a completely random snippet cooked up entirely for the challenge – I’ve never gone in for creepy stuff, in general, but this was a fantastic challenge for making me broaden my horizons.

  13. Trisha says:

    I’m skipping this challenge, but it looks like fun!

  14. Icy Sedgwick says:

    I like this but the only thing I would say is to describe what sound it is behind her that makes her jump.

  15. Crystal says:

    Cool! And nice with the sci-fi feel!

  16. Nice description, thanks for sharing.

    I’m starting up a ‘Critiquing Crusaders’ program, where participants in the Second Crusade can find other writers to exchange critiques with or form critiquing circles. If you’re interested, come by The Kelworth Files to check it out!

  17. deniz says:

    Love the seaside imagery in this. Can’t wait to see what else this character gets up to!

  18. Sam Adamson says:

    Love, love, love this! Sorry I’m late BTW, the traffic was murder…

    It’s a wonderfully atmospheric piece you have here, I could really feel the tension towards the end. I’d love more backstory to this one, especially about ceelaus and tachthis; I deliberately didn’t read the other comments until after I’d written mine.

    • That’s ok, the gravitational pull between the suns is awful during rush hour.

      Thank you very much! I mentioned before, so many people have said they’re interested in hearing more about this world and the character that I decided to write something about it. No idea what and I have a number of other things I have to do first, but it’s on my to-do list!

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