Monday, February 27, 2012

Writing Sample: "As Free as the WInd"

 (cottonseed photo by blmurch)

The week before last, I entered this year's "String of Four" contest at Every Day Fiction's Flash Fiction Chronicles.  This is a yearly contest where ten prompt words are given and the writer creates a short piece of flash fiction using at least four of the prompt words.  Also, a quote is provided to give thematic inspiration for the piece, which has a 250-word limit.

This year, they received over 125 entries and have just narrowed it down to 11 finalists (just under 10%).  My submission was not one of the finalists.

Since the piece I wrote was pretty specific to this contest, I don't think it is something that I will resubmit anywhere else, so I thought it might make a good "Writing Sample" post.  I managed to use all ten of the prompt words, and tried to fit in an allusion to the 'freedom' theme  (although, according to the judges' comments in today's post at FFC, my interpretation was a very common one).

The ten prompt words for the contest were:


and the thematic quote was:

"Freedom is a possession of inestimable value." –Marcus Tullius Cicero

Using these prompt words and quote, the submission I created was "As Free as the Wind."  As always, I welcome your comments, feedback, and suggestions.  Thank you for reading!

"As Free as the Wind"

Mona watched her five-year-old son Hunter raise an empty pickle jar, his rail-thin arms wobbling as he strained to lift the small weight. She fought to maintain her smile but her heart clenched and her stomach tightened into a bitter knot. Hunter opened the jar in the gusty breeze for a moment before clasping the lid over the top. Then, his brief battle against gravity conceded, he let the jar collapse into his lap.
His smiling face carried no hint of defeat. "I got it, Mommy," he said as he tightened the lid. "I caught the wind!"
"Yes you did," Mona said.
She pulled his wheelchair back from the edge of the balcony and went to stand by the railing. Not wanting Hunter to see the tears that dribbled over her dam of resolve, she cast her gaze around the hospice grounds. Moss-covered willows swayed, surrounded by cottonwood seeds which flitted and darted in the sunlight, free to fly wherever the breeze carried them.
She wiped her cheeks with her sleeve then looked back at Hunter. His eyes were beginning to close; even a few minutes out of bed was enough to tire him. Soon he would no longer be able to wage war against the cancer that was eating his body one organ at a time. Soon he would be as free as the wind.
"C'mon, Sweetheart," she said, taking the wheelchair. "Let's go back inside."
Hunter nodded and held the jar tightly, a smile on his face.


LTM said...

So sad, but beautiful, too. I love the idea of catching the wind in a jar. Nice work, Chris! :o)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sorry you didn't make the final cut - that was a very moving story.

Chris Fries said...

@LTM: Thank you Leigh! I appreciate your kind words!

@Alex: Thank you very much Alex! (and if anyone wants to follow the exciting release of Alex's new novel, "CassaFire," be sure to check out his blog:

Milo James Fowler said...

"I caught the wind!" Very nice work, Chris.

Chris Fries said...

Thank you Milo -- I appreciate it!

Amanda (ajcap) said...

Really liked this sad/sweet story. Excellent twist on the theme.

Missing a word though, I think. Should be " longer..."?

Chris Fries said...

Thank you very much for the kind words, Amanda!

..and also for the eagle-eyes! You're absolutely right. Fixed now.


The Golden Eagle said...

What a sad story--great writing, though!

Chris Fries said...

Thank you very much, Eagle!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

A sad tale, but beautifully written. You make it easy to empathize with the mother. Great job, Chris.

Chris Fries said...

Thank you, Susan! Your positive comments mean a lot to me.