Finnian Burnett

Storyteller

I love these little challenges – 50 word stories, 100 word stories. Here’s a 29 word story I wrote the other day. It had to be about a road trip.

Sprawled in the passenger seat, she laughs. “A road trip? But where would we go?”

My fingers, aching to touch her face, curl around the steering wheel instead.

“Anywhere.”

A 100 word microfiction piece.

The Swarm

You swing toward the airlock, gripping for the rung you know is there. A twitch on your skin could be the drip of sweat under your spacesuit. Your fingers wrap around the bar and you wrench yourself up. Legs fly free as the itch intensifies.

Get out. Brennan’s screams reverberate in your intercom. They’re crawling all over me.

She goes silent as you grasp the last handhold and shove the hatch. It gives and you reach for freedom. A shadow crosses your leg and scurries over the thigh muscle. Your muscles seize as the creatures penetrate your suit. They’re here.

Here’s a micro piece that was rejected from a fifty word story site. I mean, maybe it’s not as good as my story of the week fifty word story, Homecoming, but it’s not bad for fifty words 🙂

Unheard

I didn’t care when she talked about her dreams. I didn’t notice new haircuts or compliment her outfits, not once. I nodded without even putting down my newspaper while she prattled at breakfast. I never heard anything until she said, “I’m done.”

 I’m listening now but she’s no longer speaking.

This is a story I wrote last year during a free-writing workshop. It had to be 250 words exactly. I wrote it from Brutus’ point of view. It was right after he’d been diagnosed with bladder cancer and we were struggling every day to get him to eat enough that I could give him medicine.

Morning Chow for Brutie (2006-2020)

She’s crying. She sits on the floor next to me, trying to entice me to take food from her hand. Her frustration grows as I turn my head and clench my teeth. Why is so she so mad at me? I’m not bad, but my stomach hurts and every bite makes the pain harder to bear. 

You have to eat, she says, and a lot of other words come out of her mouth. Some loud, some watered with the tears that spring from these morning ordeals. I don’t understand them all, but I understand the tears and her sadness hurts worse than the pain in my stomach. It hurts worse than when she raises her voice and yells at me. 

I want to make her happy. She’s happy when I eat. I know this because if I eat, she gives me a shot which makes her clap and cheer. Then I get cheese which makes me happy. She thinks I don’t know there’s a pill wrapped in it, but I know. 

She picks up another kibble. Please, she says. Her voice is so sad, I take the bite and force myself to chew—slowly so as not to give my stomach reason to rebel. 

I don’t understand all her words, but some are repeated enough that I can almost make meaning out of them. Tumor. Medicine. Time. 

I don’t know what time is. I’m not a watch dog. But I know she’s crying again so I slowly take another bite. 

Here’s a piece I wrote during a workshop with author/teacher Grace Palmer. I submitted it to Flash Fiction Magazine and they picked it up. I had an excellent experience working with the editor assigned to my story for this submission. She offered some great insight into the piece and refused to allow the proofreaders to change something that would have changed the meaning of one of the lines.