Short Story Exercises

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Short Story Exercises – 100 – 500 words starting with the words in italics.

“I’ll be late tonight”.

She didn’t know why she said it. No one heard her. No one really cared. But she cared.

Tonight was special; she needed to mark the event. Saying it aloud marked its importance – stamped it into the universe as the ending and the beginning that it was. She took one last look at her apartment and closed the door. Later, when she returned she would be different. She would have cemented her purpose for today, the next day and all the days to follow.

When she arrived, she looked at the entrance – a simple doorway. She put her shoulders back and stepped across the threshold. She climbed the stairs and entered the room. It was filled with people. The AA meeting had begun.

(127 words)

Wind howled down the chimney.

There was no way he was going out tonight in this storm. No way at all. It was too wild. That, of course, was if no one knocked on his door. He was after all, on call.

So, it was with a hopeful intent that he settled by the portable lantern to read. With the power outage, there was nothing else to do. Just wait it out. It would all be over by morning.

He looked up at the clock, the usual loud ticking drowned out by the howling wind. It was still early, but maybe he should put his book down and get some sleep. He picked up his lantern and headed towards the bedroom, when suddenly, there was a loud banging on the door.

No! No! No!

He walked towards it with a resigned sigh and opened it, shielding his face from the gust of wind rushing towards him. He moved his hand, and there before him, stood his neighbour peering out from behind a woolly coat.

Holding up a basket of bread and cheese, the huge smile on her face said it all – one shouldn’t be alone on a night like this.

(194 words)

I remember her from school. My God! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

What was she doing? And why was she doing it all by herself? It was Ellen – definitely! Plain, little Ellen Barret, gyrating in the middle of the dance floor amidst the swirling lights and pulsating music. I recognised her immediately.

The club was dark and empty. I appeared to be the first to have arrived for the cabaret. Was she drunk so early in the evening? How embarrassing, dancing alone like that! Thank God, I wasn’t such an exhibitionist!

I wondered if I should get out there and save her.

But the more I watched, the more I realised that she was doing rather a good job of it. Her moving and grooving wasn’t bad at all. So, I sat and waited. I wanted to see how this would end.

And then the music stopped.

There was a sudden rush of people to the dance floor. Clapping and cheering. What was this? Then I heard, “Well done! You’ve the job.”

(169 words)

Golden dawn came. It was a long night, but oh such a wonderful night. The lights so mellow, the weather so warm, the music so beautiful.

It had all worked out just as she planned. Gavin had picked her up early and dropped her off at the hairdresser. Everything had to be perfect – her hair, her makeup, her very special blousy dress that hid a multitude of sins. After all, this was a very important night.

As the event organiser, she wanted it to be perfect. She only ever did one event for any organisation and then she moved on. Her reputation was at stake.

And everything did go perfectly.

All the wealthy guests came down from their sumptuous hotel rooms, glorious in their finery. Preening like peacocks. Not long into the evening, she could see it was a huge success. As they all glided around the dance floor, she took a break. An hour, that’s all she needed and she was back, smiling and weaving through the crowd. By the time the last group of guests departed, she knew it was her best event ever.

As she looked out across the sea at the rising sun, many, many, miles from the hotel, waiting for her dyed hair to dry and listening to Gavin quietly snoring in the motel bedroom, she smiled at the bag in the corner. Yes, it was her best haul ever.

(235 words)

HAIKU using ‘Dangerous’ – 17 syllables divided into 3 lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables.

Rose so beautiful,
enticing and alluring.
Such dangerous thorns

© Inara Hawley 2016

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