A person in the writing challenge posted about a class where she was asked to write a story in 500 words. It sparked some fun in me so I decided to play with writing stories of different lengths. I have no idea where the theme came from. It was just the first sentence I thought of for the shortest story.
A STORY IN 10 WORDS
The girl and her dog played. They were happy together.
A STORY IN 20 WORDS
There was a girl and she loved her dog. The dog ran away. The girl went looking. She found him.
A STORY IN 50 WORDS
The girl and her dog went walking on the beach. Joyfully, she jumped the incoming waves while her companion went barreling into the rising tide. The barking and laughter attracted the attention of a lonely passerby. The passerby drank in the moment of joy before walking quietly up the beach.
The sun shone brightly on the sand that day. Walking along the beach, the girl hurled pieces of driftwood into the ocean. Her dog leaped after them, bringing them back to lay at her feet with a spray of water that drenched her in coolness. Her laughter sang a duet of joy with her companion’s barking.
A woman nearby raised her head to listen at the delighted sound. She sighed with longing to know such joy again. She closed her book. Laying it on her shawl, she rose. Gathering her things, she walked away lost in memory.
Laughter followed her.
The sun was setting on the horizon when the woman heard the sound of peals of laughter and loud barking coming from the beach just on the other side of the dune. She lowered the book she had been using to hide from any chance passerby. The sound had awakened something in her, something that hungered to see joy.
Carefully laying the book down on her woven shawl, she walked softly to the edge of the dune peering around it like a spy. The girl and her dog looked so happy. Her skin could barely sense that feeling of joy but something deep within her resonated with the sound. The delighted sound drew her forward out of hiding. She stood, watching silently, memories stirring only to be harshly pushed down again.
No! She would not remember! She could not remember! To let those thoughts surface would be her death knell. It had been so long since that time. She had finally found a sort of numbing peace to carry her through her days. Her mind clamped down stilling the rapid beating of her heart until it rested quiet once more within her.
The girl glanced at the woman but the barking of her dog pulled her attention back to the rising tide and the eagerly wagging tail. One more toss and then they would need to go home. She turned to look back but the woman was no longer in sight. Behind the dune a shawl and a book remained.
A STORY IN 500 WORDS
The sun glared down on her as she surveyed the expanse of sand. She had come to the beach to read forgetting that she would not be alone. Her stomach clenched at the sight of others but she was determined. She could not stay in her room forever. She needed to find a way to move out into the world again. This was too much though. The others might see her, might know her, might remember her story. With quick steps she walked toward the protection of a driftwood scattered dune.
Laying her shawl on the sand she opened her book shielding her thoughts from the possible invasion of prying eyes and uninvited conversation. A quiet calm settled around her as light breezes ruffled her hair. She had done it. She was here. Each excursion would make the next easier. Losing herself in the story, she rested lulled by the music of the seagulls and waves.
A loud barking and peals of laughter startled her. She lowered the book she had been using to hide from any chance passerby noting the reddened sun low on the horizon. She had not realized she had been there so long. The visible beach was empty of people. The sound must be coming from the other side of the dune.
Laying her book on the shawl she rose dusting off the light sand that had blown into her clothes. She walked to the edge of the dune quietly, as if the sand itself would betray her if she made too much sound. Something in her clenched tight at the sight of the girl and her dog playing along the edge of the rising tide.
They looked so happy laughing and dancing along the shore. The girl would reach down and pick up something hurling it out into the waves. Her dog would bound out. Coming back he would drop the thing at her feet and shake sprays that drenched her in coolness. The sound awakened a longing in the woman that could not be resisted. It drew her forward out of hiding. She stood, silently watching, memories stirring.
No! She would not remember! She could not remember! To let those thoughts surface would be her death kneel. The disquiet stirred in her, a witch’s caldron of pain bubbling up within. She had held a numbing peace for so long that she gasped at feelings that threatened to overwhelm her.
She caught her breath, tumbling back as the girl looked toward her. She wrapped her arms around herself willing her heart to still its rapid flutter. The dog leaped up licking the girl’s face calling her back to play.
When the girl turned again the beach was empty. She had been surprised to see someone still at the beach at this time of evening but had thought little else about it. It was time to get home.
Calling her dog, she raced home. A shawl and a book lay abandoned beside the dune.