Fifties by the Fire — a fifty-word, prompt-based writing challenge. Feel free to share your response below, or read and comment to join in on the fun.
Prompt: Write a fifty-word story (fiction, poem, or work of CNF) incorporating stars, a starry night, or a constellation.
Here are the other guidelines:
Make sure your piece is exactly fifty words. Feel free to use Word Counter or the word processor you use.
Write a title with the genre in the first line. (Example: Arena Roja, Fiction)
The title does not factor into the word count.
Good luck and have fun. Happy writing!
Special thanks to John Lightle for providing “Through a Hole in My Blanket” for our writing prompt.
John Lightle is a Texas writer, poet, and photographer who spends many hours sitting on his woodpile contemplating. When away from his frame shop, he schleps his artwork among area art shows. The job takes him across the countryside, occasionally overseas, photographing the quiet resolve found within the golden hours.
Yellowstone erupted on a calm Sunday morning.
“Daddy, when will the ash go away?” Max asked as we fled east.
I choked on words; nothing came out.
On the seventeenth night, stars reappeared. We held each other—hugged strangers in our impromptu roadside camp.
A small sliver of hope remained.
David's Eyes, Fiction
David says he watched them blink on, one at a time, like nightlights triggered by the velvet darkness. But for me, there were two skies that night. The one before David, and the one after. David’s hands. David’s lips. David’s eyes. Not on the stars, but on me. Just me.
Leonard Turns 93 (Fiction)
Leonard stepped slowly and carefully. It wouldn't do to take a tumble at his age. His flashlight showed the way to the lawn chair he set up earlier that day. Leonard sat and cut the light.
Looking up, he took in the stars. "It won't be long, Elizabeth," he whispered.
LIGHT FROM AN UNKNOWN GALAXY / Prose Poem
The pale disk of the moon rose on the eastern horizon, casting its milky light upon the sea.
The soft tongues of waves licked the sands of the high tideline.
Sitting at the fire, under a black star-washed sky, they pulled their long robes close around them
against the chill.
3am along the far north river I woke to the deep gronk of the heron flying downstream beneath the bright moonless stars. I searched them quick for his shadow passing, his voice a million years ago. He coulda been a pterodactyl and me an early man wondering: What is this?
Campfire Tales, Fiction
One starry night around the campfire, my dad looked up after telling us another tale.
“Life is like a constellation; each star represents a memory. Some are bright leading us through darkness, while others disappear with time.”
He gazed at the sky, reliving a thousand memories, more stories to share.
Star Lights, poem
Yes I have seen the stars like this before,
Dancing up and down and sideways in colors all their own.
They telescope in and out on the black skyscape,
a kaleidoscope of flashes and shimmers and spinning shards.
- - - I am so tired, I should not rub my eyes so hard.
On a cold night, she slunk away from her quarters and out onto the balcony. No matter how dim it was, she could always see the stars’ light, like drops of white paint in a pool of black.
Every night she gripped the railing, lest she jump to join them.
Blinking, stunned into silence. Where there had been a cacophony, there is quiet. Blinking at the stars. He’d heard it said, never understood. Lying, body stilled, eyes straight up, in the aftermath of the precise uppercut, he got it now. Seeing stars. On the sweat-stained canvas, he got it now.
Looking For You--Fiction
I heard that when the good ones die, they become a star somewhere in the cosmos. I became an astronomer, certain that I was so familiar with your luminous soul that I would recognize you the moment I saw you in my telescope.
But the sky is much too big.
Title: The Missing Stars (CNF)
We used to attend The Plough and Stars as an unknowing sort of pilgrimage, well before I ever knew of O'Casey's eponymous play, much less that AE had created the Starry Plough flag.
An extraordinarily kind gentleman took the time today to weave some of the missing stars together again.
Everyday Enchantment, Fiction
It didn’t look like Van Gogh’s painting, the sky with it’s tiny speckles of light. No burning flames swirling brilliant orange and yellow. Instead, distant, cold white against the purple-black. More beautiful and strange than any artist could ever render.
He got back in his car and headed towards home.
Your prompt is too tempting to pass up. Thank you for the brainteaser! :-).
The Good Helmet, poem
I rode behind him when he fell,
all twelve years of him,
hitting hard after flying
from his seat.
My son, the projectile,
landed with a crack
and a shock
to his cushioned head.
For weeks I observed him
though he said he had seen
The Star Gazers, Fiction
“I count the stars too.”
It was Diane, Tommy's crazy chain-smoking neighbour. She was standing at the fence, looking up at the same night sky that Tommy was.
“Why?” he asked.
She smiled. “I want to make sure my family has plenty of friends up there too. Just like you.”
Gertrude stretched out on her blanket staring at the midnight sky. She decided to wish upon a star.
"Dear star", she side, " I really wish Starlin would explain that Norwegian joke."
Flare Up, Sci-fi
‘Betelgeuse, stop that flaring,’ snapped Rigel. I’m the brightest, everyone knows that.
‘It’s this bloody club though. Old Orion’s been waving it over his head for three billion years and it’s knackered his shoulder. Which is me.’ Betelgeuse groaned. ‘It’s gonna go, I can feel it.’
‘Don’t you dare…’
Stars on television or
was it 45?! What's in a
slip of the pen or
tongue? Little to some
inconsequential take on
the world. You're no
Steinbeck - are you? A
software program could
do the job just as well.
typewriters - the
would be fine.
Oh, nice prompt! 50 words? Hmm... a piece of magical fiction, mayhaps.
Here, takes this vial. Starsand is the rarest of things, most wondrous. A single grain will light the night. My time has come. You are the Keeper now. You decide how much to spend. Each time you pour, you give life. Your star will shine while another fades into darkness.
Solstice Moon (fiction)
For many nights it seemed the bright planet glowed at edge of horizon almost forlorn, aloof in his dominion. He asked around the sparse camps on dirt road and was told it was Mercury. She joined him there on the eve of that longest day, a nurturing wedge, bare skin like a leg draped over lover.
A Moon To You, Our World To Us | Fiction
The tortured star’s sudden appearance, spraying our sky with plasma rainbows, opened eyes and minds.
A fantastical hypothesis captivates me: a monstrous gravitational entity powerful enough to capture a star and rend it asunder. It also explains the radiation.
If only we could peek beyond the tidal lock safety zone.
You did it again, Sharron. You transported me. Such a beautiful piece, so visual! I loved it start to finish. 👏
Thank you for sharing with everyone!