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) that somehow incorporates the accompanying image.
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: Blink, Fiction)
The title does not factor into the word count.
Good luck and have fun. Happy writing!
Special thanks to John Lightle for providing “The Bullet on Front Street” 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.
The Train Hopper, Fiction
Milo hopped aboard the westward-bound freight train under the cover of darkness. He slipped inside a boxcar. Moonlight glimmered on his face.
“Hey,” a seasoned, smoky voice called from the shadows. “Where you heading, kid?”
“I don’t know.”
“No? Well, where you from?”
The man’s voice cracked. “Me too.”
(Note: I originally wrote this story and published it back in December 2020.)
A glorious photo, John, open for so much interpretation. I saw a speeding train in it.
Thank you Justin!
In the bleak of night, a streak of light hurtles toward me.
It throws me back with a sudden smack of displaced air
and a deafening hiss.
Stumbling along the rumbling rails, how I long to board that train,
that chain of speeding clatter! Destination doesn’t matter.
Let me on!
The Tunnel, Poem
In the tunnel's depths,
a man surrenders to velocity,
his grip trembling on the wheel.
Peripheral lights become spectral entities,
alien beings uttering words in a
high pitched incomprehensible whine.
A collision of worlds, his reality merges with
the ethereal, blurring boundaries.
In the tunnel's haze,
he glimpses the unknown.
The Tragic Tale of Little Jimmy, Fiction
He hadn’t been able to ride the train since.
He remembered the leaves on the station’s glass roof, and the roar of the train approaching, like a metal lion.
The football was old and flaky. Not worth it. But little Jimmy insisted on getting it back.
The ball stayed there.
Timing (Fiction, TW: suicide)
He stepped onto the tracks with closed eyes. The train roared closer. So close. They screamed! But a bony hand pulled him back.
He opened his eyes and saw a scythe reflected in the flickering rush of windows.
‘It’s not your time,’ Death told him.
He turned and walked home.
Interesting prompt - great capture.
Dodging the Bullet (fiction)
Darkness overwhelmed him, all too much. The nagging voice inside his hollow soul persisted, cajoling. ‘Go on, you pathetic waste of time. Do it’. The insistent rumble, thunderous, calling him towards a point of no return. The lights pierced the gloom even as he turned away from them. ‘Not tonight’.
The Barrier (fiction)
The monolithic barrier silently mocks us.
Another neighbour shouts from their side, confirming this impenetrable enigma is endless.
We wave our mutilated hands - permanent reminders not to touch the wall when the light flashes past.
As dusk falls, townsfolk gather for tonight’s mesmerising phantasmagoria: the anomaly‘s only redeeming feature.
Like the Shinkansen. Fiction
"Man. I'm flying!" The quardrail's a blur. It looks like the Shinkansen.
I've never gone this fast down Breakneck Grade, even in my car,
much less on my toboggan skateboard, at night.
I should watch the road, and slow down, maybe even bail out.
No. I got this! - "Uh👀Oh!?%#&^@@#"
The Silver Bullet Rolls On • Fiction
Once this godforsaken depression is over and I find a real job, I’ll be the one sitting in that first-class compartment, wearing a fancy suit and eating steak in the dining car.
And tomorrow, I’ll be hopping another freight train looking for any work I can get.
The Light; Poem
The light by which we see.
By what light do you see the world?
By the direct, harsh, unforgiving light of the direct sun?
Or by its soft, shadowed, shapable, reflection from the moon?
Do you want to see all, or only some? And make up the rest.
Note: These are the first lines of a poem I wrote not too long ago. They come out at exactly fifty words, so what the heck!