Category Archives: Writing Challenge


They used to make fun of him.  Said he was always afraid.  He would flinch if you stomped your foot or waved your hand in his face.

He steered clear of crowds in the hallways.  Always alone.

Some said he was abused by his parents.  Others believed it was because of a girl.  A broken heart.  Some internal embarrassment.

As time passed, he couldn’t escape it.  The taunting.  The name-calling.  The notes he found in his locker telling him he might as well just kill himself.

He was beaten in the gym’s locker room.  Repeatedly thrown to the floor by a grab of his hair.

But he never fought back.  Never spoke a word in protest.

But the day the knife came out, something changed.  A glaze covered his eyes.  Peering into the distance.  Like he was in a trance.

Being held from behind, the shiny blade pressed against his throat.

He didn’t flinch.  He didn’t bat an eye.  He scarcely breathed.

“So what is it then,” he asked?  “Scared of your own shadow.”

It was a hunting knife.  Called a “skinner.”

Bone handle, slightly curved blade, guthook at the tip.  The heel and choil were serrated. The guard in a decorative “S” shape.  The pommel had a lanyard hole, where a short leather lace was attached.  It had dressed down many a deer for its wielder’s age.

A small crowd had gathered.  Waiting.

“You afraid of knives, then?  Afraid of me?”

It happened so fast that no one could exactly describe it.  Somehow, he had pushed the arm holding the knife up and out, and then down and inward.  A deep thrust through fascia, tendon and bone.  Left center chest.  Then an “L” shape cut with surgical precision.  A flap of tissue pealed back.  A grasp and a pull.

Before his assailant’s body could drop, he had handed him back his still beating heart.

“I’m not afraid of you!” he yelled.  Now facing the horrified crowd.  “Not afraid of any of you!” “Or what you might think and say and do.”

“I’m afraid of myself.  What I might do.  And you should be too.”


So today I took a stab at Victoria Ray’s writing challenge – Fear the Fear.  Yes, I know, bad pun. 🙂

The Rules Are:

  1. Choose a fear from the list: HERE
  2. Pick the title of any movie, OR book OR song (non obligatory).
  3. Write the post/or real story, based on the chosen fear and the title of the book (or movie or song) in any literary style.
  4. Pingback to Victoria Ray’s Post (not to the page!) F/K/A Raynotbradbury.
  5. Spread the word around, if you like – up to 3 – 5 blogs.  Have fun!  Be creative.

So I chose the fear Autophobia, which is the fear of being alone or the fear of oneself.  And I chose the song title, you guessed it, “Cut Out My Heart” by the band White Town.  If I’d started off by telling you my choices I would have given the whole story away.   I’m not a big fan of the song, and truth be told, I chose the phobia, wrote the story in my head, and then found the song that fit 🙂

I won’t nominate specific blogs for the challenge, but invite all my blogging friends to give this one, or any other writing challenge, a try.  It’s a good way to stretch your writing skills.

I don’t know that I’ll routinely write works of fiction, but it is fun to explore.  And I didn’t pull this theme solely from my fantasy mind.  When I was in high school, there was this guy, I’m not sure I should call him a friend, but he would frequently come up to me from behind and hold this gigantic hunting knife to my throat.  He told me, while laughing, that I as the only person he could do this to, because he knew I’d remain calm and not move – if you moved, you’d get cut.

I had also been thrown to the floor by someone grabbing my ponytail.  You see, my brother and myself were the first guys to grow their hair long in this redneck town and we were frequently harassed, thrown out of businesses, illegally search by police, had bugs put in the food we ordered at restaurants, etc., etc., etc.  . . .

Ah, such a pleasant memories – LOL !

I hope you’re all having a wonderful, and blade-free, Friday 🙂


Photo: I found this image on the Internet in the public domain.  It tracked back to the website for Fort Henry Custom Knives.  I as unable to find an image of a knife with all of the features I described, but this one had a nice bone handle and that “S” shaped guard 🙂


The Spin a Story Challenge

I am excited to be nominated by my friend and excellent blogger Ray NotBradbury for the Spin a Story Challenge.  Ray notes that: “It is also called ‘the wheel’ (the original name) and have been used even by Benjamin Franklin.”

The Rules:

1. Pick any book, newspaper, or magazine.
2. Choose 3 random words (best if with your eyes closed).
3. Create a story by using those 3 words or combinations of words.  Give the name to your story, poem, flash fiction – if you like (not obligatory).
4. The style and the genre of the writing – any.
5. Pingback to my post (any post), so I can read and comment.
6. Nominate up to 5 blogs.  Have fun!

I’m excited, but definitely challenged because I usually write non-fiction.  In fact, fiction is something I’ve always wanted to try, and I give fiction writers great credit.  It’s hard for me to imagine inventing characters and themes and locations and describing them with excellent detail like that.

So to pick the words, I grabbed three magazines I have and pulled a phrase from each of them to use.  I might as well as been blindfolded because I made my choices without my reading glasses on and by flipping through the pages and pointing randomly.

The Words:

“In the community” – from the state bar journal.
“Families at morgues” – from Life magazine – the issue on dogs.
“Was almost immediate” – from Preservation – a magazine about preserving and restoring historical buildings.

The Story:

Wine anyone?

The sun had already set and twilight had faded into darkness by the time they arrived. She was nervously pacing back and forth.  After all, she was a pillar in the community. How could this have happened?

Jennifer Longbow was born and raised in this tiny sea-side village.  It didn’t take long to become a big fish in this small pond.  But it might only take an instant to be dethroned. Especially when that instant involved . . .

“Jennifer!” “Are you alright?” Called out Sam.  The maid had let him and the entourage in.  Sam Elliot was the town sheriff.  He had graduated high school with Jennifer.  Their classmates now filled all of the “prominent” positions in this seedy backwater.  The county seat of nowhere land.

Yes, the mayor, minister, sheriff, judge, physician and coroner, and the district attorney all had last names that never seemed to change.  A half-dozen families that passed titles and control from generation to generation for the past 90 some odd years.

The “super-six” also locked-up the city council.  This was more of an aristocracy than anything resembling a democracy.  The “Council” was more like the “Star Chamber,” deciding the fate of anyone within the town’s borders.

Jennifer’s family owned the lumber mill, grocery store, hardware store, and the only restaurant in town.  Most of the land to start with for that matter.  They owned it all, and the Council was beholding to the Longbows.  With their wealth and ability to share it, the Longbows owned the Council too.

Jennifer stood to inherit it all, if she could right herself with her father.  One night’s bad judgment, passion over logic, had left her with a child not suitable to be an heir.  Not in his eyes anyway.

But that might not matter now.  Her father had groomed her to be the ruthless business mogul he was.  To never let anyone stand in her way, not even him.  And now he laid a lifeless mass at the bottom of the wine cellar stairs.

“Not really Sam,” she finally answered, with no hint of emotion.

And now the Council was assembled.

The reaction was almost immediate.  “Clearly an accident,” said the doctor.  “Nothing for a grand jury here,” said the DA.  “There’s always reasonable doubt for the Longbows in my court,” said the Judge.  “God bless him,” said the minister.  “Business will continue as usual, right Jennifer?” Said the mayor, more of a statement than a question.

“Well, let’s get about our business,” said the sheriff. “But one thing Jennifer.”  “No more bodies for a while.”  “There’ve been too many families at morgues in this county lately.”


Well, I hope you like my first crack at fiction writing. I liked playing with this so much, I might have to keep doing this – I need the practice 😊


My Nominations:

Vibe a Little

Little Joy Affair

All About Fame

The Art of Trying

Geoff’s Short Stories

And I like what Ray said – anyone who wants to participate may.  Nominate yourself.  This is fun 😊


The Photo: A bottle of wine at an eclectic little shop somewhere in Oregon.  And “Sleight of Hand Cellars” kind of fits with the story 🙂