As I've mentioned, I'm participating in Rachael Harrie's blog campaign and the first challenge has arrived:
Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count)
For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!
For the record, my story is 186 words, but it does begin and end with the "challenge words." You can go here to read all the entries.
So here goes:
Happy Birthday Leo
The door swung open.
Leo blinked and looked at the crowd pressing around him. “Excuse me,” he said.
Silence descended on the guests like winter as he exited the room. A soft click sounded as the bathroom door shut. Bright confetti fell from Joyce’s hand. The small child that had been trying to pop balloons moments before, clung to her leg pulling on her red sweater.
Stu stepped to Joyce’s side wrapping his arm around her.
“Where’s Grandpa? The small voice asked again.
“Grandpa’s gone,” she said as much for the child’s sake as her own.
Stu’s voice raked the silence. “Thanks for coming everyone. “You all mean a great deal to Leo. He’ll be back shortly. Until then, why don’t we start in on this cake?”
Leo washed his hands and dried them. Then he washed them again and dried them once more.
He opened the door and looked for a familiar face. The woman in red looked pleasant. Maybe he would talk to her. But first, he would wash his hands. He turned to the sink as the door swung shut.