So, I realized I had completely passed over the fact that this was a fifty word story challenge. Fifty. I don’t know how I missed that. It’s pretty obvious now that I’ve noticed it, especially since the name is Fifty on One. But I’d committed to writing in this challenge, so I took the flash I’d written, and hacked most of it off, leaving this little bit. The trigger is “disintegration”.
She stared at her hand, cracks running down fingertips like they were old china. The sound of her final disintegration flew through the wind chime-like. The storm picked up what was left and threw it among the dancing swirls of sand before it moved on.
Here’s the original rough draft.
She stared at her hand, cracks running down her fingertips like it crazing in fine china. Not now, she pleaded.
Dust to dust to dust for the wind to blow. The words sang through her head with memories of her husband Gerry providing the rhythm for them. Not long now, she realized. Not long and she would join him and the mad sandstorm around her.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, the priest had said when her parents died, leaving nothing behind except their clothes and plastic cards with their names on them, stuffed inside wallets. The sand smelled like them but she could never tell if it was because the clothes already did or if it was because the sand was them.
The spiderweb cracks raced down her hands, her arms. Her legs shattered and she felt herself falling. Is this how my teacup felt when I dropped it, she wondered, feeling sick. And hard.
Dust to dust to dust, like my parents. Like Gerry when he died. She’d woken up one morning and there was nothing but sand in the bed on his side.
No one knew why. Then the dust storms came — punishment, some said — and no one cared.
She braced herself for the shatter, the hands she wanted to push against the ground already blowing away. The sand whirled around her, gathering underneath, cushioning her fall. It gathered in front of her hardened eyes as she broke down, her husband’s face creating order out of the chaos.
The sound of her final destruction flew through the wind like the sound of chimes in a gale. The storm picked up what was left of her and threw it among the rest of the dancing swirls of sand before it moved on.
What I learned from this challenge is that it’s easier to focus on tight writing when you only have a few sentences. Yes, obvious. But it shows me the point of view I need for larger works when I edit. I have to act like I’m only working with a few sentences.
I don’t know if I’ll do this again. I’m glad I did it this once, though. I enjoyed it.